Dub Gabriel - Anarchy & Alchemy [Destory A/c - 2008]Anarchy & Alchemy is the new album from well respected Dub reggae/ electroncia producer and musician Dub Gabriel, Which features an impressive list of guest including Michael Stipe, Yo Majesty, Dr Israel , Juakall, & Jah Dan.
First off I have to admit Dub and reggae are one of the few genres that I normal steer clear of as they usually do little or nothing for me and seem rather tied to their own clichés and tired sonic paths. So I was surprised how much I enjoyed much of Anarchy & Alchemy, Dub Gabriel seems to take dub and tighten it up, make it slicker, more dramatic, inventive and exiting- instead of just sticking to one loop or element Gabriel builds up detailed and heady dub structures to get lost in. I think it also helps him using a different vocalist on each track with most of the tracks been built perfectly for the guest vocalist strength and sonic character. The only track that really seems uninspired choice is Michael Stripe take on Suicide’s Cheree- he just doesn’t have the edge to make it work, it also doesn’t help that Gabriel is building up a rather bland orchestra rises around Stipes aged whine.
A few stand out moments come in the form of: Spirit Made Flesh ft Karen Gibson Roc where Gabriel presents a tight head bob dub loop to which he pulls out 3d like other beat lines, sonic trails and creative noise matter over Karen Gibson manipulated, morphed, bent vocals and 70’s harmonising. Mash Out Ft Juakali which open with a great drilling electro tone, before the drums kick in along with the malevolent bass line and back jarring cymbal hits over which Juakali sings and raps over. With all through out the track Gabriel pulling out clever and inventive twists. The spacey bobbing ambient synth patter-patter tones of La vie Sen Vole Ft Judith Juilerratt, with Gabriel pulling atmospheric and warming analogue synth throbs over the bobbing uncarrage, all toped off with Juilerratt dreamy female French tones. Really most of the tracks here are slick, inventive and impressive- it’s only let down towards the end with a few almost dub pop/ rap tracks and the already mentioned Cheree cover.
For me Dub Gabriel has managed an amazing feat with Anarchy & Alchemy; making me enjoy and appreciate a genre that in the past I’d avoided like the plague. One of this years total surprises that mangers through most of it’s running time to be fresh, inventive, slick and sonically clever.Roger Batty