Dub One
Area X
Small Axe People
February 16, 2008

Track list
  1. Button Dub
  2. Connection Dub
  3. Cookie Dub
  4. Deh Dub
  5. Disassociation Dub
  6. Hail Dub
  7. Hiro Dub
  8. Reason Dub
  9. Rockfort Dub
  10. Safe Dub
  11. Tinhead Dub
  12. Waterhouse Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Lead Instruments : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
After the reviews in 2001 of the first Small Axe People album "Original Version" and one of its successors, the 2003 release "Once Upon A Version" by Teacher & Mr.T and mine of 2004 release "Portion Of Version" and in 2005 of the first 'vocal' album, a joint effort with legendary Studio One and Treasure Isle veteran DJ Dennis Alcapone "Just Version" and one year later in June 2006 of "V Is For Version", followed by last year's "The Wildest Version", this Area X album "Dub One" is, together with its instrumental companion by The Small Axe People "Generation Version" the latest release by The Small Axe People, the brainchild of the very amicable long time reggae and dub (and yes, even dancehall) aficionado Ray Hurford, editor, owner and writer of 'Small Axe', the reggaezine that has become an institution over the years, first on paper and later on the internet.

As pointed out in the earlier mentioned reviews of "Original Version", "Once Upon A Version", "Portion Of Version" and "The Wildest Version", the whole concept, around which this now acclaimed series of version albums has been built, is based on the "Pop A Top" version Andy Capp a.k.a. Lynford Anderson cut of Derrick Morgan's recut of "Fat Man". And then not taken to just versioning a riddim, but to versioning the version again, and again again. With the minimal changes in instrumentation over the whole of those albums, all in all 12 tracks, the concept seems to owe as much to minimal music pioneers like Philip Glass et alibus, and probably is closer to reggae music yet just as minimalistic and 'obsessed' by repetition, the techno-dub of Rhythm & Sound, the sound covered on this site in depth in the 'Jamaican hallucinations in stripped-down slowmotion'-article. It's clear where the inspiration is coming from, but it's always styled as a tribute, never as an epigone. Area X' sophomore album "The Wildest Dub" is scheduled for release later this year.

This album opens with "Button Dub", a tune immediately showing why "Dub One" by Area X is an album I wholeheartedly recommend and do prefer over The Small Axe People's "Generation Version", as on "Button" from that album, despite its marching drum riddim suddenly appearing in the mix, there was too much focus on the melody and not enough on the riddim in my opinion, something that has completely been repaired in this mix, but not only applying to those tunes with flaws, also better tunes like "Connection" from "Generation Version" are much more impressive in their dub incarnations e.g. "Connection Dub" and even the soulful "Cookie Dub" is benefiting from the dub approach of the versions. Even a strong tune like "Deh" only improves into "Deh Dub" and "Disassocation Dub" gets a more mystic but also pulsating vibe in its also by the melodica melody dominated remix and eventually the 'corruption' of the piano chords from one of the strongest instrumental versions does not damage the impact of the dub version "Hiro Dub".

"Reason Dub" especially sounds so much more in balance, that listening to "Reason" from "Generation Version" and this dub will make you exactly clear what I find here in the dub and miss in the plain instrumental, a feeling that still applies to impressive instrumental versions like the ones now dubbed up into "Rockfort Dub", "Safe Dub" and "Tinhead Dub". Even the freakiest version, in a freaky dub mix "Waterhouse Dub" on this album gains from the dub reworking, resulting in a very enjoyable dub-version album, that must be heard (and praised) once more by all Wackies, Rhythm & Sound, Augustus Pablo and Lee 'Scratch' Perry aficionados, but also by anyone having a faint interest in real stripped down to the bone dub (reggae). To hear it, visit The Small Axe People, to buy it, visit Small Axe People Paypal.