Friday, May 19, 2006

Abstract Index playlist - May 10/06

France and Germany are massive for reggae and dub. It's been a long time since the UK was the sole source for good reggae in Europe. Though I'm keen to do more research into this, it appears that in France and Germany, venues exist, records sell in significant numbers and artists can work fairly often. I've been wanting to write something more substantial about specifically the dub scene in France, where the Jarring Effects label puts out interesting nu-dub discs on the regular. Germany is the home to ace reissue label Moll-Selekta, and nu-dub label Collision Cause of Chapter 3, whose biggest name release was by Ari Up of the Slits, but have also put out records by Keith Leblanc (Sugarhill Gang, Tackhead), Dubblestandart (touring Canada in July)and the venerable Dub Syndicate.

Enja records will never be confused with a dub label, but what started as a jazz label with overtures to fusion (in the highly skilled yet antiseptic sense of the term) has been pushing outwards with new projects. It first struck me with their release of Josh Roseman's Treats For the Nightwalkers, alternately the most brilliant realization of M Base or the worst fuzak this side of Sting. They are also the home of oud conceptualist Rabih Abou Khalil. Two new records push the label further into the world, the Norwegian/Malagasy/Morrocangumbo of Michy Mano, and one by Dub Guerilla, aka Tom Bennecke. This is a trombone album, sometimes 3 deep, with solos and ingenious charts riding rhythms which run from Twilight Circus to Thievery Corporation. Its jazz pedigree is on display with covers of Grant Green and Gunter Hampel. Bennecke is the guitarist, rhythmatist and producer. He comes up with an easy going, smoky production which lulls like Acid Jazz but also impresses with memorable bass lines and inventive orchestrations. There are some Don Drummond poses throughout, but the trombones reference the entire sonic arsenal of this versatile instrument from J.J. Johnson's silky, rapid fire precision, to Eddie Palmieri's punchy La Perfecta, to Roswell Rudd's guttural growls and sound effects. The 'bonists themselves are impressive, and aren't left alone, often they are swathed with effects, elsewhere they sound more like keyboard patches than brass. This is reggae that could never be mistaken for Jamaican, but it's a very solid disc and would work well in a bistro, pub or on a dancefloor, proving once again that interesting extrapolations of reggae music are happening all over the world.

And check this out for another front line of reggae - and it's another German label...

coleman lantern - ken aldcroft/evan shaw/joe sorbara (oval window)
mallard call in the cane fields - matt steckler (innova)
hetrogenous substances - thomas stronen (rune gramofon)
sangam - charles lloyd (ecm)
safe self tester - loka (ninja tune)
maracatu misterioso - think of one (crammed)
habla peru -gaia (jajou)
moza mala - arturo zambo cavero/oscar aviles (iempsa)
pepe bougier - nyboma & kamale dynamique (joe bataan (fania)
dust - raquy and the cavemen (indie)
lulin dance - lubo alexandrov (justin time)
bitchslap - degenerate art ensemble (tellous)
sunny - roy nathanson (aum fidelity)
infiltration - dub guerilla (enja)
elaine the osaka dancer - pan africanist (ariwa)
instrument of the trinity - roots tonic (roir)
uptown rockers - dubmatix (soul stepper)
jig jig jig - early one (blood and fire)
lions den - twilight crew (M)
wicked a go feel it - al campbell (trojan)
running star - barry brown (easy star)
heights of paranoia - dubblestandart (collision cause of chapter 3)


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