Jezzreel: Great Jah Jah

Love Trio In Dub featuring U-Roy: Love Trio In Dub featuring U-Roy

Rhythm & Sound: See Mi Yah Remixes
Burial Mix

Ably assisted by remixers like Carl Craig, Ricardo Villalobos, and Vladislav Delay, Berlin-based producers and Rhythm & Sound heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald reconfigure the 2005 'One-Riddim' album See Mi Yah for the club. Some treatments radically deviate from the laid-back reggae vibe of the originals: Francois K.'s “Lightning Storm” has more in common with frenetic drum & bass than dub, Carl Craig turns “Poor People Must Work” into a charging clubber (Rhythm & Sound purists might question Craig's cuisinart treatments of Bobbo Shanti's vocal), Villalobos performs bio-surgery on an almost 11-minute “Let We Go,” and Vladislav Delay's surprisingly direct “Truly” becomes snappy, bass-driven funk. The changes are sometimes disconcerting: one struggles to reconcile the laid-back delivery of Paul St. Hilaire with the uptempo dance strut Soundstream adds to “Free For All,” for example. Not surprisingly, the most successful versions come from the Basic Channel-Chain Reaction camp, with Vainqueur and Hallucinator hypnotically extending the originals into even more spacious galaxies. In the former's “Rise and Praise,” Koki's echoing voice swims within an immense sea of reverb and texture while Rhythm & Sound's equally lovely 'Basic Reshape' of “See Mi Version” drapes dubby rattles across a gently cruising rhythm and purring bass line. The collection is worth hearing not only for the contrasting approaches but even more for the re-appearance of Chain Reaction personnel.

Donning the name Jezzreel (the Biblical city where it's believed God cursed Ahab for his greed), singing duo and Sugar Minott session vets Clive Davis and Christopher Harvey add their laid-back croon to six 1980 cuts on this latest Wackie's re-release. Lyrical content hews to reggae tradition (paying homage in “Great Jah Jah,” longing for liberation in “Roman Soldiers,” lamenting poverty in “Living In The Ghetto”) and the pair's solo turns and harmonies impress well enough on Lovers Rock material like “Love Of My Life” but it's the album's dub dimension that stands out most. Jah Scotty's New Breed (aka the Reckless Breed) provides delicious backing throughout, especially during the songs' codas when the already sparse arrangements (by Lloyd Barnes aka Bullwackie and Douglas Levy aka Jah Hamma and Prince Douglas) reduce further to skeletal bass and drums grooves. Though “Sun Will Shine” is eight minutes long, its second half is a glorious dub workout.

Legendary dub toaster U-Roy is all over Love Trio In Dub's self-titled album, so much so it's easy to underappreciate the rock steady playing of Ilhan Ersahin (tenor sax and keyboards), Jesse Murphy (bass), and Kenny Wollesen (drums). The album includes a healthy share of Lovers Rock (“Rock The Rhythm”) and reggae skank (“Shug Shimme and Shake”) but the trio's music also strays stylistically beyond dub, with a pronounced electronic dimension giving the music a bold, explorative aura. Having served a nine-year apprenticeship at NY's Sweet Basil, it doesn't surprise, for instance, that Ersahin's sax playing invests digi-dub tracks like “Hard Livin'” and “Goth Dub” with jazz flavour. Elsewhere, Turkish echoes lend the driving “Flight in Dub” an exotic feel which DJ Cil exchanges for aerodynamic sweep in a clubby if overly-busy 'Organic Mix.' A major album highlight is Deadbeat's 'Knockout' remix of “Lovers Rock” which perpetuates the deeply textured and propulsive spirit of Scott Monteith's ~scape work.

August 2006