Sunday, 13 September 2015

Desert Dwellers 'The Great Mystery Remixes Part One' Review


The Desert Dwellers


The Great Mystery

Remixes Pt. 1


Desert Trax


21st September

Earlier this year the Desert Dwellers released 'The Great Mystery' which they consider to be their most diverse to date. To celebrate they embarked on a re-mix project of established and up-and-coming artists from across the globe with the intention of being just as diverse. The second part will be released in late October with contributions from Emancipator, Whitebear, Sixis, Mystral, Supersillyus, Halfred, Master Minded and many others.

Moving back to the release in question they begin with Liquid Stranger a producer whose releases are just as diverse, but whether he's focusing on dub-step, reggae or chill you can be sure there's plenty of low frequency bass. His take on 'Wings of Waves' is light and summery with flutes and chimes and subtle yet effective use of speaker shattering bass. Following on from the enticing opener is Gaudi's take on 'Our Dream World' where he's clearly put his knowledge of vintage synthesizers and gadgets to get this ethnic dub chugging along nicely. If you're not suitably impressed by the re-mix talent employed so far they're not slipping with Kaminanda joining the throng and taking on 'View of Laniakea' which he's kept down-tempo and melodic utilising the chorus and strings at times some of the fx tease and fool you it's going to go mental and then he pulls back at the last second.

At this point I'm guessing the album moves to the up-and-coming (well at least for me as it's an artist I'm unaware of) with the Tribone Re-Stomp of the title track. It's an interesting style slightly harsher than it's predecessors with an electro feel to the bass line, plenty of psychedelic twists before the atmospheric breakdown where the emphasis is placed on manipulating the Arabic vocals and strings while the final section pulls it altogether. I'm not overly familiar with Twin Shape either and their Lost Tribe re-work of 'The Sacrament' fuses spacey synths and harmonic voices with psy-bass and synthetic dialogue. Following on Acid Crunk pioneer An-Ten-Nae offers an alternative take of 'View of Lanaikea' where he masterfully manipulates the vocals and strings over intermittent choppy breaks.

Once again we move into the up-and-coming territory with AtYya's take on 'Birds Over Sand Dunes' slower and more minimal than the original echoing the vocal samples with a series of looped sequences and gated vocals sections which are pleasant in places but it didn't grip me overall. Land Switcher move back to the realms of psy-bass with their take on 'I Dropped It' with plenty of rapid loop sequences and drum rolls over the dubby main body they still manage to keep an overall down-tempo feel to the piece. While Drumspyder keeps us firmly placed in the east with his trademark doumbek infused alternative to 'Our Dream World' although much lighter than Gaudi's in places it still chugs along nicely in the appropriate sections.

Govinda deliver what I would describe as a minimal psy-bass take on 'Crossing Beyond' and once again maintain the eastern feel of the piece throughout. Finally, we're back were we started with the Hibernation alternative to 'Wings of Waves' a light and harmonious rug thrown over a slow and bass-heavy floor.

Reviewed by Woodzee.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Project Mix 'Drift' Review


The Projector Mix




Dubmission Records


18th September

The Projector Mix was Mike Hodgson's alias before he teamed up with Paddy Free and their releases were no longer contained to their native New Zealand but gained worldwide notoriety in the dub scene as Pitch Black. This retrospective release covers material that Mike composed, collaborated and re-mixed between the years of 1990 and 1996.

The album opens with 'Marshall Law Dub' the first of two collaborations with Hallelujah Picassos. The track begins in a manner not too dissimilar to Depth Charge's releases of the time, with samples that sound like they've been pulled straight out of Kung Fu and Blaxploitation flicks soon accompanied by the anticipated traditional dub reggae sounds and vox. The second ' Principal Dub' drops the gunfire and sirens and replaces them with a more soulful vocal stab, that aside it continues in the traditional dub reggae vein closer to King Tubby than the more electronic dub of Pitch Black.

The album moves away from the collaborations at this point with a trio of re-mixes. First up is Mike's take on 'Began Dub' by Nemesis Dub Systems which sounds like a chopped up industrial post-punk track slowed down and given the dub treatment in an almost Andrew Weatherall like fashion. Next is his re-mix of 'Orbital Dub' by another New Zealand act that's more than likely caught your attention Salmonella Dub. Where the under-laying atmospheric synths behind the dubbed out guitar, keys and sax show a sprinkling of a few of the Pitch Black signature sounds. This section of the release closes with the re-mix of Sound Foundation's 'Lethal Dub' a spacey Mad Professor'esque dub that's slow and minimal in places and bass heavy and distorted at others.

The rest of the release is strictly solo material beginning with 'I am a Wanderer' a bass heavy dub with rolling percussions and sequences that could arguably be categorised as dub-step before it's time. This is followed by 'Like The Angels of Dub' which layers sampled dialogue over rock guitar and hard hitting percussion. While 'Like The Angels of Light' begins as though it's a lighter flip-side guitar wise that said the percussion although more electronic is just as heavy. Next up is 'Miro Pump' which at times is slow and atmospheric with an eastern feel but there's plenty of distorted fx pumped in for good measure. The album closes with the aptly named 'The Key to Laughter' which is quite simply dubbed out laughter in various pitches before the bass and percussion is employed.

Overall I think you need to place this album in the period it was created as at times it's far more minimal than most of the multi-layerd dubs released in more recent times. However, if you're a fan of Mike's output it's an interesting insight into his early works and will probably appeal to fans of dub in general.

Reviewed by Woodzee.

Additionally, if any fans of Dubmission Records output are in London on Friday the 11th of September their head honcho Crazy Baldhead is putting on a free 4 hour DJ set at Camden's InSpiral Lounge which kicks off at 21:30.