|Recording information: 58 North Six Media Labs, Brooklyn, NY (06/2008); Digital B. Studio, Kingston, Jamaica (06/2008); Playbach Studio, San Juan, Puerto Rico (06/2008); Tuff Gong Studios, Kingston, Jamaica (06/2008).
|You may think that, as a pseudonym for a dub producer, "Umberto Echo" is too clever by half, and if so you've got a point. But it's easy to forgive that kind of silliness when the musical results are this consistently good. Dub the World turns out to be a very apt title for this, his sophomore full-length dub project: it consists of dub mixes of tracks by artists from just about everywhere, from China (Jiang Liang) to Puerto Rico (Cultura Profetica) and from New Zealand (Katchafire) to Italy (Smoke). (Jamaica is represented by two guest artists: Lee "Scratch" Perry, who collaborates with the Austrian group Dubblestandart on "I Do Voodoo," and Damian Marley, who brings guest vocals to the dub mix of Steel Pulse's "Weapons of Massdistruction.") And the highlight tracks come from surprising places: Jiang Liang's "Ye Gou Shan" is a brilliant slab of traditional dub with a relentless steppers beat and lashings of spaghetti Western guitar, and gets extra points for being sung in Chinese; the French band Dub Inc. also sing in their native language, and in a rich, gospel-inflected style that nicely evokes the Twinkle Brothers. Up, Bustle and Out (from the U.K.) are their usual brilliant, jungly selves, and bring Portuguese guest vocalist Kalaf along for the ride. Even the Stereo MC's make an appearance, slinging their cockney slang as strongly as ever, and are given a dark dubstep groove that lurches along beautifully. Also worth hearing are the beautiful Spanish vocals on Cultura Profetica's "Un Deseo" and the brilliant Sly & Robbie rhythm that undergirds the Polish band Rastasize's "Day by Day." Very few dub compilations can honestly claim to be all killer, no filler, but this one can. ~ Rick Anderson