Patterns Of War
Dr Israel
November 24, 2005

Track list
  1. Counting Out Stones
  2. Tetze (Get Out)
  3. Cover Me with Lady K
  4. Sinsemilla
  5. Interference with Systemwide
  6. Stay With Me with Lady K
  7. Dread Inna Babylon
  8. One
  9. Patterns of War
  10. Counting Out Dubs
  11. Occupation Dub
  12. Dub Wit' Me
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 1
This is harsh, aggressive inner city music, fusing dub strategies cut and spliced with junglist, ambient and jazz influences with edges of late 70's punk passions -- the talented vocalist Lady K sounds like a young Betty Carter -- And that is high compliment.

The nervous and pensive "Cover Me" with Lady K on the vocals, sounds like Mad Professor/Massive Attack's "No Protection" -- if Sade made a focussed dub record, it might sound like this. This is beautiful work, and why hasn't Lady K been more highly praised thus far? Imagine Betty Carter's "Open The Door" reworked dubwise -- and you can imagine what Lady K is aspiring to.

It is also a pleasure to see Ezra Ereckson's Systemwide back in action -- we havenít heard from them since the intriguing BSI label went bust about 3 years ago. BSI featured a number of artists who were more than willing to take wild chances with the parameters of reggae -- It didn't always work -- but it was always fascinating listening to their diverse experiments, and far, far more interesting than listening to yet another Shaka , Xterminator or Tubby's rip off. The Systemwide track "Interference" included here is aggressive, emotional, compelling -- edgy and fiery music -- which is a pretty rare thing nowadays.

"Stay With Me" is more Betty Carter inspired roots jazz music from Lady K. "Dread Inna Babylon" finds Dr. Israel spitting out some more punk - dub wise force and energy.

On the downside, the track "One" is pretty weak, and doesn't stand up to the overwhelming power and energy of the rest of the album. "Patterns Of War" also sounds a little forced, and whilst the dubs tagged on the end of the album are well played and beautifully engineered -- they don't say much we haven't heard countless times before.

However, the high points of the album are so spontaneous and enjoyable it's easy to overlook these minimal weak points. It's an idealistic album, distinguished by its sense of discovery and energy -- and importantly -- its willingness to take chances and its laudable aspiration to step away from the formulaic.