Mad Professor

Science & the Witchdoctor: Dub Me Crazy, Pt. 9

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Mad Professor's Dub Me Crazy series stretched to a ninth volume with Science & the Witchdoctor. Though there is a stronger vocal presence here, including snippets from Kofi, Benji Singer, and Macka-B, not a great deal has changed: their words hovering above the characteristic electro-dub pulse that defines the Professor's production style. That said, much of the material here approaches the inventiveness of the dub maestro's best work, with only occasional lapses into autopilot mode. A few numbers even manage the neat trick of using the dub mold for bizarre hybrid genres. "Bohra Seed" draws from a dizzying electronic palette that's more New Order circa 1985 than King Tubby circa 1975, yet maintains an infectious keyboard skank throughout. Though the mixing techniques employed on album-closer "H2so4" are undeniably dub, the song allies itself more closely with early hip-hop and electrified disco than reggae. More familiar territory is reserved for tracks like "Natural Fact" and "Holokoko Dub." The former is a relaxed roots number made disquieting through warped guitar and the launching of keyboard and vocal fragments upward into the dub stratosphere, while the latter emulates Augustus Pablo's trademark "Far East" sound through electronic melodica re-creations. Despite the predominance of rich arrangements, however, Science & the Witchdoctor ultimately lacks the weight dub fans will no doubt crave. While the mixing board is continually worked with precision and care, key elements are often not given the emphasis they deserve (where's the deadly bass?). While this fact hardly distracts from the quality of the music, it does hinder the album's greater potential.

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