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Faya Horns Meet Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa

Faya Horns Meet Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa

Faya Horns Meet Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa

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When French instrumentists duo Faya Horns meet producer Mad Professor and his son Joe Ariwa, the result is a nice dub piece.

Sampler

Faya Horns meets Mad Professor and Joe AriwaIt’s hard to get excited about reviewing dub albums these days. “Sparse” quickly becomes “boring”, “busy” soon becomes “irritating” until you’re so tired of the same old tricks you just wish someone would sing or chant once in a while. But every now and then a record comes along that surprises and uplifts the spirits. Faya Horns Meet Mad Professor and Joe Ariwa, on Makasound, is just such a record.

The title says it all. The brass section from Parisian hepcat versionists Faya Dub have laid down 14 instrumentals in the Mad Professor studio (produced and mixed by Mr Fraser and his son Joe) and it’s that rare pleasure - a collection of pieces that go together without being too alike.

The digital sounding Mad Professor rhythms combine well with sultry menacing horns and frenetic flute for an ageless British feel. The effects are used sparingly to give the instruments room; odd snatches of harmonised vocals come in here and there, but are neither distorted by flanger or high pass filter, nor cloaked in spring reverb or delay. Nothing on this disc ever pretends to be something it is not.

Tracks one to six are all dark, moody, threatening and intense, in the vein of the film scores that originally inspired Don Drummond to play in such sad keys. Of these, the muted trombone of second piece 'Raging Dub' and the sinuous downward spiralling 'African Warrior Dub' make the most immediate impact, but all yield their own depths to be explored. Midway through, a pair of major-key numbers lift the mood, as do a couple of high-speed experimental steppers including a turbo version of Yabby You’s Plague Of Horn, renamed 'God Of Dub'.

Inevitably comparisons will be drawn with Rico, Vin Gordon & Dean Fraser, and there are also playful nods and winks to Babylon era Aswad and Dennis Bovell, yet the robotic drums and fat clean overall sound bring this album into its own. There’s nothing too clever here, except a refusal to put a note out of place. A superb collaboration of which all involved can feel justifiably proud.

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