Dub Fusion

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Dub Fusion is the mixing of jazz improvisation with dub style rhythms and production, as well as Jamaican rhythms such as reggae, ska and rocksteady. Some other artists who play in a dub influenced style may also be found in JMA's Nu Jazz, Acid Jazz and World Fusion genres.

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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 5 min. caching

BILL LASWELL Baselines Album Cover Baselines
BILL LASWELL
4.93 | 4 ratings
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BILL LASWELL Invisible Design Album Cover Invisible Design
BILL LASWELL
4.95 | 3 ratings
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THE SKATALITES Ska Authentic Album Cover Ska Authentic
THE SKATALITES
4.95 | 2 ratings
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THE SKATALITES The Legendary Skatalites In Dub Album Cover The Legendary Skatalites In Dub
THE SKATALITES
4.95 | 2 ratings
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THE SKATALITES Heroes Of Reggae In Dub Album Cover Heroes Of Reggae In Dub
THE SKATALITES
4.93 | 2 ratings
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PRINCE JAMMY Kamikazi Dub Album Cover Kamikazi Dub
PRINCE JAMMY
5.00 | 1 ratings
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THE SKATALITES Rolling Steady The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions Album Cover Rolling Steady The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions
THE SKATALITES
4.48 | 2 ratings
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JAH WOBBLE Heaven & Earth Album Cover Heaven & Earth
JAH WOBBLE
4.48 | 2 ratings
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MATERIAL Hallucination Engine Album Cover Hallucination Engine
MATERIAL
4.41 | 3 ratings
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EKSTASIS Wake Up and Dream Album Cover Wake Up and Dream
EKSTASIS
4.50 | 1 ratings
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DEAN FRASER Big Up! Album Cover Big Up!
DEAN FRASER
4.50 | 1 ratings
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AUGUSTUS PABLO East Of The River Nile Album Cover East Of The River Nile
AUGUSTUS PABLO
4.50 | 1 ratings
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dub fusion Music Reviews

PRINCE JAMMY Kamikazi Dub

Album · 1979 · Dub Fusion
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js
If you ask most lovers of Dub music, what was the album that got them started, or what is still their favorite album, there is a very good chance they will pick Prince Jammy’s classic “Kamikaze Dub”. Jamaican Dub music first appeared in the mid-70s under the guidance of the creative master mind, King Tubby. By the late 70s, two of his top co-workers, Scientist and Prince Jammy were ready to branch out on their own, and they did. Both Jammy and Scientist were poised to take dub to a whole new level, but Jammy’s record came out first, and that’s why “Kamikaze Dub” is often cited as the album that raised the bar for good. After its release, many Jamaican producers aspired to create the same swirling psychedelic sound that Jammy presented on these near perfect tracks.

This music has aged very well, there is a certain economical neatness on here that implies the digital age, but this was all done painstakingly by hand towards the end of the analog era. This is truly a labor of love as each echo and phase shifter is placed logically, no gratuitous tacky effects mar the final product. The intelligent choice of effects adds to the quality of ‘Kamikaze’, I’m not sure if they were using the new Electro-Harmonix small stone phase shifter, but it sure sounds like it, or something similar. The musicianship on here is outstanding as well, with other Dub stars taking part such as Sly and Robbie on drums and bass, Augustaus Pablo on keyboards, Headley Bennett and Bobby Ellis on horns, as well as many others. The bright effects treated piano and organ parts that borrow from art rock and classical music are often the icing on the cake.

As mentioned earlier, when “Kamikaze Dub” came out in 1979, it became the gateway drug for many a future dub addict. At that time, Miles Davis had retired his psychedelic fusion band, and psych-rock pioneers, Pink Floyd, were slipping into corporate sludge, the time was right for something new, and Price Jammy hit the spot.

SLY AND ROBBIE Language Barrier

Album · 1985 · Dub Fusion
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Matt
In 1985 Island Records released Sly and Robbie’s first foray to be recorded with Reggae placed as an influence and not the major component within the recording by bringing a digitalised funk and Hip Hop sound to the recordings fore front. Looking back today when one listens closely to “Language Barrier” you realise just how far in front of the pack they were running. Afrika Bambaata, had only been known for three years with a complete new genre of music still in its infancy being Rap and Hip Hop which was still facing more criticism than appreciation except within the younger music community and not content with just Afrika Bambaata the imitable Doug E. Fresh with his own sounds being the human beat box even took things to another original level. As well, we had another fairly new artist making quite a name on the scene for himself being the Producer and bassist Bill Laswell who was currently with his band Material back in 1985 bringing already a diverse original anything goes approach with his take on creating modern music. Wally Badarou is also present on synthesizer, Herbie Hancock, Robbie Lyn and Bernie Worrell are also included supplying keyboards and piano. Manu Dibango on sax, Daniel Ponce, congas, Bernard Fowler, backing vocals and vocals, Eddie Martinez, Pat Thrall, Mike Hampton, Mikey Chung and Barry Reynolds all supplied guitar at various stages from Funk, Jazz and Rock and talking about Rock, Bob Dylan even provides harmonica in the album.

During this period Sly and Robbie had not long finished recording Mick Jagger’s solo debut, “She’s The Boss” with Bill Laswell where many of these musicians came into contact. Some of the others had already been playing in the Compass Band which was Island Records studio band for many of their productions during this period with most of the band members originating from Jamacia and a Reggae background. Bob Dylan had not long before had Sly and Robbie provide support for his latest release “Empire Burlesque” with the most memorable song of the album recorded being Bob’s second shot at “When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky” containing Sly’s electric drum kit and Robbie’s beautiful bass line. In addition to all this consorting Bill Laswell with a few of the artists mentioned above had just recorded Manu Dibango’s ,“Electric Africa” bringing Manu along to lend his superb saxophone with that gorgeous tone on various album tracks, found within “Language Barrier”.

Sly’s electronic drums open up with the Funk coming in quick, Manu Dibango’s sax is darting in and out, Wally’s synthesizer is whirling around and Afrika Bambaata are chanting “make em’ move, make em’ move” with additional verse lyrics and with three cracking guitar solos inserted with of course Robbie’s bass lines and the first number “Make Em’ Move” gets the album underway. “No Name On The Bullet” which follows is one rhythm worked over beautifully with Hip Hop added over a dub and an another album highlight which is followed by the Miles Davis composition “Black Satin” aptly named “Miles” within the album’s track listings with more fabulous rhythm employed as the bed rock , two fabulous drum leads from Sly, more Synthesizer and guitar, a keyboard loop that just keeps repeating and one quite distinct take was created. “Bass And Trouble” is the first on the flip with Manu Dibango providing quite a nice solo and input over more electronics used for the rhythm with Doug E. Fresh doing his sound effects, Wally’s synthesizer is back, Mike Hampton is putting in the Funk guitar and Sly and Robbie are once again a stunning back bone to it all. The rhythm just keeps pounding along for the title track “Language Barrier” with Doug back rapping effects and even more funk lines from Mike Hampton’s guitar. Of course funk finishes the album up with quite a catchy “ Get To This, Get To That” and here we get to hear Bernard Fowler singing lead over more of a seventies style take albeit it is laced with electronics.

It did not receive the recognition that this album deserved when it was released garnering quite a mixed reception but if one looks back with today’s view point you will notice these musicians are light years ahead or right on the cusp if you prefer. Myself personally I love the use of the electronic kit that Sly Dunbar played and how he used the full electronic sound with Robbie’s pumping bass providing the support and Bill Laswell’s production. Their next similar album “Rhythm Killers” which garnered a much better reception is perhaps better played and mixed but “Language Barrier” was a more original album and who else would rush in and get that new Rap stuff included, although at this time it was really not all that new for the Rhythm Twins as they had been doing Jamaican Dancehall for around 7 to 8 years by then, “Yep, they were light year s ahead”.

SLY AND ROBBIE Dubrising

Album · 2014 · Dub Fusion
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Matt
Last time the Dub was underwater but this year it is rising with the latest Dub offering from the Rhythm Twins. I could go on for hours about these two who have appeared with everybody at some time or the other and if they have not appeared with them then they most likely Produced their album. Still Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have always kept those Jamaican Roots to the forefront within their own music and releases while still staying contemporary in the genre at the same time. After all it was Sly and Robbie who were the main movers toward digital within the Reggae scene back in the eighties and like it or not it is here to stay with the introduction of Dancehall and Ragga but with “Dubrising” it 100% good old Dub.

Paul “Groucho” Smykle is the man behind the mixing board who has not worked with Sly and Robbie for nearly 30 years when he mixed their two earlier albums “Raiders of the Lost Dub” and “Dub Experience”. The tracks from the album were picked by Groucho using Sly and Robbie’s prior Productions from Horace Andy, Chezidek, Bunny Rugs and Khalifa between 2006 to 2012 bringing quite a modern feel but still staying right at the Old School. The instrumentals were recorded live at two studios in Kingston. Dan Donovan from Big Audio Dynamite added synthesizer and Bunny McKenzie added dread harmonica. No Protools were used as Groucho mixed it live to bring that old feel of how it was done back in those Lee Perry and King Tubby days during the seventies where if things did go wrong, it was start again and not just a quick patch up.

The dubs themselves come through beautifully with a mix of tempos throughout the rhythms used with all the reverb and echo employed and as heard on “Satan Fall” and the 2nd Dub “Freedom Ring”. The synthesizer provides a little more fill bringing a good fresh quality and is quite a nice touch. “Drone Snipers” motors along with a great echo and vocal remnants with the addition of Bunny McKenzie playing his dread harmonica. There are plenty of sound effects with zaps and whirrs layered over great rhythms which keep up a nice rapid tempo for the majority of Dubs that follow. “To The Rescue" is laced with Synthesizer and vocal remnants put to echo, “No Surrender”, “Flame Thrower” with its effects and slightly slower tempo and then to finish the pumping bass of “Double Agent” which comes in last.

Wonderful new Dub album from Sly and Robbie with a wonderful sounding mix from Groucho.

JAH WOBBLE Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell ‎: Radioaxiom – A Dub Transmission

Album · 2001 · Dub Fusion
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js
When their careers first began, it was hard not to notice the almost doppelganger like similarities between bassists Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell. Both came up through the late 70s post-punk scene, both featured a deep dub influenced sound, and both were pioneers in the growing art of self produced home recording. I’m sure they noticed the similarities because it wasn’t long before they began to work together on some projects, including “Radio Axiom a Dub Transmission”, one of their best. This album features the sort of dub influenced groove music you would expect from these two, but this time around they took the time to build something very special, not the easy ‘dub by numbers’ productions that these two can sometimes be guilty of. The difference is in the rhythms, fortunately Bill and Jah assembled a top crew of percussionists led by dub drum master Sly Dunbar, instead of relying on simple looped beats, something that has marred some of Laswell’s past albums in particular. This polyrhythmic foundation is topped with an all-star cast that includes space jazz trumpeters Graham Haynes and Nils Petter Molvaer, Nicky Skopelitis’ always perfect guitar textures, North African vocalists on a few numbers and subtle keyboards throughout.

The rhythms on here vary from straight up dub to a that sort of Jamaican/breakbeat rhythm that was made popular by The English Beat and The Police. Although there are outside influences, this album maintains the stoic integrity of a true dub record with no cuts standing out as incongruous sore thumbs. The flow from song to song is excellent as the rhythms vary enough to be interesting, but never enough to mar the album’s overall continuity. Both Laswell and Wobble have been guilty of ‘phoning it in’ before, but not this time around, “Radioaxiom” features a careful and precise production that ranks it near the top in the cluttered and over crowded field of modern jazzy dub music.

BILL LASWELL Bass Terror (with Nicholas James Bullen)

Split · 1994 · Dub Fusion
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js
In the early 90s, breakthroughs in digital technology caused the cost of professional recording equipment to drop drastically to the point that almost anyone with a steady gig could get a digital recorder, something to loop or create beats with and a CD burner and become a one person recording studio and CD production company. This increase in easy homemade product led to an increased interest in digitally produced beat oriented electronic music, or what became known as “electronica”. Some of this music was interesting at first, but soon this world of easy access and production fielded endless repetitive and simple homemade beats and sounds. When I first bought Bill Laswell and Nicholas Bullen’s CD, “Bass Terror”, back in the day, it was a mildly interesting piece of electro fluff, but it soon proved to be the tip of the iceberg for tons of other quickly slapped together projects put together by thousands of artists around the world.

“Bass Terror” isn’t a terrible CD, and may prove interesting to some, but revisiting it makes you realize how quickly this sort of quick-n-easy project became antiquated. For a little background, this CD is not a joint effort, but instead includes one track by Bill Laswell, a pre-electronica leader in self-made product, and two tracks by Nicholas Bullen, who helped create grindcore with his bandmates in Napalm Death. The title, “Bass Terror”, is misleading as there is nothing particularly scary going on here unless you are afraid to fall asleep.

The lengthy opening track by Laswell opens up okay with a fun groovy bass riff backed with a drumnbass looped track that sounds ancient by today’s standards. Bill dubs in some Bootsy style flanged pops on the bass and this track has its moments in a kitsch retro kind of way but soon wanders into rambling preacher samples and ambient drift. Southern preachers may be amusing to a “sophisticated” New Yorker like Laswell, but its fairly mundane and un-amusing to those from a less “cosmopolitan” background.

The two following tracks by Bullen alternate repetitive slow simple sluggish hip-hop/rock unchanging four beat loops with quiet industrial ambient dronish noise. The quiet noise sections are well done, and I would imagine the beats were made dull and simple on purpose, but still, those kind of repeating four beat patterns became both overdone and obsolete very quickly.

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