Special request to all rub a dub heads. There’s a group from Haifa City in Israel that has made a raw and eclectic album titled Ain’t No Future with No Past. It’s by the group themselves described as something of a musical Caesar Salad.
Trilion is not a band in the ordinary sense. It’s more of a collective of individuals aiming to merge and clash bass heavy beats without any musical boundaries. And when doing so it sounds like they have had a lot of fun. Just listen to the first single Stop Igle or the vintage-sounding Ole Sound Tradition and you’ll find out what I mean.
But there’s also a harder and more serious side. Check the musically intimidating Tolerance with its smattering drums and wobbling and booming bass or the melancholic Broke Family.
With one foot in the 80s and 90s and one foot in the future Trilion presents a fresh take on rub-a-dub.
On Perfect Giddimani’s ninth album Reggae Farm Work he has teamed-up with Irie Ites – one the toughest and best production crews around. They have been working with Perfect Giddimani for a number of years and finally a full-length album has materialized.
This album is Perfect Giddimani’s best since Back For the First Time, released in 2011. And they are musically miles apart. Where Back For the First Time was soothing, breezy and beautiful roots, Reggae Farm Work is much of the opposite. It’s fierce, dark and uncompromising contemporary rub a dub with influences ranging from hip-hop to dubstep.
Perfect Giddimani tackles and rides a number of Irie Ites’ baddest riddims, including a devastating new version of their infectious Roots & Culture riddim and the dread hip-hop tinged S.T.F.U complete with strings and curse words.
The riddims – powered by a number of muscular musicians such as Errol “Flabba” Holt, Leroy Mafia, Fluxy and the late Style Scott – take no prisoners and Perfect Giddimani is as expressive as always with his highly unorthodox delivery.
A striking and innovative album that drops like a bomb.
You have to be impressed by Spanish producer, mixing engineer and musician Roberto Sánchez. A few weeks ago he and Alpheus dropped a sweet and soulful rocksteady album. Now, he’s responsible for another set, but in a completely different vein.
Earl 16’s Natty Farming is rub-a-dub old school style. Properly old school since the relentless drum patters are laid by Style Scott of Roots Radics fame and originally recorded at Channel One in Kingston.
Just as several other notable album releases from Roberto Sánchez and his A-Lone Productions, Natty Farming is a showcase set with six vocals and their six dubs. Three songs are originals and three are cover versions.
Natty Farming is organic and analogue. It’s warm and Earl 16’s pleading voice floats over the throbbing and syncopated riddims with elegance.
I have yet to hear a below par album or tune from Roberto Sánchez and his crew.
One of the latest releases on German label Jahtari is a 12” from legendary Berlin-based mic chanter Paul St. Hilaire, aka Tikiman, who has previously worked with Rhythm & Sound.
Nah Ina It EP features four tracks where Jahtari Riddim Force, aka Rootah and Disrupt, have tweaked the bass beyond and below what could be considered as healthy. It opens with the title track. A cavernously deep six minute discomix where Tikiman chants against Raggamuffin Alex over a riddim reminiscent of the mighty Drum Song riddim.
The flip carries three cuts, of which Who Goes There is the real standout. Here Paul St. Hilaire flexes his fast chatting skills over a riddim that owes a bit to King Tubby’s legendary Tempo riddim.
Nah Ina It is vintage, yet futuristic, rub-a-dub with a distinctive and dubwise atmosphere.
Unfortunately I don’t know much about the Spanish reggae scene apart from my encounters with producer and musician Roberto Sánchez. His productions together with Earl Zero and Alpheus are essential in any record collection.
But now my horizon is widened, since another Spanish producer has come forward. Ambassah has collected 17 tunes recorded between 2005 and 2011 on Rub A Dub Showcase Part II, a compilation where Robero Sánchez turns up as co-producer, engineer and musician. Nine of these tracks have previously been released on Pirate’s Choice Recordings as 10”. The other eight are actually unreleased until now.
Rub A Dub Showcase Part II carry some deep early 80’s dancehall grooves and the eight different riddims – of which two are relicks – are built on live instrumentation. Vocalists include singers such as Alpheus, Horace Martin and the Godfather of Dancehall himself – the late Sugar Minott. All three makes impressive efforts.
But the real masterpiece is Breeze and Trees’ – DJ’s Ranking Forrest and Jah Breeze – Two the Hard Way (Extended), where the DJ duo goes Michigan & Smiley over the skanking Monday Sounds riddim with its lethal horns riff.
Apart from vocals there is a lot of dub going on here as well. Nine of the 17 cuts are dub versions with a rich texture and three are extended versions with a similar sound.
Rub A Dub Showcase Part II is an exciting and accomplished set that builds on the best from early Jamaican dancehall.
Sheya Mission is one of those mysterious artists that want to be anonymous. It’s however great that she is sharing her great music and voice to the world. But we probably won’t get the opportunity to catch her live.
Sheya Mission’s debut album Nine Signs & Heavy Bliss is produced by Swedish talent Jonahgold who took over the legendary Stockholm-based Rub a Dub studio from veteran producer and engineer Internal Dread.
Nine Signs & Heavy Bliss contains a potent 20 tracks, of which three are short skits. Some of these have been released as singles as far back as ten years. But the album sounds remarkably unified, and Sheya Mission’s deep, laid back voice suits the somewhat meditative mood very well.
Percussion is happily enough used on most of the tracks. So are sound effects. Jonahgold mixes in beatboxing, dub sirens, rain, police sirens and King Stitt styled vocal interjections.
The mood is mostly dark and autumn like, and I come to think of Berlin-based producers Rhythm and Sound when I hear tunes such as the electronic and almost industry-like Valley and Never Let Me Down.
But there is also the ska-tinged Going Down, the jolly and upbeat Reggae Music, which is a duet with Swedish deejay Leafnuts. And I really dig the use of Augustus “Gussie” Clarke 80’s synthesizers in Thanks.
Nine Signs & Heavy Bliss has taken some time to finish, but it was well worth the wait.