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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


By Michael Stone
Published June 27, 2007

Raw Raw Dub

The Bush Chemists (former London dub-ephemera shopowner Dougie Wardrop and Paul Davey) came together in Great Britain in the late 1980s, inspired by but moving away from King Tubby’s pioneering analog sampling of original reggae source material, instead producing their own sounds on digital synthesizer and drum machine. The resulting sonic blend is experimental ping-pong space-age dubtronic stuff, albeit warmed here and there to solid effect with random instrumental textures including woodwinds, brass and bass, and the noteworthy vocal interventions of Ras McBean and Pablo Diamond on tracks like “New Beginning,” “East of Jaro,” “Dark Dub,” “New Stylee,” “Round the Dub,” and a soaring “Lift Me”. With no frills, no pretense, and transcending slavish imitation, this is music to blow the roof off (“Speaker Rocker,” “Symphony Of Dub,” “Flying Cymball,” “Double Drum” and the title track), exorcise disco (“Dark Dub”), call out to the East (“Oriental Style,” “East Of Jaro”), and (as suggested by the titles of some of their earlier releases, In Dub: Light Up Your Chalice and Dub Fire Blazing) with “Heartical Dub” and “Higher Heights,” attain herb-induced outernational altitude.