The Below the Radar: Best of Wordsound Dub

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For dub fiends, beat freaks, and lovers of all manner of dark ambience, Brooklyn's Wordsound label has a sort of talismanic significance. Poorly distributed and hard to find, Wordsound's albums, singles, and dub plates are snapped up quickly when they show up in independent record stores. This collection brings together a nicely representative sampling of the catalog, all of it united under the rubric of dub, but relatively little of it drawing primarily on reggae sources -- while Dubadelic's "Operation Duppy Conqueror 2001" rolls slowly under a one-drop groove and "Forward Roots" by Roots Control makes use of spoken word Rasta samples and a glutinous rockers beat, many of the other tracks are dub-wise in flavor only. Slotek's "Born God" is a sort of Brooklyn musique concrète, while spectre's "Revelations" uses an explicitly reggae-derived bassline to buttress a strangely abstract conglomeration of drum-machine beats and creepily altered vocals. When bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Style Scott lock in on the very dread "Crooklyn Dub Syndicate" (an apparent tribute to Laswell's home town and Scott's regular band), the effect is almost soothing. Highly recommended.

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