Mad Professor

Afrocentric Dub: Black Liberation Dub, Chapter 5

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"This album is for all peoples of all colors who are working for a positive image of black people," announces the voice at the beginning of "Pressure Zone Dub." Finishing the Dub Me Crazy series with Dub Maniacs on the Rampage in 1993, the Mad Professor launched his Black Liberation imprint the following year. On albums like Afrocentric Dub, the producer can be credited with expanding the sonic palette of his genre, while maintaining its fundamental structures and feeling at the same time. A more difficult task than it may seem, especially when you try mixing roots reggae with heavily synthesized studio elements. Afrocentric Dub is more than successful, finding the Mad Professor deeply immersed in the music's traditions. The album's aural textures sound truly inspired as drums are reduced to crumbling structures, horns turn to ghosts, and basslines morph into dirty electronic melodies, only to be brought back to life in their original incarnations. Elements change shape so often that it becomes difficult to distill the essence of any single track. There are numerous highlights however. "Afrocentric Dub" itself emerges in three different forms. "Version 2" heavily reshapes the song's slow, stuttering march rhythm, converting it into electronic pitter-patter. The rhythms for songs like "Confa Dance" and "Digital Delight" (one of the best electronic reggae tunes the Mad Professor has created) convey an infectiousness that seemed lost by the end of the Dub Me Crazy series. The album only loses its momentum at the finish line. "Studio 54 Dub," which incorporates a cover of Blondie's "Rapture," feels out of place. While the light melodies of "Motor Town Dub" do little to restore the balance, these are two exceptions on an album of top-notch dub.

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