The dub virus has now spread out from its late-‘60s Jamaican origins on into the 21st century via modern roots, dubstep and virtually all other electronic beat music. Producer Dub Gabriel’s new album, Raggabass Resistance offers some compelling coordinates towards the only place dub has truly gone—forward.
Gabe’s first two albums, 2003’s Ascend and 2005’s Bass Jihad, saw him ground himself as a producer in the multi-tempo global-Southern dub vision established by folks like legendary multi-instrumental producer-naut Bill Laswell. But while Laswell stretched out his compositions in an ethereal jazz-influenced way, Gabe maintained a more compact aesthetic that reflected the edgy grit of the post-punk/second-wave hip-hop era during which he came up.
By the time he self-released his third album, Anarchy and Alchemy, in 2008, Gabe had started honing in on an electronically infused reggae framework that both anticipated the breakout of dubstep and introduced his consistent use of modern dubwise MCs like Jahdan Blakkamore, Juakali and Dr. Israel, all of whom also appear on Raggabass Resistance.
Drenched in analogue warmth and released both digitally and on heavy vinyl, Raggabass‘s nine tracks comprise Gabe’s most focused manifesto on what eclectic roots- dub music can sound like in the digital age.
Between the driving rhythm and compelling dub-poetry of “Is This Revolution” featuring The Spaceape…
…the quasi-Andalusian one-drop vibes of “Draw the Line” featuring Dr. Israel and Gogol Bordello MC Pedro Erazo…
…and the heavily psychedelic “Live and Luv,” which features old-school MC U-Roy and bass by Bauhaus’s David J…
…you know you’re getting into some eclectic territory here.
But cuts like the rocksteady-infused “Nearly There” featuring veteran Brixton UK rhymer Brother Culture…
…and the mega-rootsy “Silent Warrior” featuring new-school singer/MC P.J. Higgins
…find Gabriel showing ultimate respect for the dubwise tradition as he seeks to launch it deep into this new century.
And as the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the beautifully designed Raggabass Resistance also serves as yet more proof of the kind of quality package artists can offer up in a crowdfunding situation.