Sly & Robbie


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Featuring basic tracks cut for Horace Andy, Chezidek, Bunny Rugs, and Khalifa between the years 2006 and 2012, Sly & Robbie's 2014 effort Dubrising was later touched by the hands of keyboardist Dan Donovan from Big Audio Dynamite, but more importantly, these riddims were later dubbed by engineer and producer Paul "Groucho" Smykle for the first Sly, Robbie, and Groucho tracks in nearly 30 years. It's a relationship that goes back to the heyday of Black Uhuru and the great U.K. post-punk and reggae mash-ups, but no one here is hung up on being monumental, as Dubrising plays out cool and tasteful, like old friends who pick right up where they left off decades ago. Sly & Robbie's naturally grooving melodies get a bit of Donovan's space age and/or spaghetti western keyboard work, while Smykle is here to treat it all with proper echo, punch, and edits. Check the cool "Freedom Ring" for every ingredient in just the right measure, or "No Surrender" for a bumpier ride where all three parties get their turn. The closing "Double Agent" takes the brokenhearted reggae classic "Rumors" and dubs it into some masterful spy movie music with a Jamaican spin, while the mysterious and sharp "Drone Snipers" is everything its evocative title implies. Sly & Robbie's discography is huge, and since 2012, they've been adding nothing but excellence to the pile, but Dubrising deserves special attention from the dubheads, '80s heads, and the Uhuru faithful. All those spirits are rekindled here, and there's some wicked robot cover art on top of it all, just to make the set's worth undeniable.

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