Friday, March 17, 2006

Critical Theory - Dark Dub

Hear The Track Here

I suspect that Critical Theory (aka Rob Geal I presume) is new to Soundclick because there are only two tracks on the page, this one and D'habitude and not to many entries on the message board. Although I must admit that my heart plummetted when I saw that CT was in the Electronica: House genre but was reassured by Dark Dub's title. I am, after all, an absolute glutton for Jamaican music in all its guises but in particular dub, an area I have loved all my life. I have incorporated many of the tricks dub taught me into my own work and have made a few dub tracks in that time too. Now quite what dub has to do with Electronica:House is now the burning issue of the moment...

I will admit to being highly skeptical of these dub claims, as I've mentioned in the past. See, if there is one genre I know it's got to be this one and making good, realistic, authentic dub is very, very hard indeed. As well as the old skool dubmasters such as King Tubby, Lee Perry, Prince Jammy et al I also loved the new breed exemplified by Dennis 'Blackbeard' Bovell on Linton Kwesi Johnson's seminal 80's albums and his own works. Surprisingly enough, the first reference I had to this track was Dennis Bovell's work, at least in terms of production and sound. Dub at it's finest - to me anyway - is music that exists on a shoestring; an Emmental of music. More holes than Blackburn Lancashire as it were... Often floating along on single hihats, making good dub is a high wire act and more often than not you are going to fall off. The only reason I have released only a few dub tracks is because of this fact. Unless you can REALLY pull it off, don't bother.

We are not talking about the modern sense of dub here (ie a kinda karaoke version) but a subtler, intensely rhythmic take on an original or - if you are clever enough - an original track in its own right. CT is obviously from the clever enough end of the gene pool because the one thing that stamps this track is authenticity. From the splendidly believeable echo delays, to the pile-it-on of other sections, Dark Dub stands up to even the closest scrutiny. Admittedly it gets into a more modern groove towards the end but certainly the opening sections of this track exemplify what makes dub so special and top marks to Critical Theory for getting this one right. On the strength of this I also had a listen to D'habitude, another clever blending of styles - in this case some very strange dancey style overlaid with some very cool jazzy overtones that perk my interest considerably. Not much doubt that Critical Theory is an artist well worth getting caught up with and I am definitely looking forward to hearing more from this very interesting artist.

Highly Recommended (with a sneaky Must Have for Dark Dub, a producers wet dream)

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