Fresh Poulp’s dub-devotional Dub Tentacles series returns with Vol. 5; with a slight nod to roots, this is still cutting-edge dub even as melodies echo and the bass reverberates. Burnett Town Sound start things off right, as “What Didn’t” lets the melodica lead amidst a hazed-out funky groove, all fading away to an analog crackle. Du3normal takes a different approach on “Dirt:” sleek and modern, with a firm steppers beat leading the clean digital synths. This balance between eras continues throughout the compilation; Unidub Estacion (feat. Dan-I) sound simultaneously old and new on “Inna Dubplate Styla,” while Serious Dub and Submarine FM lean forward on “Boomstep” and “McEddie’s House” - inspired by future machines and Medieval chants, respectively. Dub Grammar’s titular vocal sample caves into a deep riddim on “Valiant Thor;” “Love Jah” brings an emotional air of the Orient to its outernational Jamaican vibes as Sista Aude’s unifying lyrics nestle nicely upon MatDTSound & Woody Vibes’ laid-back steppers riddim. Awen’s instrumental solo effort, “Pyramid,” is equally ancient in initial inspiration, like a Sinai sunrise before a minimalist electro dub takeover; closing collaborative cut with Fresh Poulp Souk System builds on that approach to create an epic sprawl of sounds with a heavier dubstep influence paired with melodic vocals. In between, Radadub steps - and echoes - heavily on “Muzically Fire” and the sounds of the Middle East are channeled into “Amsterdamned Dub” by Dub Sounder. For fans of the deeper darker electro dub sound, who still want organic vibes in an increasingly digital world, this is a worthy global effort.
NagualX pushes dub forward into the realm of jazz, while keeping a strong focus on heavy riddims and basslines. With several strong tracks, including the recently released and fittingly-titled “Be Strong,” alongside a live party dub and two “Illegal Dubplates” mixes, there is a lot of fresh interesting music available from this artist. Hailing from France, NagualX captures the vibrancy of the country’s strong dub/reggae movement but wisely avoids predictable trappings of the genre and instead has forged a very unique sound, perhaps most comparable to some of the jazzier cuts from Attack Released. Well worth the listen:
Dub Breakah thankfully hasn’t literally done that to dub music, instead producing a slew of strong riddims as well as some fierce tracks. The “Beast Riddim” is definitely my favorite: the skanking guitar intro leads to a nice and heavy track, which as “Babylonbuster (Dub Breakah Remix), is pushed towards anthem status with the ruff vocal reminiscent of Buju Banton. “Roots Riddim,” the most recent production, features some smooth horns and a mellow breakdown. “Tribulations” is another great track, some true reggae dub that sounds hazy in all the right ways while vocal samples echo occasionally alongside a relentless beat. “Jah Freedom Riddim” is another solid effort, and there’s more glorious reggae dub tracks available up on Soundcloud.
DU3normal’s latest EP, Meetology, explores the range of steppers dub. “Long Walk” features Zsofia Derts’ melodic vocals laid on a softer riddim, before “Golden Fist” turns more towards dubstep with a fierce vocal from Clinton Sly and some heavy bass. Instrumental closer “Pure” then strikes a balance between these two extremes: light effects dance atop a deep groove, echoes lead to a driving beat, and out emerges DU3normal’s unique take on modern dub music. Available free from LibreCommeLair, and other great tracks are available on Soundcloud.
Representing Kingston, Jamaica, Kabaka Pyramid spits pure fiya atop beats that merge the best of reggae and hip-hop. His latest, the Rebel Music EP, is full of powerful tracks. Opener “The Sound” could easily be by Jr. Gong, which ought to be enough for the download right there, but “Free From Chains” is equally strong and well-worth the video treatment. Mellower tracks do prevail, but even then the flows stay memorable, and cuts like “Real Music” show that Kabaka Pyramid is talented and versatile on any type of beat. As a bonus, there’s a video with Sara Lugo on the Reggaeville Riddim:
AND, here’s a killer downloadable mixtape from Free Roots Sound, with a delightful dub remix at the very end…
YT’s album Revolution Time explodes with fierce digital dancehall riddims, upon which the MC keeps it irie with talented and timely vocals. While guests Mungo’s Hi Fi, Solo Banton, and Mr. Williamz alone make this worth a listen, YT holds his own on the microphone on these strong tracks. Lead (and downloadable) single “Forward To Reality" is an indictment of modern times, "World News" gives the Dutty Diseases riddim an excellent workout, while closer "Heathen Agenda" is smooth with an upbeat vibe - balance is the key here, as YT includes a lot of different styles within the reggae-sphere. A nice mixtape from Ashanti Yard is available as well…
If you’re in need of some funky digital reggae to get the summer started right, then Jahtari has got a fresh mix for you: a Promo Mixtape for SKANK IT UP Paris that’s guaranteed to blow your head up. Full of productions from Jahtari’s stable of laptop wizards, label-head Disrupt features prominently as do banging tracks from Jahtari Riddim Force, Maffi, and Tapes. On the mic are talented MCs like Soom T, Mr. Williamz, and Kenny Knots, all of whom add up to make this a mighty mixtape indeed. The middle of the mix (Mr. Williamz -> Kenny Knots -> Speng Bond -> Maffi) gets particularly rocking and bass-heavy.
If you happen to live in Paris, you’re probably already swimming in great Parisian dub and reggae, but if you can surface for air you ought to get to this show in mid-July. For the rest of us, this rough-and-raw mix is the closest we’ll get:
Dubbhism brings you Strictly Analog Dub, a free netlabel compilation of modern dub created in the traditional style: no laptops at work here! Regardless of the equipment in use, these are some really great tracks: collaborative opener “Living Hard” with Delmighty Sounds Meets The Lisbon Dub Collective featuring Roberto Sánchez sounds timeless as the vocals bounce amidst the keys, up-picked guitars, and echoes; “Yeti Dub” from Positronics builds slowly, a sprawling journey through dub’s spacier side; Negritage’s “Dub To Afrika” is sparse and haunting, with vocals swirling in; “Dub Reorganizer” from Uus Energia is powerful and layered well with percussion and horns. Free stream and download: