The Giants, it seems, are actually trying to be humble. With Reel 1 & 2 - Adapted Chapter, they’ve successfully taken on many of reggae’s most famous riddims, dubbing them not into spatial oblivion, but rather as funky instrumentals primed for the dance. Consistent in quality, and with several standout tracks: this is an impressive album. What about naming the originals you ask? Well, we all need homework from time to time! (EDIT: or you can check out this Spotify playlist direct from The Giants!)
“Adapted Chapter Dub” features a warm skanking guitar, before allowing a sample to make The Giants’ mission clear: ‘strictly rub a dub.’ Bringing the groove to the front, “Crafty Dub” is at times sparse and at times swirling and busy, with cascading keys nicely reappearing throughout. The short “Honey Dub” pushes the bpm up just a bit, before “Brixton Prison Dub” takes a darker percussion-laden approach to a familiar tune, which makes the bursting horns a mid-way surprise.
“Earth Dub” allows its riddim to slowly assemble, teasing with pieces until the melody-line finally - though temporarily - emerges from the shadowy haze, at times almost hinting at industrial mechanization. “Old Time Dub” gives away its origins immediately via a few very familiar words from Triston Palmer, yet the tune itself lets the horn move to the front-and-center, reverberating with power even as the rhythm section evaporates.
As a spoken ‘Irie’ echoes, “Rocking Miss D Dub” rides a short, tight groove, revealing some engaging layers along the way. Then “Drum Song Dub” - the most uptempo on the whole album - shows off a few classic tricks of dub engineering (lasers and spring reverb) while featuring a haunting theme. “House Of Parliament Dub” initially sounds formal, with calling horns, which makes the restrained breakdown and buildup even better.
The delicate “Rain Dub” gives way to the chaotic “Mash Dub,” where reverberation reigns supreme. The horns return, cut short and emphasizing the echo, on the appropriately-titled “Drifting Dub.” While announced as ‘strictly drum n bass,’ “Bad Boy Dub” ventures into some jazzy guitar to bring its disparate elements together smoothly. “Dedication To Flabba Dub” does feature a powerful bass-line, giving a nice nod to a legend while also leading nicely into the horn-line of “You Don’t Remember Dub.” “Night Fall Down” seems to imply that the album is winding down; in reality the slow - yet groovy - tune is merely setting up the expected ambling bass on an excellent closing statement in the form of “World Jam Dub.”
It’s safe to say that while most of these are going to be familiar to the average dub/reggae connoisseur, there’s far more here than just updated covers of known versions… these are modern and updated interpretations recorded in loving classic analog style. Tune in now, this 18-track is even a free lossless download:
Fortunately neither rain nor a failed wireless router can stop Hong Kong’s musical underground. #HKMU in full effect:
Lead this edition comes from Palms & Charms, a new HK/Tokyo label focused on funky tropical grooves. HK’s Barnaby Bruce gets the first release, which will be out on vinyl July 7. “This Time Around” b/w “Feel The Wheel” is all about relaxing in the summertime:
The Uptown Rockers are celebrating a full decade of bringing the beats to the ears of Hong Kong. Check out this photo/video compilation to mark the occasion:
Sert has a new drum-n-bass tune out, and “Osmos Layers” is clearly designed to slowly seep in… and the prodigious mixologist also has a new “Soul Healing Session” out for June:
Emmanuel Diaz is on a slightly lighter house vibe, with his new bootleg mashup of Tez Cadey & Gotye: “Seve Somebody That I Used to Know.” New live mix for June from Zuma as well:
So apparently HK Clubbing runs a regular “radio” broadcast featuring Hong Kong DJs? Ignoring the somewhat limited definition of music worthy of “clubbing,” there are a lot of techno and electronic mixes available, over 60 at current count! Most recent installment comes from…
Arun R has a fresh daytime house mix out, “Summer Cuts ‘14.” Catch it while it’s seasonally-appropriate:
Tech-house? Ocean Lam has recently released both a live mix recorded at Bassment earlier this month (along with Jeremy Cheung & Tre Turner), plus a Love Play Podcast:
More tech-house? Vib. has you covered with their release of a DJ Dhoo mix - perhaps you caught the show on June 21?
Tszpun marks his mixtape return (after a 4-year hiatus!) with his warmup set, self-described as moody and emotional, from a Guy J party:
Kazoku has a lush, minimal hiphop track out, “DaysInHK (ft. Tinashe),” which is at times condemning while also being celebratory. Production comes from EazyBeatz:
LëKSs approaches hiphop from a different perspective, on the second installment of his Mixcloud-charting mixtape series “GoNaRaP.” Expect groovy beats:
MC Heyo has a brand-new track, “Homeless,” a collab with producer DoughBoy, with a soaring chorus from Tabi:
Ekorb, alongside Loki Dolo, equal DOT MCz. The duo’s leaked a preview skit from their upcoming album…
J-Hoon, with Erykah Badu sample in hand, has an “Undercover Lover” with a case of the clap:
Rifain (now with official FB page!) has just released the second episode of “From Hong Kong With Love.” Prepare yourself for the hypnotic intro:
In preparation of an upcoming gig with Heavy HK, Kongkast #218 comes from the UK’s Axon. Free download.
Roots Raid's From The Top features consistently tight dub/reggae production, in addition to a bevy of smooth-singing guest vocalists, allowing the whole album to glide along with a firm sense of identity, purpose, and place. Lighter future roots? Aware modern dub? Regardless, it’s all thick multi-faceted grooves that cleverly still sound sparse.
Turbo Turps and Billy Berry alternate on the mic on “Western Rumors,” a gripping vocal examination of present-day socioeconomic concerns. A taught delayed guitar and echoed effects carry the track even when the riddim section is cut out. The first of two Shanti D tracks, “Don’t Love My Style,” celebrates rub-a-dub, from its drum-and-bass to its echo chamber to its sinsemilla, all sung in the seasoned French MC’s distinctive style. Ranking Joe’s opening shoutout to Big Family Sound precedes a rather unique production, with samba-esque digital drums and a pitch-shifting synth melody. “Steppaddict,” with Mael Hornsraid providing the funky, layered horns, is a hazy-yet-polished instrumental; then Billy Berry returns on vocals - which sound especially inspiring when given room to breathe - atop an arrangement that hints at an Afrika Bambaataa influence. Immediately following is the dub, which takes the traditional approach of introducing the original track before pulling out, and then experimenting with, instruments and voice alike.
“Chant In Down (Ruff Cut)” appears to feature an uncredited Billy Berry, but the clear priority is the heavy dubbing, including some doom-filled low-end rumblings. “Get Out,” with Mighty Cricket, follows a similar ‘verse into chaos’ formula, though the track drags just a bit as the dub completely collapses and then staggers forward for several more minutes. Next, Shanti D chants down urbanity on the seemingly sparse “Beware; thankfully the horns tease just enough as the rhythm provides a sturdy musical framework. “Swimming With The Dub” does carry some aquatic qualities, with its plinking guitars, but it’s the dubbed-out vocals (from “Beware”) and the second-half shift of the groove to the forefront that make this version so memorable.
As the album winds down, “Riddim Wise” - a slightly crashing instrumental - keeps it short and sweet; in closing, the spiritual “Sâdhu Teachings” mixes the dub aesthetic with subcontinental influences, including a powerful-yet-uncredited female vocal. Available for free digital download from ODG Productions, which continues to carve out a crucial niche for itself in the modern dubiverse.