Mackadub - A New Age of Dub
TitleA New Age of Dub
Release dateJuly 04
A few months ago, we featured the earlier releases from Mackadub, a selection of heartfelt , strictly uncommercial digital roots tunes. This album follows closely in the footsteps of that album, featuring a selection of no compromise spiritual steppers tunes, the bass pressure cranked up to the max.
Mackadub is a man who has his roots in cutting hard tunes for the likes of Jah Shaka, Twinkle Bros, Mad Professor and Macka B to name but a few, so nobody is going to question this man's credentials. Clearly, this man knows what he is doing, and the structures on this album show depth and a wise insight into the heart of sound system music.
There is a range of mood here, but the majority is blistering steppers tunes, the stand out track being the thunderous bass of "Synchronisitc" which would sound awesome played through Iration Steppas or Shaka's system. Also a stand out track, is the more thoughtful and meditational structure of "Mackadub Plate" which sounds similar to Dub Judah's "Twilights of Wisdom". In other words, it's heavy and aggressive but equally so , it's an introspective composition, pointing to a reflective state of mind and contemplation. A strange array of animal like tones weave through the structure.
"Dub A Satta" (not THE Satta rhythm we all know, please note) is a deeply surreal affair: twisting bass frequency and sirens whip up a mood of darkness, as the snares beat out the inner meaning of the composition. Radio tones howl, pitch and wail as the track progresses, feeding back into distortion. Pure soundtrack atmospherics going on here,and Mackadub is clearly striving to avoid cliche and banal, stale convention. (Mackadub has also released a vocal cut to this track entitled "Someone has Got to Break the Chain", the lyric of which centred around the urgency of breaking the causal chain of ignorance and violence.)
"Iration Dub" is pure UK dub, wintry and cold, with sombre and pounding snares, giving a sense of pure discipline to the icy washes of keyboard. "Dub Plate Style" kicks off with a sound like Dennis Walks "Drifter" but soon twists its shape inside out into something far richer and stranger, belying its own conventions. Backward spun guitar pierces the centre of the structure, as the snares echo. "Raw Dub" features a resentful bass and screaming radio frequencies, evoking ghosts of Holger Czukay and Jon Hassell, as the snare breaks down into a shuffling scat style.
More power to the man Mackadub: He deserves respect for going it alone, and with these releases, he is dealing with all the production, instrumentation and engineering himself, aswell as distribution. He has done a fine job. This is powerful and thoughtful music, worthy of reaching a wide audience. Now if only Mackadub would do something about the sleeve art, which is more or less non-existent, and certainly doesn't do justice to the inventiveness of the music within. Those of you who love your sound system vibrations deep, spiritual, and sombre are going to love this, but it will also appeal to those of you seeking left field innovation, veering as it does into cold Czukay and Hassell territory at points, with its eerie and lonely landslide effects, distorted vocal effects, and piercing, spiralling radio frequencies. This is a heavy, serious record. Just ignore the sleeve art.
Reviewed by Greg Whitfield