Quasi Dub Development: Limousine To The Guillotine
Rump Recordings

Dub isn't the first word that comes to mind when F.S. Blumm's name is mentioned. Even so, the German musician, in partnership with three like-minded compadres, does a more-than-credible job of passing himself off as a dub bassist in The Quasi Dub Development and on the outfit's maiden voyage, Limousine to the Guillotine (a sly nod to the Ascenseur pour l'échafaud [Elevator to the Gallows] soundtrack Miles Davis recorded for Louis Malles' 1958 film). Blumm and drummer-percussionist Alessandro Coronas anchor the group's rootsy sound, while trumpet-and-melodica player Luca Fadda and guest saxophonist Jason Candler provide a richly melodic and free-wheeling front-line. In keeping with the dub tradition, the group's sound is expanded upon via ample doses of echo, reverb, delay, and assorted other effects (echoplexed trumpet and the like). The prototypical album track features the trumpet and saxophone sometimes soloing but more often that not pairing up to deliver the tune's themes, while the rhythm section holds things together despite the ubiquitous careen of percussive shrapnel.

Though they're highly skilled and classically trained players, the musicians bring a loose and playful spirit to a recording (the latter clearly indicated by track titles such as “Dormitory Nozzle,” “Floating Furniture,” and “Ink Lingerie Techniques”) that offers a generous eighteen tracks, eight of them bonus for the digital version of the album and five of those eight remixes by Guido Möbius, Jason Forrest, Loopspool (Tied + Tickled Trio), Thomas Knak (aka Opiate), and Kim Hiorthøy. But while there is levity present, the musicians also bring an inarguable seriousness to the music itself, and while they clearly have respect for the genre, there's not so much that the playing becomes overly reverential or sober. Though the album apparently was stitched together from independently recorded sessions (in Berlin, New York, and Cagliari), the resultant album exudes a live and interactive feel more naturally suggestive of musicians laying down tracks live within a shared physical space.

The remixes offer dramatically different twists on the material. In contrast to The Quasi Dub Development's loose and skanky delivery, Möbius winds up “Quadubment” with a boombastic, high-energy treatment that blazes with tribal swing, Hiorthøy gives “Elastic Plastic” a funkier tribal-house overhaul, and Knak drenches “Joystick Dub Attack” with spacey atmospherics. In his “A Rudder Flu” makeover, Jason Forrest grounds the front-line's themes with a heavy, bass-thudding pulse and almost buries the track under blankets of electronic noise. To these ears, the most satisfying re-rub comes from Loopspool, who gives “Guts and Flowers 2nd Order” a tight and uptempo reading that nevertheless stays true to the music's dubby roots.

August 2011