Summer has been and gone, vac work has morphed into weekly tute work, but lucky for us music will always be here in all its mutable forms to improve our lives. Since my return from Outlook, the big bad bass festival in Croatia, my mind has been swimming in the sound of bass. I’m not talking about the aggressive wobble-tastic drone that plagues our airwaves, this is the good old dub style bass, the kind that King Tubby would be proud of. In honour of the surprisingly sunny weather that we’ve been having lately, this week’s post will attempt to prolong the summer’s rays for just that little bit longer with a sprinkle of dublove.
First up is The Twinkle brothers’ ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Lonely No More’ which weaves a subtle sense of melancholia into the insatiable optimism that dub always seems to propagate. Their sound is enchanting and the simple combination of laid back bass and upbeat snare drum makes for an uplifting listen. The lead singer, with his mane of silver dreadlocks and full grey beard, somewhat fittingly looks like an aged lion and completes the image of the devout rastafari to its fullest extent. Despite the fact that the band’s average age probably hits the seventy years mark, these guys were jumping around the stage like there was no tomorrow and put Gentleman’s Dubclub to shame, check them out at outlook here.
Next up is the fantastically funky Dawn Penn, who may just have been the best act to grace Outlook’s main stage. Clad in glittering disco garments – without even a hint of irony – this sixty something songstress did reggae covers of all the best tunes from All Saints’ ‘Never Never’ to Erykah Badu’s ‘Appletree’ infusing each of these classics with her own brand of chilled out magic. Even though her renditions of other people’s tunes are great, nothing can beat her hit song ‘You Don’t Love Me No No No’. If you’ve never heard it before, lock yourself in your room, close the curtains and let your body sway to the sound of her dulcet tones, and don’t stop yourself from pretending to play the trumpet at 2:34 – it’s ok.
In a bid to direct the trajectory of this week’s post away from depressing tales of unrequited love, here is an upbeat track ‘Here I Come (Broader Than Broadway)’ brought to us by none other than Barrington Levy. You’ll be sold from the very first second when Barrington treats us to some customary unintelligible scatting, it really doesn’t get better than this. The highlight of the song comes just before the halfway point where Mr Levy’s rapping essentially falls out of time with the music but he pulls it off with the biggest ease, proving that he is indeed “broader than broadway”, whatever that means.
In a move away from the oldschool dub, and in an attempt to skip past the dubstep that we’ve all come to know – and feel underwhelmed by – I offer you Dark Sky’s remix of The xx’s ‘Crystalised’. It really has very little to do with the dub movement and would most probably fit under some pretentious garage cum post-dubstep / pre-drumstep label, but it’s simply too good not to be mention in this week’s post. If we take a moment to analyse the title of the song, we get a pretty good insight into what makes it so damn good: firstly, it’s a remix of The xx – and The xx are brilliant, even if their music has been hijacked by every car advert out there. Secondly, it’s a remix by Dark Sky, whose music is more addictive than any drug the pharmaceutical world has to offer (check out their remix of Bombay Bicycle Club’s new single here if you don’t believe me). I fear that an attempt to describe the concrete reasons why DS’ version of ‘Crystalised’ is so mind blowing would result in an embarrassing exposition of my musical incompetence – I sometimes wonder why I even write this blog – so I will leave you to make up your own minds. But just so you know, you will love it.
As we’ve veered well and truly away from my initial intention of giving you a baptism of fire into the dub world of eras past, I figure I’ll just stick to this meandering train of thought and leave you with one of my favourite songs at the moment. Once again inhabiting the intangible, minimalist electro dubby musical realm, Pariah’s ‘Crossed Out’ is a real treat for all the ears out there that like a bit of a work out. The percussive use of a snippet of vocal sample ties in so well with the indefatigably flickering beat that you’ll have no option but to shake your legs around like a hyperactive 6 year old that’s had a few too many Haribo’s. It’s on my list of top 100 songs to listen to before you die, just after ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush, and if that’s not enough to convince you, I don’t know what is
In case the weather lasts more than a few days, here’s a lovely dub infused playlist that’ll tide you over till the next post. Enjoy: RubbadubDub.