May 11, 2007
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
"Immigration Dub" is already Dubblestandart's 10th album. To
readers of this website they might be known only for their contribution to
the first volume of "Dancehallfieber
Vol. 1" "Das Ventil", a take on Bob Andy's (Marcia's) "Fire Burning".
This Austrian dub collective, founded in 1988 by Paul Zasky, Robbie Ost,
Martin Marek and Gerhard Warnung, first started with the production of
experimental dub tapes and hard-core dub reggae live-shows with Christoph
Kaiaba aka Rootscontroller on the microphone. Each of the members having
grown up in a middle-class environment, the Dubblestandart musicians came
together between the ages of 17 and 19 and soon embodied a kind of
rebellious image within the conservative Austrian pop scene. The dub scene
in Austria was nonexistent at the time, so it was Dubblestandart doing
their thing, basing everything they did on reggae and dub: inspired by
people like the Upsetters' Black Ark sound, I-Roy, On-U-Sound, Jah Shaka,
and the rest of the reggae & dubadelics, Dubblestandart developed a
different kind of reggae - one influenced by post-new wave and psychedelic
This album "Immigration Dub", with its promo-copy marked: for promotional use only: do not eat or sell! - courtesy of Münster, Germany based reggae-shop Irie Records, my favourite address for reggae, providing an extremely reliable mail order service (from mainstream to rare ska, reggae and dancehall) and a great knowledgeable owner making it worthwile to visit the shop if you can - makes clear Dubblestandart was heavily influenced over the years by On-U-Sound and later on of course their own Vienna environment, that in the almost 20 years they are operating now, has become a center of the Austrian/German/UK 'nu-dub'/lounge/downtempo, as covered in the reviews of Rodney Hunter's "Hunter Files", Tosca's "J.A.C." and "Souvenirs" by Tosca - featuring one half of Austria's G-Stone masters Kruder & Dorfmeister, Richard Dorfmeister alongside Rupert Huber, and that of the other half of Kruder & Dorfmeister, Peter Kruder, taking the spotlight alongside Christian Prommer and Roland Appel from München, who are not only Fauna Flash but also 2/3 of Rainer Trüby's Trüby Trio, and the three of them together as VoomVoom having released their debut album "Peng Peng", as well as Richard Dorfmeister again, alongside Madrid de los Austrias for their "Grand Slam" album. And of course the excellent article Dub Revolution by Gregory Stephens, and several reviews featured on these pages of music coming from the closely to the Austrian scene linked Berlin camp around Basic Channel and especially Basic Channel's 'partner in crime' Paul St. Hilaire.
The tunes opening this album, "We All Have To Get High" featuring Devon D. (Dubblestandart's Jamaican partner Devon Denton), "This One Is About Flying" and "Tiny Place Called Earth" all carry that immediately recognizable On-U-Sound vibe, but it is (of course) present in its ultimate incarnation when Truman Chewstick vocals are accompanied by the original rockstone deejay vocals of the late and great Prince Far I sampled in the cover of Dub Syndicate's "Wadada (Means Love)" from 1990, the final result of a live session Dubblestandart had during a tour last year in Canada with On-U-Sound Little Axe, featuring On-U-Sound producer Adrian Sherwood and stalwarts Doug Wimbish, Skip McDonald, Keith Le Blanc and others from that camp. More respect is paid to original in this case Jamaican dub and reggae with the great takes on Tappa Zukie's "MPLA Dub" from 1976 and Horace Andy's great "Money" a.k.a. "Money Money" a.k.a. "Root Of All Evil", often revived by Sleepy himself as well as by others, with vocals by Gudrun and Truman Chewstick here in a wonderful reworking, before Ken Boothe himself joins Dubblestandart in a beautiful dub ballad reworking of his own 1968 Studio One classic "When I Fall In Love" with its strange but nice whistling throughout the whole tune.
"Grinning In Your Face" is a great experimental vocal dubby take on Son House's Delta spiritual "People Grinnin' In Your Face", featuring Canadian dobro player Doug Cox and his duo pal Todd Butler, female US soul singer Ruthie Foster and her vocal partner Cyd Cassone, followed by 3gga, the Nigerian dancehall-artist basedin Austria providing the scarce vocals for the album's title track "Immigration Dub" and the bass heavy dub "Dub 51" with its radionews like vocal samples. Two tunes are then getting the full dub treatment as "Immigration Dub (Extended Dub Mix" and "When I Fall In Love (Extended Dub Mix)" to stress the musicianship of the members of Dubblestandart (who often are backing artists like Lee Perry, Dillinger and Topcat as well as dub poet Lilian Allen on stage as well). Their collaboration with former Slits and New Age Steppers female singer Ari Up from their previous (double-)album "Are You Experienced" is featured here in a remix by London's 'bastard-reggae' remixer JStar and the resulting "Island Girl (JStar RMX)" is an excellent piece of work. As a bonus the Dubblestandart vs. Ari Up "Island Girl (Video)" is included to complete an album that must be bought by all On-U-Sound aficionados and modern dub, nu-dub and downtempo lovers.