by: Jarret Lovell
Roots Zombie - Unknown Station - (Sound Rising Records)
It’s always fun to discover a new artist; less fun when you realize the artist has been around for some time and you’ve been missing out. Such is the case with Roots Zombie – a French artist who is producing some heavy, roots-based dub music using electronics and beats. I can’t find any bio in English, so let’s focus instead on the tunes. Similar in sound to Alpha and Omega, Radikal Guru and Babylon System, the sound here has one foot in in the reggae/dub camp, and one foot in the club scene when dubstep was rooted in, well, dub! “Locomotive” (#2) begins softly, only to give way to a great bassline so reminiscent of the best of A&O. You can get yer’ sitar on with “Psylo Drop” (#3). “Rabadabadam” (#4) is a wonderful sonic assault of dub and electronic! This is a thoroughly enjoyable release. If you are into dubstep, bass-heavy RPM, even drum & bass – you MUST check this out! Highly recommended. All instrumental.
DJ Vadim - Dubcatcher v. 2 - (Soul Beat Records)
I first started listening to DJ Vadim when I was acquiring the much sought after “Electric Ladyland” compilations of the late 1990s which featured tracks by Vadim as well as Techno Animal, Alec Empire, and DJ Spooky to name a few. Always rooted in dub and beats, it makes sense that he would release a couple of albums that pay homage to these roots. “Dubcatcher 2” features 16 original tracks with a slew of guest appearances by the likes of Max Romeo, Earl 16, Inja, Tippa Irie and others. The sound is a mix of dancehall, reggae, electronica and beats. It’s DJ Vadim, so you know it’s going to be good.
Dub Spencer & Trance Hill - Physical Echoes - (Echo Beach)
There’s not much to their biography, but there’s a whole lot to their music. From Switzerland, this quartet combines the best of dub (infectious basslines) with the energy of techno. The result is simultaneously ambient and danceable, mellow and pulsating. Fans of Echospace, Basic Channel, the Orb, Intrusion, RSD and the Waveform Transmission compilations should really like this release. The tracks themselves range from very reggae/dub based (#4) to very electronic-based (#3). All are rooted in dub. Great for RPM/Reggae formats.
Bobby Melody and Singie Singie - Two Rising Stars - (Roots Records)
According to Reggae-Vibes.com, Bobby Melody was one of Gregory Isaacs’s favorite singers. He began his career making music out of the fields of Jamaica to gathering crowds. He would record his songs and sell them on the street. Eventually, he made contacts with some of the biggest names in reggae. His music career lasted some 40 years, though his name is still not well-known in reggae – including by me. The current album has a 2015 release date, but given that he passed away in 2010, and given the album artwork – including a photograph – the release has to be a reissue. The sound is great. (Is that the Roots Radics backing him)? The album is a showcase featuring Singie Singie. Do some research and find out what you can about this record, or just play it. It’s great!