Various Artists

Macro Dub Infection, Vol. 1

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Dub is not just for reggaeheads anymore, as numerous recent compilations of club-oriented dub tracks can attest. Dub is also no longer just a variation on a theme. Whereas the dub remix used to serve primarily as a source of cheap B-sides for economy-minded producers of reggae singles, it has evolved into a musical entity all its own now; most of the dub produced today exists on its own to serve the club-hopping masses. People the world over are waving their hands and shaking their hips as guitars, keyboards and vocals drift in and out of the echoing, spacy mix and the drum and bass anchor everything in that loping, rolling reggae groove.

Macro Dub Infection, a two-disc set promisingly subtitled "Volume 1," is a good example of the variety of music being produced under the "dub" rubric. Not every track is reggae, but each is informed by the spacy, mystical ambience of dub, and most feature reggae's trademark deep, snaky basslines -- not to mention the vocals appearing out of nowhere before spinning off into space and the drums sneaking up and pounding you about the head and shoulders before disappearing again. These artists are mostly British, though Americans will recognize names like Tricky and the Golden Palominos. The weird skull artwork on the cover is a tipoff to the dark, eerie mood that permeates this album -- note in particular Two Badcard's creepy spoken-word track and the lovely "Operation Mind Control" by the charmingly named Skull vs. Ice. Lighter moments include the jungle-flavored "Double Edge Dub" and a lighthearted Mad Professor track called "Ragga Doll." This set rewards repeated listening and is highly recommended.

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