Compilations / Mixes
Disciples: 2 X 12”
The ZamZam train rolls merrily along, though in this case it's the label's long-format sister-label Khaliphonic that's at the controls. Issued in a 700-copy run and in vinyl format only, the prosaically titled thirty-seven-minute release sees eight tracks—more precisely, two versions of four previously unreleased Disciples tracks from 1999—spread across two twelve-inch discs.
Disciples is the name Jah Shaka (aka Zulu Warrior) bestowed upon Russ D (Russel Bell-Brown) and his brother in 1986 when the two began supplying him with exclusive tunes. The siblings subsequently formed their own sound system, Boom Shacka Lacka (BSL), whose 1996 termination prompted Russel to establish himself as a solo DJ and “UK dub” producer. The Khaliphonic set, which presents four 1999 originals accompanied by alternate dub versions, sees Russel exploring the sound potential of a newly acquired Waldorf 4 Pole Filter and drawing for influence from Rhythm & Sound and Tikiman material.
Sounding as fresh as the day it was born, the Disciples tunes smolder with punchy horn phrases, keyboard stabs, and crisp, funky grooves (none funkier than the hard-hitting “Kabbad 1”). Though both sets of tracks are drenched in echo and atmosphere, it's the stripped down dub versions that feel freer, as if Russ D regarded them as opportunities for bolder experimentation. On a representative cut such as “Liberation 2,” the groove powers forth with militant determination, a pumping bass line clearing the way and chords splintering off in all directions. “Tanassa 3” struts with even greater intent, with in this case synth and guitar textures also surfacing within the sultry mix. Adding significantly to the appeal of the Disciples tracks, Russel's arrangements are packed but not overloaded with detail, and the spacious production bolsters the impact of the material's deep dub style.