Establishing a career in the overcrowded market of 'Dub' music is never going to be an easy task....unless your name is "King Tubby", "Lee 'Scratch' Perry" or "Mad Professor", standing out from the multitude of artists that have produced various Dub tracks or Remixes, or reinterpretations, is harder than we probably imagine. And the fact that Dub music is largely considered to be the preserve of either the 'Dreadlocked' or 'Permanently Stoned', limits its crossover appeal. Yet Augustus Pablo was either wise enough, or indeed forward thinking enough, to realise that merely creating a Dub album that didn't differentiate itself from any other Dub album, was going to be a pointless exercise....so Augustus tapped into a market that was largely untouched. The 'Melodic' spectrum of Dub music, by completely sidestepping the bass heavy sounds, and reverb-ladened echo effects that largely dominate Dub music, he was able to bring something uniquely his to the table. And with even more of an angle, he used the 'Yazoo' (considered to be a Children's harmonic instrument) and more importantly & significantly....the 'Melodica' (a harmonica with a keyboard), which would make up his organ-orientated form of Dub music, with superb use of Piano, Synthesizer, producing a sound far more relaxed and Delicate edge, than Dub music is usually given credit for.
Those hoping for the deep thumping bass, that makes up a lot of Dub music, will be either shocked or surprised to hear that, this is a million miles away from those sorts of Dub tracks, instead what Augustus does is make simple, melody-driven tracks that focus on the earthy, reflective and organic use of his Yazoo & melodica. Whether Its haunting Oriental-esque melody, or simple vocal lines that for all intents and purposes sound like a medative lullaby's, or indeed minor keys and prominent melodica lines , coupled with Pablo alternating rudimentary but spooky solos on melodica and organ over a jagged riddim, it's arguably all so beautifully implemented and produced, that its feels less like Dub and more mellow instrumental roots reggae. Its interesting to hear how Augustus takes that simplest of rhythms and builds tunes, arrangements around this central rhythm / idea, and the vibes are of the most relaxed kind, as the music never really gets past a slow-paced grooves, that languish over harmonious stoned groovescapes.
Augustus has made several absolutely essential albums in this career, and his simplified, stripped down, plaintive form of melodic-Dub truly deserved a wider-audience, as his music has the unique ability to express moods. But it, something contemplative or organic, it was a sound that was able to express moods in the way that various forms of 'Jazz' music is able to. His melodica is largely the key to his sound, and the simple instrument's unusual sound is hard to mistake for anything else, colouring and texturing the simple rhythms, in a oddly delicate way, yet the vaguely Middle Eastern sound of his melodica is immediately recognisable, and therefore makes his warm and compelling music that much more accessible. This is considered to be amongst his best albums (along with " King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown"), as the most impressive body of his work, and having thoroughly enjoyed this album, I whole-heartily recommend it to anyone thinking of picking up Augustus' work, as it is in turns: Mellow, downtempo, laid-back and beautifully rendered, yet also spiritual & possessing a dark and mystical ambience. Critics will point to the fact that the various tracks on his albums, aren't radically different from each other, and have a tendency to blend into each other. That is partially true, as it's very easy for his sound to wash over the listener, and before you realise it...your halfway through the album. But such criticisms should not dissuade potential buyers, as this is some of the most organically expressive instrumental Dub music, I've had the pleasure of listening to, and it's one of those rare breed of albums, in which you don't necessarily have to be in a certain mood to listen to, and you feel in a better mood for having listened to it.......Essential