Understand What Black Is (Mala instrumental mix) (4:38)
Understand What Black Is (Dego & Kaidi remix) (3:56)
Understand What Black Is (Dego & Kaidi instrumental mix) (3:58)
Review: Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of hip-hop history will tell you that the roots of rapping can be traced back to the early '70s spoken word albums of The Last Poets. It's because of this that the collective's recent album, Understand What Black Is (their first for nearly two decades), was such a big deal. Here the title track is given the remix treatment. Mala handles the A-side, delivering vocal and instrumental passes that re-cast the track as a skanking, dub-wise excursion full of ricocheting electric piano notes and suitably heavy bass. 2000 Black main men Dego and Kaidi Tatham take a more up-tempo approach on the flip, wrapping the Poets conscious vocals and instrumentation around their own fizzing broken beat rhythms, jazz-funk chords and darting electronics.
Review: Roots, reggae and dub all permeate this silky suite of cuts from Digital English, which look as far back as they gaze into the future for their inspirations. There are digi-vibes on Lin Strong's "Valley Of Elah" before the clean and crisp riddims of Chazbo's "Over The Mountain" are lit up by harmonic chords from the heavens. An echo-drenched dub version then leads into the bumping "Running Away" which implores you to confront your fears, while Kniox's "Chatty Mount" has a meandering lead synth that drifts in the distance. Arguably best of all though, is Digital English's closing cut "Chatty Dub" - a real killer with crisp hits and endless bass ripples.
Review: Soundway has high hopes for the third album by "underground super-producer" Lord Echo. That set is due to appear in early 2017, and as a taster, they've decided to drop this fine single. "Just Do You" features the vocals of Mara TK of Electric Wire Hustle fame, and is a deliciously cheery chunk of Caribbean inspired dub disco indulgence. It's accompanied by a fine Dub - which, naturally, features more tape delay and a tougher, stripped back groove - and an instrumental version. There's also a bonus cut in the shape of "Only You", which features regular Lord Echo collaborator Toby Laing, best known as a member of globe-trotting Kiwi supergroup Fat Freddy's Drop.
Review: One can only imagine the vibe in the studio when electronica and dub's most eccentric players collided to create their album The Observer In The Star House. Creative and spirited, neither party held back throughout, and "Soulman" is one of the LP's highlights... A seasick house beat and palpitating dub bassline fuse to form a rock solid bed for Perry's patter, making it just as hypnotising on the headphones as it does on the dancefloor. Alluring, too, thanks to the cool green vinyl finish/
Review: With a sterling reputation in house across labels such as Local Talk and Glenview, often with provocative, political and conscious connotations, Russian craftsman Alexander Lay Far now draws even deeper feathers from his cap as he brings our attention to UK duo Riddim Research. Working closely with the pair to bring their floor-minded dub to life, the vibes sit somewhere between Fink, King Tubby, Silicone Soul and Mala depending where you place the needle on the record. From the chuggy swing of "Hustler's Dub" to the pant-swinging JB break on "Keep On Rocking" to the Smith & Mighty sized dub nodder "Clerks & Spies", the whole experience builds naturally and narratively while offering some key moments for the floor along the way. Genuinely unique.