Disciples: Freedom Fighter / Dub Fighter

This new release from Disciples (UK dub producer and Backyard Studio manager Russel Bell-Brown, aka Russ D) might have all of the earmarks of classic UK dub but that in no way argues against it. Its A-side “Freedom Fighter” is a high-spirited militant steppers' instrumental that goes down easy indeed, especially when it's got declamatory melodica melodies and a Sly'n'Robbie-styled skank leading the charge. The flip's “Dub Fighter” de-emphasizes the melodica to give other elements—burbling syndrum accents, ricocheting percussion accents, piano, organ, and guitar—time in the spotlight, while also slathering the material with generous doses of echo and reverb. A single listen makes it clear that Bell-Brown brings to his own seven-inch the same degree of care he brought to his mix of ZamZam's fifth release, Jah Warrior's “African King.” If there's anything to grumble over, it's that the single's over in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it eight minutes. That said, it's easy to be won over by the material—and get it while you can, ‘cos its 500 vinyl copies won't last long.

July 2013