Digitaldubs fourth album opens with nyabinghi flavored digital drums and a slow and heavy bass line. After almost a minute a melancholic melodica kicks in. The mood is wet, warm and thick. It almost feels like I’m walking through a moist jungle.
That’s the atmosphere when Brazil meets Jamaica in a studio that could have been Lee Perry’s Black Ark.
On #1 Digitaldubs have invited renowned reggae legends Ranking Joe, Earl Sixteen and Brinsley Forde as well as local Brazilian artists Dada Yute, Jeru Banto and Tiano Bless. These are artists sing intense and earnest about justice, love and spirituality in English and Portugese.
That’s the same recipe as on some of their one riddim albums. On Diáspora riddim, for example, they voiced Lone Ranger and Sylvia Tella alongside Ras Bernardo and others.
On top of the vocal cuts there are of course also heavy roots and steppers instrumentals where the dub effects are very much present. Dub Echoes Theme with its hypnotic bass line and flyers style cymbals is a great example.
Digitaldubs has on #1 created a rich album with crisp production, but without sounding polished.
I’m thankful to ROIR for picking up this release from its Brazilian obscurity. If you like Zion Train and Dubkasm this album is a must-have.
#1 is available as CD, LP and digital download.
John Brown’s Body is one of the most popular reggae bands in the U.S. 10 Ft. Ganja Plant comprises several members of that outfit, but their music leans more towards authentic 70’s roots reggae.
On 10 Ft. Ganja Plant’s seventh album – only one year after the concept album 10 Deadly Shots – they continue to impress with tight riddims and dubwise arrangements.
Shake up the Place contains ten tracks – always ten or eleven on their albums – with several prominent guest artists.
Sylford Walker, Prince Jazzbo and The Meditations certainly sound very comfortable. Sylford Walker is close to Burning Spear in the apocalyptic My Roots and Prince Jazzbo’s flow on the relevant Recession is an excursion back to the 70’s.
But Shake up the Place is more than great vocals. Several of the tunes are instrumentals and the musicianship is flawless throughout. Just listen to the harmony between the guitars, piano and organ in the title track or the trumpet solo in Ringers Rock. Pure gold.
Shake up the Place shakes up the more than the place – it shakes up the world.