Mystical Steppa – Dub Vibrations

dubvibsIt’s been too long since I put some dub on here (sheesh, nearly a year) 😮

So I’ve got the week off work, which means my kiddies are staying with me, which means I have to be more within the real world than when they’re not staying with me. Their preferred methods of entertainment are, sadly, youtube gamer related, but when they turn these things off and play with actual toys,  I choose to fill the interludes with educational sound seeds. Hopefully they’ll seep in to their unconcscious minds and spring forth in later life.

Dub is one such seed. Your mileage may vary, and my children’s certainly does, but a groove is a groove, and these are some fine grooves. Like all dub, there is a high emphasis on consciousness – you’ll find it in the spaces. And like all dub, there isn’t a lot of description that I can give that wouldn’t be better experienced by actually listening to the thing.

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Wovenhand – Blush Music

.blushmusicWe interrupt this trip around the music I’d like to buy with a nod to a great album from 2003. Apparently, this was music that David Eugene Edwards wrote for Ultima Vez, a Belgian dance company, which may have something to do with having a less overtly religious theme than his usual fare.

It is also more laid back than the usual Wovenhand approach to things, which has been increasingly heavy in its southern gothic approach to americana. Check out the 14 minute version of Ain’t no Sunshine. There are occasional moments of upping the volume, though, and the contrast increases their power, a good example being Your Russia (without hands).

His previous outfit were 16 Horsepower, who made the absolutely wonderful Sackcloth & Ashes, a proper hoedown of an album with quite a preaching from the pulpit feel to the lyrics, all apocalyptic imagery and burn-in-hell admonishments. Despite that, I fackin love that album; the songwriting is astonishingly brilliant all the way through, and the arrangements are top notch.

 

Mixpost 2: dub-bergs

I mentioned in passing the idea of doing a dub mix post, which is a silly idea.

Most truth started life as an outrageous claim. The outrageous claim for this tune is that it is the first ever dub 45. Maybe it is?

Which Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry song to choose?

Fuck it, I’ll cheat and give him a sort of second appearance:

Those of you who have the compilation mindset (if you have, you know what that means; if you don’t know what that means, you haven’t) will have your own versions of this – a song that may not necessarily ever reach an all time top-50 if forced to name one at gun-point, but nevertheless is always in contention for your next mixtape. This one was one of those for about 10 years for me, from the compilation album that did so much to get me into dub, Crooklyn Dub Consortium vol II:

Another one from the Certified Dope vol II album. This samples a King Tubby tune called Dub Fever:

I do believe I may have mentioned this song before:

I could go on for ages, but my PC is old and laggy and I’m really killing it now. I’ll therefore finish with a bit of French electroclash, from the 2005 compilation French Dub system 2.0:

Fuck it, here’s one more… the rather good Alpha & Omega:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dub Foundation – March Forth

dfmfI likes me some dub. Because I don’t know why, I haven’t listened to much over the last few years. I used to listen to it really quite often. Many of my favourite ever tracks come under this banner. (hmmmmm considers dub mixpost)

Dub Foundation are a 10 piece live dub band based in Wisconsin. They make some really groovy dub tunes that are quite feel-good in their style even if they are singing about the crises of youth. Music like this is the reason that descriptors such as ‘crucial,’ ‘irie,’ and ‘righteous’ started getting applied to music, or at least, that is my understanding of music history. And also they remind me ever so slightly of ex-punker Burning Babylon.

the bandcamp is here: https://dubfoundation.bandcamp.com/album/march-forth

the album is on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHLzak7J068

 

Villagers of Ioannina City

They also seem to shorten themselves to VIC quite regularly.

This was a band I came about completely by accident. I think I was trying to find any recent stuff by The Heads, and maybe a soulseek user had this in a silly folder, which confused me into thinking that indeed there was new stuff by The Heads called Riza. Mistakes like this can happen more often. It also synched somewhat with my love of Narcosatanicos and their brass/punk/psych mashup, which I got into around the same time.

Musically, they play a fairly straightforward heavy psychrock/slightly postrock feel with an exceptional feature – the use of the clarinet. It adds such an extra dimension. Given that the majority of their words are also sung in their native Greek (I assume so, anyway – I don’t speak Greek!), this adds up to a kind of mystic quality to the music, from the perspective of a mono-linguistic, culturally ignorant Englishman.

I’ve really got into listening to music sung in different languages over the last few years, and I think I love it so much because I can just listen to the sound of the vocals as they interact with the music, without getting hung up on meanings per se. Also, I believe that artists will always express themselves most naturally if they do so in idioms that they are most comfortable with.

As with all the great music I have discovered via Soulseek, I since found a way of paying them for it, as they have a bandcamp page and use my favourite payment model (pay what you like).

They’ve also very recently put out a two-track release which seems to emphasise the folky/traditional aspect a bit more, though it is still heavy. I’ve only played it once so far, but my initial impression is that this band is really on to something. I think more people should know about them.

Big Blood

Now, you may have to stay with me on this one.

When I die, as I realise I must, and go to heaven, as I know I will,* I will be hearing ‘A Watery Down Part II‘ on the escalators upwards, and probably constantly afterwards.

Unlikely Mothers‘ is flat out the best (as in, my favourite) album of 2014. I love it so much that I even bought the double vinyl LP despite having no means to play such an item (I’m giving it to my friend who does – his initial reaction to it was, shall we say, less enthusiastic, but he’s beginning to enjoy them now. Hence my opening caveat).

Big Blood create an eerie, unique sound, which perfectly matches the vocal styles created within. They find a groove, and they stick with it, except for the occasional instance when the song demands it. In some ways the music is quite ethereal, but it is more often ecstatic.  There’s an angels-getting-their-hands-dirty feel about this album. They are also quite clearly having a ball.

It is not just ‘Unlikely Mothers’ which so unrelentingly floats my boat. Check out their page on the Free Music Archive – I particularly draw your attention to the album ‘Dark Country Music.’

http://freemusicarchive.org/swf/playlistplayer.swf

On this 11-track album, there are 5 utter classics. Let me tell you, I’m very fussy about naming a song an utter classic. For an album to have 2 is rare enough, 3 is proper unusual – but 5?!?!

I’ll also point you to ‘Old Time Primitives‘ too, as there are some stunning songs on there too.

The two albums mentioned above are much more country, more ‘New Weird America’ (remember that?). The songs are generally shorter, but still with the same ecstatic vocals, although I have to single out ‘Coming Home Pt III‘ off Dark Country Magic as possibly the most heartbreaking vocal performance I’ve ever heard. Utterly transcendent.

Colleen Kinsella sings like an angel, pure and simple – not one of those sanitised, Aled Jones singing the snowman type (that’s not the work of angels – maybe cherubim. I don’t know, my theological taxonomy is non-existent) but an angel that has lived. Raw, passionate, at times absolutely deranged, at others transcendentally beautiful. In possession of the full realisation of the fact that in order to understand what you’re singing about, you have to live it first, and live it truly. If you want a reference point, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush trying to outcompete each other, but effortlessly. Caleb Mulkerin has a decent style too, although equally far from the conventional.  It is fair to say, though, that to some ears, the vocals will be a dealbreaker.

In fact, as has been demonstrated above, this band is so good they make me write like a fool.

They have an etsy page where they sell some stuff, and also stuff by other people in their scene.

*I inserted that phrase specifically for the benefit of my friend for whom I’m buying the album, because I know he will appreciate it :0