Think bass-heavy electro-dance with dub effects, Caribbean basslines, dirty chunky dark and heavy beats, some two-step influences. Think of a traditional-style Jamaican dub feel mixed with an intense take on tomorrow’s bass music. Perhaps think of a Warp record buried in the ground and being digged up a few months later to be put into the hands of Lee Scratch Perry.
We’re talking SubMachena here, a collaboration between Robin Taylor-Firth and Rawle Bruce. Taylor-Firth is perhaps best known for his work with Nightmares On Wax and they both been working together previously as Olive (“You’re Not Alone” anyone?). You probably won’t have heard much of them, because till now they stayed pretty much under the radar. But if you know your dubs, you will surely want to hear SubMachena.
Have a listen and enjoy.
While you’re on the SubMachena trail, don’t forget to check out their label Blancomusic’s blog. Besides the music you’ll find some interesting reads about the music industry, the music business and simply music 2.0. Makes you think.
Have a read and enjoy.
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Legendary dub reggae producer Scientist strolling through the studio with The Upsetters band to show how to mix a dub track.
Swelling keyboard, swampy vocals, scratchy guitars, jangly percussion, an echoing tambourine, some distant vocal samples and a lot of reverb. I’m sure you never wondered how PJ Harvey might sound when out on a dubby reggae trip. But you get the answer anyway and it actually sounds good.
Written on the forehead is the first single taken from PJ Harvey’s new album Let England Shake. It was recorded inside a church in Dorset, England with assistance from producer Flood and musicians Mick Harvey and John Parish.
For those of you who might not immediately recognise the sample that fills the background, here it is in full. Niney the Observer’s classic “Blood and Fire”.
Captain Ska recorded this tune in 2010 and it hit the British charts by the end of that year. Unfortunately the government keeps ruthlessly hacking away jobs, damaging vulnerable lives and chipping away at the very fabric of society. So this still remains a very necessary tune.
“I’ve never much been into politics before, but the spending cuts are going to really hit millions of people who did nothing to cause this recession, and Ska can be the soundtrack for the campaign, just as two-tone was one of the few good things to come from the 1980s – the last time we had a government that did so much to rip the country apart.” – Captain SKA
Go check anti-cuts site falseeconomy.co.uk.
This is the video to the new Version Big-Fi single Youth Man featuring Darius on vocals. Wonderfull as ever.
Music: Tommy McCook & The Supersonics (“Love Dub”)
Artwork & animation: David Cox
Let’s end this year with a real reggae standard. It’s John Holt’s “Man Next Door”, also known as “I’ve Got To Get Away” or – as Horace Andy called it – “Quiet Place”. The song dates back to 1967 when John Holt wrote it and recorded it with the Paragons. At that time it was still called “I’ve Got To Get Away”. Since then the song has been covered and versioned numerous times.
We kick things off with one of the best and surely one of the most popular versions. Dennis Brown slowed the tempo down a bit, allowing the vocals to slide in and out of the rhythm. It was probably also Brown who gave the tune the “Man Next Door” title.
Massive Attack and Horace Andy turned the song in something much more heavy and dark. They slowed it down even more and added a sample from an old track by the Cure along with a big beat and their dub signature. Here’s their version combined with footage from a sixties Samuel Beckett movie. It’s a perfect fit with both music and images being threatening and claustrophobic.
Then there’s also the punky reggae party the Slits made of it. Live in Berlin and very tribal. The Slits released the song as a single in 1980, reaching number 5 on the UK Indie Charts with it. This video is all about punk, funk, rhythm, dub and fun.
To end this post, here’s the original tune with John Holt and the Paragons.
And of course there’s much more, from Horace Andy performing the song with King Tubby and The Aggrovators, up untill Bill Laswell dubbing Horace Andy’s version and rechristening it yet again, this time as A Noisy Place. For a big list of versions, take a look over at Versions Galore.
By the way, it’s also nice to hear a reggae artist simply expressing his frustration at the amount of noise his neighbour makes upon returning home late at night.
Every now and then we have to look back and dig into the crates of our roots. Today it’s Dawn Penn performing live in New York back in 2007. Boy oh boy, what a riddim, what a bass and what a voice. A true classic and one of our all time favorites. Play it loud.