2014 was a great year for the dub mix. Just as I thought that Jamaican dub reggae was headed too far down the EDM path, several talented producers stepped in, releasing some of the most authentic dub tracks I’ve heard in some time. All of these dub mixes are featured on MIDNIGHT RAVER’S DREADA DUB VOL. 7. So here are the dub mixes that twisted me up this year…
NUMBER ONE: TETRACK “THAT DAY WILL COME” (ROOTS VIBES). No your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Yes, the baddest vocal harmony group to descend from Warrika Hill is back with a venjeance. Carlton “Tetrack” Hines, Dave Harvey, and Norris Reid (formerly of the VICEROYS) returned to the studio to record my favorite 12″ single of 2014. Released on the French ROOTS VIBES label, “THAT DAY WILL COME” features the legendary harmony group in fine form in this roots reggae throwback. While the harmonies are surprisingly strong, and Tetrack’s songwriting talent is as profound as it was in 1978, it is French composer, multi-instrumentalist and dub engineer Geoffrey Mr. Haze Roberts (ROOTS VIBES) that shines brightest. His dub mix of “THAT DAY WILL COME” is truly something to behold. Boldly front-loading the mix with the wickedest, most haunting guitar skank echo I’ve ever heard, he challenges other dub reggae producers to let up on the drum ‘n bass a bit and allow the other instruments room to breathe. Also check the unreleased alternate dub mix of this track on MIDNIGHT RAVER’S DREADA DUB VOL. 7!
NUMBER TWO: DRE ISLAND “LIVE FOREVER DUB” (NATURAL HIGH MUSIC). Reggae artists will be knocking down the doors of Natural High Music, who produced two of the five tracks in my TOP 5 list. Probably my favorite production crew right now, especially with respect to dub remixes, Tallman and Binghi produced two dub tracks in 2014 that really blew my mind. Their work here on Dre Island’s “Live Forever” is as well-mixed as anything I’ve heard. Their sound is dense, but not overwhelming. Like Mr. Haze they too do not lean hard on the drum ‘n bass but they showcase the sounds of other instruments in the mix in a way that is both rare and unique. What hooked me to this dub mix is the way they bring the guitars through the mix. Instead of showcasing the guitar skank, they re-introduce the listener to the rock guitar sounds at 2:52. Nobody else in the game sounds this good.
NUMBER THREE: DEXTA MALAWI “WOKE UP DUB” (NATURAL HIGH MUSIC). Another top rankin’ dub remix from NATURAL HIGH, who were introduced to DEXTA MALAWI’S single “WOKE UP THIS MORNING” on MIDNIGHT RAVER. If I’m not mistaken, the track made its debut here on this site. Check the special MIDNIGHT RAVER edit they did for DREADA DUB VOL. 7:
NUMBER FOUR: As I state in my review of Kenyatta’s new album:
“Virginia’s Dub Architect mixes the track to perfection with a subtlety and restraint that is rare among dub producers. When mixing dub tracks, producers are often tempted to lean heavy on effects and put their own distinct signature on the track. In effect, most tend to take an artist’s work and make it their own. Dub Architect resists this temptation by constructing a mix that enhances and showcases Kenyatta’s brilliant performance and this is why he is one of the very best in the game.”
NUMBER FIVE: BENNY PAGE feat. ASSASSIN “CHAMPION SOUND” (SAMSON REMIX). The king of UK drum ‘n bass, BENNY PAGE is responsible for this banger which blew up over the summer. This riddim is contagious and ASSASSIN is deadly. Hard to shake it once you hear it!
As far as I know KEZNAMDI’S “GRADE DUB” (DON CORLEONE) was not officially released, however it was so good that I had to include it here. The hottest reggae producer in the game right now, Don Corleone had his hand in the global success of Protojé, Vybz Kartel, Pressure, and Jah Cure. However, it was his dub remix of Kaznamdi’s “GRADE” that really caught my ear. A die-hard fan of Mad Professor, Corleone will be a producer to tangle with.