Mad Professor

Adventures of a Dub Sampler: Dub Me Crazy Pt. 7

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Continuing the series he began with his 1982 debut, Mad Professor further indulges his electro-roots fixation on Adventures of a Dub Sampler: Dub Me Crazy Pt. 7. The first hurdle listeners will have to overcome is that the Mad Professor's sound, while structurally similar, is a far cry from the earthy, roots flavor of the musicians who inspired him (presumably late-'70s dub champions like King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Scientist). While it's possible to make quality dub with electronics, these tools are certainly not required. With the possible exception of his version of Massive Attack's Protection (No Protection), the Professor's best works (The African Connection, Afrocentric Dub, his Black Ark Experryments with Perry) aren't any better off for their use of more modern technology. At worst, such music can run the risk of sounding like sterile creations from the dub laboratory. Mad Professor's love of electro-tweaked voices is employed on both "Jolly Roger" ("Where is your identity?" it questions, "Who are you?") and "Ariwa the Dub Sampler." The latter lays down a fine (if busy) rhythm dominated, rather annoyingly, by the "Ariwa" vocal sample. "Cleopatra's Needle" and "Aztec Warrior" follow, reverting to a more reliable territory, while the remainder of the album is given to relaxed, smooth, late-night dub. The mixers' constant attention to detail makes returning to the work of Tubby and his ilk so rewarding. No element is left untouched for very long, to the point where the fluctuating soundscape becomes the composition as much as the underlying structure. On Adventures, however, Mad Professor is largely satisfied with riding the stripped-down, programmed beats, dappling them with skanking synthesizers and horn lines but ultimately not tending to the music as much as one would hope.

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