Archives for posts with tag: Dub

Album Review: Shape the Future, Nightmares on Wax (Warp Records, Jan 2018)

George Evelyn is a U.K. based DJ and producer whose stage name is Nightmares on Wax. Shape the Future is his 8th studio album in a recording career that spans over 25 years.

It is a truly eclectic album, touching on dub, soul, and the electronic and trancey vibes that characterize most of his body of work. “On It Maestro” is a particularly luxurious electronic selection.

“Deep Shadows” featuring Sadie Walker and “Tomorrow” featuring Lsk are distinctly dub and remind me of Thievery Corporation’s recent release, The Temple of I & I (ESL Music, 2017).

What got me hooked however was the outstanding guest spot from Jordan Rakei on “Typical” and the driving beats and almost spiritual chorus on “Citizen Kane” featuring Mozez. The opening track, “Back To Nature” featuring Kuauhtli Vasquez & Wixarika Tribe is the most unique and perhaps the most lasting. It features a Rhodes riff similar to Bob James’ “Angela” (Columbia, 1978) and tribal vocalizations from the Wixarika people of Mexico.

The beauty of albums like these is the way your listening gravitates to different tracks at different times through its life in your collection. Crafty, you might say.

Album Review: The Temple of I & I, Thievery Corporation (ESL Music, Feb 2017)

tciiIf you’re a fan of reggae and dub, you’ll wonder why anyone would describe this fine album as trip-hop or chill.

Thievery Corporation (a.k.a. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton) have created music in the electronic realm since their beginnings in 1997 with their trippy lounge music debut, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi (4AD).

But the duo has proven their chops in many musical traditions, including bossa, the muse of their last outing, Saudade (ESL, 2014). Reggae has also been featured as long ago as 2003 with the release of Richest Man in Babylon (ESL Music).

The Temple of I & I is stylistically the most reggae influenced album since Babylon. It features several guests and the usual collaborators who bring so much of Garza’s and Hilton’s music to life. Reggae vocalists Notch, Puma, and Racquel Jones are most featured throughout the 15 tracks on the record.

Notch does particular justice to “Weapons of Distraction” and “Strike the Root.” The riddims are solid. Sly and Robbie would approve.

A couple of tracks echo their electronica catalogue, namely “Time & Space” sung partly in French by returning vocalist Lou Lou Ghelikhani and the mournful “Love Has No Heart” sung by Shana Halligan.

Other than that, it is all reggae and dub with a Thievery Corporation lustre. Respect.





Album Review: Pura, Luciana Oliveira (YB Music, 2013)

pura Luciana Oliveira is a Brazilian vocalist whose music is classified as Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB), which is more of a movement than a genre. Its membership is as broad as the styles it encompasses. With her sophomore album, Pura, Oliveira manages to expand MPB just enough to distinguish herself from a crowded Bossa Nova revival that surged in the 90’s.

Pura has a rawness that evokes a kind of folk music rather than the constructed coolness of recycled Bossa Nova. The production reminds me of the spartan treatment on Da Lata’s excellent debut, Songs from the Tin (Palm, 2000). The style is showcased in two very different tracks. “Condicionada” is a dissonant melody with sparse arrangements and a tribal rhythm track. It’s dark and raw, about as far as you can get from trendy ‘chill out’ collections. A brighter and beautifully playful track, “Samba em Pilet” offers a nice contrast and borders on ‘singalong.’

My favourite track, “Menina Guiné” is different yet again, this time borrowing from Oliveira’s history with reggae artists, including the Brazilian band Natiruts and dub legend Mad Professor.

With Pura, Oliveira proves that contemporary Brazilian music is more varied and substansive than the style that was “on trend” in the lounge music era. What more could we ask from a distinguished member of the MPB movement?