Spotlight 10
Ten Favourite Labels 2013

52 Commercial Road
Chantal Acda
David Åhlén
Daniel Bortz
Peter Broderick
Brass Mask
bvdub / bvdub & loscil
Dale Cooper Quartet
Jack Dangers
The Foreign Exchange
Nils Frahm
Bjarni Gunnarsson
Robert Haigh
Marihiko Hara & Polar M
John Heckle
Arve Henriksen
Joy Wellboy
Kaboom Karavan
Land of Kush
Jessy Lanza
Last Days
L.B. Dub Corp
Lights Dim with Gallery Six
Livity Sound
Om Unit
Ø [Phase]
Matana Roberts
Sakamoto + Deupree
Secret Pyramid
Quentin Sirjacq
Special Request
Stratosphere & Serries
Ricardo Tobar
Tom Trago

Compilations / Mixes
In The Dark
Mathias Kaden

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Anile / Lm1 & Kharm
Gerwin & Nuage ft. 2Shy
Jon McMillion

Seaman and Tattered Sail

L.B. Dub Corp: Unknown Origin
Ostgut Ton

Don't be thrown by the moniker selected by Luke Slater for his L.B. Dub Corp debut album, as Unknown Origin isn't pure dub of the rootsy kind associated with genre originators like King Tubby and Lee Perry. The ten-track collection clearly does draw upon the past—dance music history, to be exact—but not in some lame retrograde manner; instead, Slater uses the past as an inspirational springboard for new explorations that build upon house and techno, and reference Africa as much as (if not more than) they do Jamaica. A case in point, the opening cut “Take a Ride” has more in common with house music than dub, even if the frazzled cut-ups of Benjamin Zephaniah's voice give the swinging cut a punchy, funked-up quality that suggests some connection to current UK music-making. In short, Unknown Origin is no mere exercise in nostalgia but an invigorated set brought to us by the ever-consistent Ostgut Ton.

It's a high-spirited set of celebratory and hard-grooving tracks that downplay melancholy and introspection. The disc isn't without its dub moments, as “L.B.'s Dub” shows in its raw groovesmithing, bass pulsations, and echo effects, but more often than not it ventures further. “Nearly Africa,” for instance, pushes boldly beyond its infectious Afrobeat pulse and jubilant chants until jazz and house both become part of the polystylistic mix. In another marvel of construction, Kraftwerk-styled synth phrases imbue the locomotive groove of “Ever and Forever” with a glossy sheen, while the piano motif accounts for the tune's house feel. In addition, glistening organ chords sweep across the swirling vistas of “No Trouble in Paradise,” while Function climbs aboard at disc's end to help Slater administer the lazer-focused techno of “Roller,” almost as if to remind the listener that Unknown Origin is, let's not forget, an Ostgut Ton release.

To be fair, the album isn't perfect: “Generation to Generation,” for example, hardly needs a distracting voiceover to make its case when its sizzling jazz-house groove is already tasty enough. Having said that, the missteps are few and far between on this largely solid outing from Slater.

November 2013