Dub Showcase
Abassi All Stars
Universal Egg
CD / 2LP
March 31, 2007

Track list
  1. Heavy Load
  2. Favi Rock
  3. Chant Down Babylon In Dub
  4. Edutainment
  5. No Answer
  6. Vision Plant
  7. Prophecy
  8. Cross The Dub
  9. Crisis
  10. World Peace Dub
  11. Message Of Hope
  12. Dub Of Correction
  13. Cities
  14. Humble Lion
  15. Free Jah Dub
  16. Black Red Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 1
This is a dub of a vocal set released late last year.

Being honest -- the vocal set did little for this reviewer. It had more than its fair share of very cliched roots vocals, showcasing dated styles which have become so very, very tired and overdone -- vocal styles that have changed so very little in 25 years. It also included some roots DJ work, styles which again, have barely moved on since Capleton, Anthony B and Sizzla released their first albums.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand the ongoing desire in reggae to rework thoroughly tired old formulas again and again and again ad nasueam.

Yet this seems to be the norm, especially in European reggae.

It would seem obvious that an identikit, carbon copy of a Jah Shaka tune from circa 1982 simply will not be as good -- and is rather pointless, since it relies on imitation rather than the originals' sheer sense of innovation.

But that is a lesson unheeded it seems, in most contemporary reggae circles.

This Abassi dub album however -- is, thankfully, a different proposition. It eschews cliche in favour of thunderous, hammering and twisting bass textures, reminiscent more than anything of PIL's "Metal Box." (One wonders whether Perch et al grew up listening to the fluid bass lines of tunes like PIL's "Careering.")

Searing, lashing high tones, 1960's Verve label style jazz horns arrangements and thoughtful samples lift this album out of the cliche zone, and into something much more interesting. The production values are thoughtful, clean, bright and heavy, with harsh peaks and gut wrenching lows.

It's fun to have vocal samples from David Icke too, (love him, mock him,laugh at him or despise him), rather than the usual array of splintered vocal drifts we typically get on Euro dub albums. In "Vision Plant", Icke discourses on the dangers of passive television viewing, and explains his view that sound itself acts like a solid physical entity.

My only complaint is the eternally forgettable song titles -- given that this album lifts itself above the stagnant by its inspiration and thunderous engineering values -- do we really need titles like "Chant Down Babylon", "World Peace" and "Humble Lion"? Just what could possibly be the point?

Besides that minor complaint, this is a worthy album, leaving behind their contemporary euro roots competition mired in the dullest stereotype as that genre so often (sadly) is.

Watch out too, for a commendable new set of singles on the Universal Egg label which feature some huge bass overload and contemplative vocal sides.