Various Artists - MeteoSound
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Various Artists
MeteoSound

Despite what most people think, dub has been cooking along in the background for many, many years, despite its seeming fade after a huge explosion decades ago. When Lee "Scratch" Perry and others started dropping tons of wax years ago, it was something new and fresh, and despite a huge watering down of the genre in a short period of time, it continued to be influencial and still is today. It's found it's way into electronic music, with big-name groups like The Orb almost religiously revisiting it, and post-rock groups like Tortoise and literally tons of others have worked it into their arrangements.

And even though the genre has sort of lapsed a bit (even Perry doesn't create nearly the quality he used to, there are still innovative artists like Mad Professor, whose seemingly endless batch of dub remixes have taken on everyone from Massive Attack to Portishead to Primal Scream (among countless others). Meteosound is a new compilation that explores mainly the last ten years of dub, when it crossed over with electronic music in a huge way.

Starting out with a bit of authenticity, Paul PM intros the album with a bit of vocal slinging before Sugar B lays down the one-note horn steppa of "Sugar's Authentic Dub Disco." It's a thick, reverb-drenched track that sets the tone nicely, while Tikiman follows right up with echoed out vocals and more wubby low-end on "The Sound." Of course, this is dub/electronic music, so every track on the release flows with some serious low end. Rechenzentrum + TTT update the standard sound a bit by adding a bit more glitch to the track and not reverbing everything out. In the end, it makes for a slightly cleaner sounding track, although it definitely has the influence still.

Thomas Fehlmann (of the Orb) makes an appearence on the disc with a track that's falls in line quite nicely with the better work on his somewhat hit-or-miss solo albums. "Seerosengiessen" rumbles along with only a two-note low-end, but has cut-up knocks and clacks that keep things interesting while samples drift through the haze. Of the two tracks that D Meteo has a hand in ("Red Roof" and "Peru" with TTT), the former takes more of a traditional approach with a touch of guitar and some tweaked melodica over an absolutely syrupy bassline while the latter goes in completely new directions with a minimal, almost Basic Channel feel. As if to remember where it began, the album closes out with the more traditional sounds of "Beautiful World" by Jah Meek Meets The Rootsman.

Another nice thing about the release is that other than one track (Sugar B's "Authentic Dub Disco"), everything else is unreleased. With earlier pioneers like Tikiman alongside newer ones like DNTEL, it not only shows where dub has been, but where it might be headed. If you've never really listened to much dub, it even makes a great starting point in giving a pretty good overview of things. Everything from minimal, glitchy electronic dub (although Pole doesn't make an appearence) to old-school sounding almost roots dub with globally concerned vocals (the aforementioned "Beautiful World" album closer) is represented, so it's a good place to start swimming.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00