Andrew Passey, aka Alien Dread, is a UK mixing engineer and producer affiliated with Martin Campbell, a fellow Englishman as well as producer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and owner of the Channel One UK imprint.
Alien Dread has since the 80’s been mixing and producing dub and roots reggae, but has, just as Martin Campbell, stayed away from the brightest spotlight. A shame really since their music is heavy as hell.
On a recently released three volume set Alien Dread has taken riddims from the Martin Campbell vaults and dubbed them in fine style. The riddims are broody, minor key and easy to nod your head to. They hail from the 70’s and onwards and the dub mixing, heavily inspired by the dub kings of the 70’s, was done in 2011 and 2012.
All in all the three volumes – titled Alien Dread in Dub With Martin Campbell and the Hi-Tech Roots Dynamics – collects 30 tracks, of which at least two are available on CD for the first time. The dubs are inspired with plenty of instrumentation in the mix with Martin Campbell’s vocals flowing in and out of the echo chamber.
All three sets are now available on CD and digital platforms.
I’ve listened to reggae since 1997, and in these 15 years I’ve for some reason ignored UK roots and dub veteran Martin Campbell. And now when I’m listening to Rootspective: Roots Vocals & Dubs 1990 to 2011 Vol. 1 – a compilation with some of his work – it’s hard to understand why I allowed this to happen.
Martin Campbell is a British singer, producer, label owner, multi-instrumentalist and composer that started in the music business in the 70’s when he was living in Jamaica.
Through the years he has worked with many roots artists, including Devon Russell, Tena Stelin and Neville Brown, and several of these singers are represented on this compilation with uncompromising roots-inspired early dancehall. The backing tracks almost sounds like the taking no prisoners approach of the Roots Radics back in the early 80’s.
The 20 tunes collected here are vocals often followed by their dub version, and they were originally released on 7”, 10” and LP. Some have found their way onto CD for the first time and a few are also previously unreleased.
Rootspective is a low key and minor key masterpiece with sparse arrangements with a dark trolls and goblins feeling to them. The bass lines and the drumming pave the way, while the singer, the guitar and the keys just follow the trail.
This is an excellent introduction to Martin Campbell and his productions, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that will pay a visit to an e-tailer or a retailer to check out more of his output.