Sly and Robbie have been on one serious run lately. The duo started out 2013 with the long-anticipated Black Uhuru revival tour with legendary Uhuru frontman Michael Rose and released a steady diet of riddim-driven studio albums that included the Grammy Award-nominated Reggae Connection by Sly & Robbie And the Jam Masters; Sly and Robbie Presents: Shaggy Out of Many, One Music; Stepper Takes The Taxi; and the incomparable Taxi Sessions by Bitty Mclean. So it should come as no surprise then that the riddim twinz have already released a couple of dub albums in 2014, including UNDERWATER DUB (Groove Attack) and DUBMASTER VOYAGE (Tabou1). However, neither of these hold the weight of their next planned release on Guillaume Bougard’s TABOU1 label: DUBRISING. Planned for a November 2014 vinyl-only release, DUBRISING is a phenomenal piece of dub wizardry and the duo’s best dub album since 2012’s BLACKWOOD DUB.
Producer and label chief Guillaume Bougard explains why DUBRISING is such a notable album.
“On this project, I asked legendary sound wizard Paul ‘Groucho’ Smykle, who mixed dub masterpieces like Sly & Robbie’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST DUB and DUB EXPERIENCE, Black Uhuru’s DUB FACTOR and the ground breaking INI KAMOZE. Groucho has not worked with Sly & Robbie in nearly 30 years.”
For those who are unaware, Bougard just named four of the most influential reggae albums of the 1980s. Comparing DUBRISING to RAIDERS OF THE LOST DUB and DUB FACTOR is a risky proposition when one considers the relative influence of those two dub albums alone. However, DUBRISING is an album which not only delivers, it transports the listener back to a time when Sly and Robbie set a new standard for dub through live improvisation and experimentation on-stage. Robbie Shakespeare explains in a 2013 interview with MIDNIGHT RAVER.
“I want to get this across clear. Peter Tosh him the man who gave us the big break we need to go play as Sly and Robbie and tour just off the name. With Peter we start doing the live dub thing. Because we would play at night time and people would want three, four, five encores but we a run out of songs! So we just do the dub live on-stage. The show was only an hour or two hours and we no have enough songs so we just dub, dub, dub, dub. It start make people more aware. Start seeing Sly and Robbie more aware.”
For DUBRISING, Groucho selected 12 tracks from sessions with Horace Andy, Chezidek, Bunny Rugs and Khalifa that were produced with Sly & Robbie between 2006 and 2012. The instrumental parts were recorded live at Harry J and Anchor studios in Kingston. According to Bougard, Groucho asked Don Donovan (Big Audio Dynamite) to lay down synthesizer overdubs and Bunny McKenzie to add harmonica to the mix. These additions provide a more coherent atmosphere and give the album its own soul.
The album was mixed live on a soundboard with Groucho at the controls. The live mix gives the album an intangible authentic sound and vibe that is missing from most modern reggae dub mixes. The album is tracked in such a way that each track builds on the one, giving the album a cohesive feel that slowly and steadily builds with a climactic B-side that will blow the mind of even the deepest dub heads.
Groucho brings a Sly & Robbie sound that we haven’t heard since Black Uhuru on tracks like “Bully Tactics” (dub version to Chezidek’s “Devil You Can’t Bully Me Out” ) and “No Surrender” (dub version to Chezidek’s “Surrender”). I’m talking tuff mixes reminiscent of “Bull In The Pen,” “Mondays (Killer Tuesday” and “Carbine.” Smykle’s mix is nothing short of brilliant.
DUBRISING will be released first in a vinyl-only format, which is mastered by Bruno Sourice. The 33 RPM edition will be pressed on 150g vinyl. Because the album is 36 minutes long, the two sides last 18 minutes or so each, allowing for ample space for the grooves and thus producing a very warm sound. For the audiophiles and collectors, a limited edition run will consist of a double 45RPM pressed on 12″ 180g vinyl.
The album will eventually be released in a digital format as well. It will be released digitally through the TABOU1 BandCamp page in high resolution 24-bit lossless audio, then at online vendors who supply lossless audio downloads, and last on the lossy audio file supermarkets used by zillions of customers.
For the truly maniacal audiophiles, a few select sound systems and friends, TABOU1 commissioned Jacques Golub to make 25 hand lathe cut double disco 45’s. He is lathe cutting them one by one, at 1x speed on 2 millimeter thick records. Jacques is one of the rare experts on the planet, he bought his own machine and his quality is top notch. On DUBRISING he has decided to use diamond needles rather than sapphire needles to obtain deeper and better-defined grooves. The sound is spectacular and this technique enables a sound level clocking at 15 decibels higher than pressed records. The purity of the original master is nearly absolutely maintained, as the vinyl is cut directly from the mastered tape.
Video game and cartoon illustrator Kuang Hong created the album artwork. His paintings of post nuclear war scenes fit really well with DUBRISING’s atmosphere. To further enhance the quality of the whole thing, packaging is a gatefold printed on super-heavy, ultra-rigid 350g board.
“To The Rescue”
DUBRISING is livicated to the memory of Bunny Rugs, Gregory Isaacs and Radgy Tamby (the “TA” in “TABOU1″).