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Clive Hunt and The Dub Dancers

Clive Hunt and The Dub Dancers

Clive Hunt and The Dub Dancers

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Latest release on French label Makafresh with this new dub album from Clive Hunt. Dub It!

Sampler

Clive Hunt

Clive Hunt may not be known outside of reggae, but his resume shows a consistent level of involvement in some of the last 40 years’ premium music. He wrote and performed the deep roots standard ‘Milk and Honey’, produced Jam Now Generation’s thrilling psychedelic instrumental ‘Peacemaker’, and has recently hooked up with French avant-reggae label Makasound; controversially remixing The Slickers Breakthrough, and creating this ambitious dub platter for their subsidiary Makafresh.

Clive Hunt & The Dub Dancers starts with a dub poem (by Ras Neto) condensing the history of reggae over a collage of cut-ups, including fragments of musical landmarks like Sleng Teng and Real Rock. This sets the scene for an all-encompassing sonic memoir of dub studio techniques, where the organic and melodic work with the chaotic, mechanical, and the downright violent.

Dub is conventionally viewed as a hedonistic, apolitical form - but Hunt clearly disagrees. The impersonal crashes and SFX library screams used in second track ‘Baghdad In Dub’ are palpably anti-war, and the album’s occasional lyrical interludes (some herb discourse by Clive himself on  ‘Satta I’, and Icho Candy’s stream-of-consciousness anti-violence rhetoric for ‘Guns And Guns’) leave the potential of versionism as societal critique in no doubt.

Evolution and change are recurring themes. Lazy Dennis Bovell-style jazzy guitar gives way to frantic, scratchy dissonance during ‘Dub Tribe’, and the tight instrumentation of ‘Dreadnaught Dub’ becomes increasingly muddied by a pile-up of delay, before reverting to instru-form for the final few bars. There are unusual surprises too – check the country-rock guitar phrase in ‘Satta I’, the gorgeously soulful penultimate piece ‘Rockers Dub’, and ‘Grooving Dub’’s dissection of Richie Spice’s ‘Grooving My Girl’, turning a catchy pop song into a fragmented work of art.

Hunt takes a little of everything – flutes, bleeps, reverse-reverb, binghi-drums etc - yet maintains an overarching mood, while pushing the boundaries of aural good taste with the sure touch of a longtime studio man. There are perhaps a few too many tracks (though none are filler, an uninterrupted listen to all sixteen may be a little draining) but on the whole this is “dub with character” in the best tradition of Scientist’s Dub Landing I and Shaka Meets Aswad. Recommended.

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