This is the latest set (Vol. 8!) of dub in this pretty fine series, tracking the evolution of dub music. Every volume has reissues of some great dub albums, some of which are relatively rare. This set collects some (mostly) fairly recent albums all using computerized beats and sounds to create that dub experience. Many dub fans (including me) have a soft spot for this music from it's prime period, the 1970's (more or less), using "real" musicians. But this volume has made me rethink the whole dub thing.
As a long time fan/collector of dub music, Prince Jammy's "Computerized Dub" is a pretty decent effort at combining computer-made beats with that whole organic sound from earlier years. Listen to "32 Bit Chip" and you'll hear what I mean. There's an organic quality mixed in along with the digital sounds/beats that's very satisfying. But this album isn't strictly computerized. "Stealie" ("Steely") and "Cleavie" ("Clevie"), well known as a bass/drums rhythm section on more modern Jamaican albums, including their album of Studio One rhythms, plus Wayne Smith Super Power All-Stars are here too. The combination keeps everything from going hard and totally digital sounding.
"Voyage Into Dub", from the Two Friends Crew, likewise is a combination of electronic dub beats, sounds, and occasional vocal snippets. "Roughneck Bub" will give you a good idea of how smooth and organically intoxicating computer-dub can be. This music is sometimes (mistakenly) lumped in with hard-core Ragga, mostly because they worked with more contemporary artists like Shabba Ranks, Cocoa Tea, and others. But this isn't a million beats a minute album--exactly the opposite. The beats are slinky and open--hear "Morning Blues Dub"--as an example.
"Juke Boxx Dub (sic), from Shane Brown (who's related to "Duke" Reid), is the son of Errol Brown. He too built on the history of dub music, using analog equipment. And his music too is centered on the dancehall style, working with Buju Banton, Capleton, Sizzla, and many more artists. His "Judge Dub" is a good combination of modern dub which incorporates horns to accent his rhythms. "Politician Dub" is a standout with it's deep bass, guitars, and floating vocals.
"Dub Clash", from Alborosie is another fine set of "new" dub. This album is from 2010, with Alborosie playing drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and percussion on most of the tracks. Also here is the Shengen Clan Band who help lay down some fine rhythms. He is one of the few newer producers working in the "old" ways, using "King" Tubby as his major influence. Of the four albums, this set is closest to more traditional dub sounds.
To be honest I was all set to not like this new volume because of the computer/dancehall connection. I love dub from it's inception on through to it's prime years using so many fine musicians. But I have to say I'm surprised and impressed with what these modern dub producers have done. In it's own way this is full of deep, satisfying dub rhythms--just "computerized up" a bit. But don't think this collection isn't worth hearing. As dub has evolved, albums like these are good examples of modern dub from producers that haven't forgotten where the music came from. This volume can easily sit alongside the other sets in this series.