Album Review: Dub Colossus – Dr Strangedub (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Dub the Bomb) [Echomaster; 2019]

Dr Strangedub (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Dub the Bomb) is possibly one of the most inventive albums to date. Each track is an enthusiastic cacophony of global traditions and contemporary fusions without being reduced by genre boundaries or five-minute clichés. Dr Strangedub was a long time coming but well worth the anticipation. It is fuelled by the foiling of a successful global economy and a bringing together of the ages, cultures, and the use of modernised studio innovations, nurturing the old analogue style dubbing techniques that are reminiscent of the 1970’s Roland Space Echo.

The colossal line-up includes Ethiopian vocalists (original Dub Colossus), Dani Fabregas (drums) and guest accompaniments; rigorous rhythm sections at the bequest of Paul Chivers (tambourine and percussion), Winston Blissett’s slap wah bass, the Horns of Negus belting brass sections, babbling trumpet solos and provocative sax improvisations. Not forgetting the added intricacies of electric guitar and nylon-stringed jazz licks from Nick Page aka Dubulah (original Transglobal Underground), the troubadour himself.

A pre-existing recording of ‘Addis To Omega’ re-invents itself with an eerily apocalyptic soundscape, whilst at times, playfully animated. ‘Tainted Dub (Brexitbus mix – ‘brexit for the hard of thinking’)’, among others, is symbolic of the current political debris, post Brexit, in addition to ‘Addis to Omega (club dub mix)’, whilst it retains the quintessential dub-reggae foundations, an accelerating tempo, and supplementary instrumental accompaniments are brilliantly coordinated throughout. From Ethio-jazz to Latin-dub samples sweeping across each glorified rework, these prolific reverb junkies refuel the fire on this intensely enjoyable album.