Crooklyn Dub Outernational

Certified Dope, Vol. 4: Babylon's Burning

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There are some big players in dub on this compilation, names like Bill Laswell, HiM, Zion Train, and Twilight Circus. And there's plenty of mind-messing music -- exactly what you'd expect from these people. It's meant to transport you. How much it owes to original Jamaican dub varies -- "Ph Neutre" from Brain Damage Meets Lab, for example, takes the techniques but largely sets them outside any Jamaican style, but Zion Train keeps an off-the-beat rhythm intact, although updated. One of reggae's icons, drummer Sly Dunbar, provides multi-level rhythms on Laswell's "Finite State Machine Dub," as fine a piece of dub as Laswell's ever done. HiM's "Disco Lips" is more abstract than dub, while the contribution from Twilight Circus offers a heavy dose of squelchy Roland 303 funk. Prince Charming veers off into the Middle East for "A Touch of Romance," letting the Maghreb meet reggae rhythms, and Spectre uses an oud on "Al Qaida (The Bass)," a dark excursion into the shadows. All in all, it's a good summation of the state of global dub today from a label that stays permanently on the edge.

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