Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Hold On 2 Dub
Ras Fire & Mad Professor
RUNN Records
CD / Digital Release
July 29, 2014

Track list
  1. 666 Dubpheme
  2. Dubalarm
  3. Dubsavior
  4. Dub @ The End Of The Rainbow
  5. Dub Babylon
  6. Dubmove
  7. Hold On 2 Dub
  8. Not Free (Vocal Version)
  9. Dubfree
  10. Dub With Me
  11. Dub Come Back To Me
  12. Dubtime
  13. Dubsong
  14. 666 Blaspheme (Vocal Version)
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Essential -Votes: 2-
Very Good -Votes: 1-
Good -Votes: 2-
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Total votes : 5
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
"A nuh bed of roses". So true, so relevant to the struggles of music artists and producers. Many emotions emerge when realizing a Roots Reggae messenger's background story. Gladness, sadness, hope, joy and inspiration. Well, the story of Dutch artist RAS FIRE evokes raw emotions. After a long hiatus, this true Rastaman has linked with Mad Professor for a massive collaboration "Hold On 2 Dub"; released on the highly respected RUNN Records label. An absolute example of the will to survive and persevere with Heart and the power of The Most High...

Ras Fire (Aart Timmermans) was born in The Netherlands in 1960. Alas, he has been afflicted with muscular dystrophy; a disease that lames the body's muscles with no malice. Once diagnosed, Life span is consistently short. Ras Fire has conquered those odds though he can only move his eyes and mouth. He has managed to be a serious singer/producer and releasing his debut set "Forward" (2000) to rave reviews. Laying prone, he has performed with power and conviction across Europe and at Garnett Silk's 2003 Earthday Celebration in JA. Footage of this strong personality will stir your soul indeed. His strength to survive defies description!

"Hold On 2 Dub" is a powerful Dub set with two stirring vocals. Riddims were recorded at Starfleet, part of the RUNN legacy. Musicians include Erik Ritfeld (keys), Rick Piepers (lead guitar), Bram Wouters (riddim guitar) and legendary Ariwa posse member Black Steel. Lead vox by Ras Fire with backing vox by Janna v.d Akker and Maartje Meessen were recorded at the Muziekgieterij in Maastricht, the Netherlands, by André Gielen. The mixing wizardry of Mad Professor and son Joe Ariwa was dub science at Ariwa Studio (London).

Must make mention of RUNN Records. Started in 1989 by owner Guido Delvoux, the 25 year old label developed strong links with Mad Professor (Ariwa), Courtney Cole (Roof International) and Barry O'Hare (X Rated) that allowed great releases by Panache Culture, Prezident Brown, Macka B, Devon Russell & Cultural Roots, Tanya Stephens, Daweh Congo, Prof I and countless others. What started as "Cool Runnings Music Shop" is now a thriving label indeed. Massive raspect to Teacher and Mr. T (www.reggae-vibes.com) who have long links with this label and designed the crucial graphics on this July 25 release.

This unique offering starts with 666 Dubpheme. A hauntingly beautiful riddim with tasty drums, guitar and keys and Ras Fire's Yabby You styled vocals floating nearby. Engaging and thunderable. Dubalarm is a skanking yet stark riddim given the classic Joe Ariwa treatment (he's learnt well from his father). Not too much, not too little. Dubsavior is a raver! Ras Fire's Zionesque vocals seep in and out with some lovely backing vox from Akker/Meessen. A quiet Dub storm with drum and guitar front and center. Wow! Dub @ The End Of The Rainbow is a simple but penetrating course. Great guitar and bass work with Joe Ariwa at the controls well flexible. Dub Babylon is signature Ariwa sound. Ras Fire's vocal approach is pure Dread; weary, wizened and lyrically potent. It is incredible that he can put out such depth despite his physical plight; just amazing. The soundbites are intertwined majestically on a Dub excursion for the senses. Dub Move features Black Steel on percussion and really adds dimension over a sound system ready riddim. Totally hypnotic with lilting bass and Dubbing mastery that Mr. Neil Fraser does so well. The title track is powerful work. Black Steel shines brightly and the riddim guitar doesn't give up. Ras Fire's vox floats like Zion mists...

We get a true taste of the vocal power of Ras Fire on Not Free. Lyrics like "right now the power of the non believers is ruling, true they hide, they keep fooling" and "Jah Love makes I Life worth living" is pure Heart and Soul. Incredible piece of work. Not Free Dub brings back memories of Mad Professor's "African Connection" classic a la "Kunte Kinte" fashion. Thunderous sounds with fat bass and Black Steel flowing freely. This is classic Dub music. Dance With Me Dub has a nice calypso edge and a pleasingly stark atmosphere. The ites continues with Dance With Me Dub. A Dancehall tight excursion with thumping bass and tasty rimshot and guitar chops. New Song Dub is ambience. A Dubwise shower with angelic backing vox. Would like to hear the vocal version to this one!! The set closes with 666 Blaspheme; Ras Fire's second vocal track. This is pure Dread music and evokes what's REALLY going on in this time. Repeated listening is a must. A delivery that mirrors precise meditation and observation!

Ras Fire & Mad Professor's "Hold On 2 Dub" is one of the most unique sets this year. Ras Fire's ability to compose, sing and produce these illustrious tracks is a reflection of the hand of The Almighty. To link up with two of Reggae's most forward thinkers, Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa is a winning formula. After listening to this set, you are taken to higher heights and give thanks for everything in Life. Though not a household name, picking up a copy of this masterpiece is just and a must. Highest recommendation! GO DEH!!