Album review
Messenjah Dub
Messian Dread
Messian Dread
24 - 04 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Lion Dub
  2. Apocalypse Dub
  3. Wolves (Extended Dub)
  4. Jah Glory (featuring Vicious Vic)
  5. Dubbing is A Must
  6. Dub With You
  7. Experiment 1 : A Handfull Of Dub
  8. Dub Righteous
  9. Experiment 2 : Dub Blaster
  10. Rootsman Dub
  11. Experiment 3 : Dub It Till Daylight
  12. Trouble (Extended Dub)
  13. Experiment 4 : Throw Me Corn Dubwize
  14. Hardcore Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : - Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3

Dutch Messian Dread has been actively involved in the production of reggae music since early 1987, when he formed roots reggae band Messiah Calling, that later changed its name into Jah Roots. He remains a member of the band, until this day. About the same time when he formed the band, he started experimenting with dub recordings, his favorite kind of reggae. In 1997, ten years after he started to make music, Messian Dread started to publish his music world-wide through the Internet. First only in Midi Format, now also in MP3. His site The Dubroom in which he works together with Jah Roots keyboard player Sure Dread, is well- visited, serves as central point for original reggae midifiles. Today, he is still a member of Jah Roots, but the majority of his activities as a musician/producer are formed around his solo-productions.
As this cd proves he finds his inspiration in the dubmasters of the past such as Scientist, Prince Jammy, King Tubby, Paul Groucho Smykle, and Philip Smart. He creates his music in The Dubroom, with a Windows PC, a 16 Track mixing table, and several instruments and effects like a bass guitar, melodica, conga, reverb, delay, and ofcourse, his voice. His ideal is to simulate the situation of the studios in which reggae originated and to produce his music according to the same principals. To say he never experiments is another extreme, but the central point in his music remains to be the combination of his roots basslines and authentic reggae drums.
This is his third cd and we have to say we love it to the max ! This is the first album we have heard of this 'internet' artist and this guy can do some interesting dubbing. You can hear that the tracks are contemporary recordings, but the feel is strictly vintage. The spirit and the soul of the classic dub recordings is present everywhere, but he has created his own atmosphere, which gives the tracks an enhanced relaxed feeling. As an exception to our rule, we would like to include the artist's own description of the tracks, because we couldn't describe them better :

The CD starts of with Lion Dub. After a completely dubbed out intro, the bass and drums start playing together and you'll hear heavy mixing on the drums as the track evolves: not too wild but enough to wake you up every now and then. Apocalypse Dub starts of as most reggae tracks: with a drum roll. Then the "skank section" drops in and plays together with the drums. After a few bars the bass drops in and the track sounds like a reggae track just before the singer drops in, although you can already hear some mixing going on. But then a big fat echo is dropped in the skank section and the actual DUB starts. It contains many complex echo's and other effects. Just after the second half the horn section drops in for the first time, completely changing the mood and atmosphere of the track. Gradually the mixing also becomes weirder and wilder and reaches a climax. After this, tranquility comes again, and the song finds an end. Followed is Wolves, in the extended edition. The vibes of Messian Dread's backing vocals makes the track a very mystical one indeed. There is enough vocals left in the mix to let you follow the complete song lyrics, and the longness of the track guarantees that the dub sound is not lost on it. German bass player Vicious Vic has provided the bassline for track number four: Jah Glory. It has a very Conscious Roots feel over it. It starts with Nyabinghy Drums played by Messian Dread, but when the bass and drums drop in the Roots Sound gets even harder. Vocalized Sounds of Praise and extreme long echo's complete this collaboration project. Dubbing Is A Must, track number 5, is a tribute to the art of mixing Dub itself. The first measures are undubbed, then the tapes stops, rewinds and plays again, but this time in a Dub style. Dub With You contains a very hypnotic and monotone bassline that fits very nicely with the live drum play. There a lot of singing and horns play going on, dubbed to the max. The first of four experiments is called A Handful Of Dub. The mixing on these tracks was done completely by hand in the UK where Messian Dread had been invited to show some Dub techniques at a University. For these tracks a simple instrumental track was created and using a simple mixing board and one effect device, a Dub mix was created in one take. Dub Righteous has been mixed after a prayer to JAH for inspiration. Subtle echo's, spacey phased clavinets and heavy reverberated skank sections. Dub Blaster is named after the Soundblaster Soundcard. It's a typical 1980's sounding rub a dub tune which could have been taken from one of the many 7" singles released in Jamaica around that time. Next follows the most phased out space dub on this album. It has a mystical atmosphere and contains many subtle sounds in the background you will probably hear after you've listened to the track many times. All four experiments on MESSENJAH DUB last around three minutes. Dub Till Daylight is the most energetic mix of them all. The riddim used to create this Dub is again in the Rub A Dub (early 1980's dancehall) tradition. Next one: Trouble Dub, again an extended dub mix. The mix is smooth, the bass and drum mellow, but the vocals sing a conscious message for the people in distress: "no matter what the wicked them do, Jah will always coming true, no matter what the wicked them say, someone wrong but not Jah I say". Throw Mi Corn Dubwize is the last track of this CD. It's also the last of the experiment series, dubbed live in the studio of a university somewhere in the UK in 1999. Some of the keyboard playing is done by Sure Dread. His recognizable clavinet is making Experiment Number Four very melancholic as it goes through the echo machine. Last on the disc is Hardcore Dub, a very powerful instrumental track with excessive use of the reverb on a steppers drums. This one rocks hard!

The cd is not available at the usual on-line stores, but you can check out his site at The Dubroom where you can order it for only $6.99 (excl. postage).

Teacher & Mr. T.