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Dub Revolutionaries by Zion Train

Dub Revolutionaries by Zion Train

Dub Revolutionaries by Zion Train

By on - Comment

2CD "best of" from one of the most forward thinking British reggae influenced acts of the last 20ish years.

Sampler

Zion Train'Dub Revolutionaries'? Well first off I wouldn’t call a lot of their music “Dub”, a moniker that I feel is way over played in reggae music with just about everything that is an instrumental applying the name to make it sound cool, and secondly revolutionary? Acts like the Ragga Twins, Longsy D or the Beatmasters with their 1989 mix of Skacid that featured on Ska Train, the B-side of hit Hey DJ I Can’t Dance beat them to the punch, but Zion Train have sure picked that ball up and run with it Zion Train - Dub Revolutionariesfurther than anybody else and been one of the most forward thinking, and yes in a way revolutionary, British reggae influenced acts of the last 20ish years with their blend of reggae and electronic, techno, rave sounds.

The album itself is a 2CD best of which has been complied by lifelong Zion Train colleagues Maken of Warsaw and Les Earthdoctor of Wales rather than the band, though of course they did give their full cooperation and thus included are some vinyl-only rarities and a never before released radio session for John Peel.

The opening three tracks on disc 1, Dub Power and Dub To Power, taken from their 1992 debut album ‘Passage to India’ followed by Ross Ice Shelf, are what could be described as typical digi dubs with a mellow laid back feel that wouldn’t sound out of place on many of today’s albums of this ilk by the numerous bedroom studio based artists out there that populate the internet. However tracks like Eagle Ray, Fly and War In Babylon which cranks up the BPM up will have most reggae fans running and screaming to the exit, as they leave the reggae virtually to one side and go for a full house/club/dance vibe. The frenzied ska induced Dance of Life and Baby Father featuring YT show how well the two genres can work together, while Babylon’s Burning that samples the vocals of the late Malcolm Owen, who scored a top 10 hit with the song in 1979 with punk band The Ruts is something of a car crash that is probably best forgotten.

It would be easy to dismiss this album as out-dated and indeed I do find that house music, as a genre does not age well. This is also where, by the bands own admission, they sometimes fail to connect with people because they fall into that trap of too housey for the reggae crowd and too reggae for the house crowd, but if you are more open minded in your approach to music then Zion Train may have something to offer you. They have always stood by their guns and made music that they are proud off and have never bent to seek popular appeal and for this I applaud them.

This album is a decent retrospective look at Zion Trains previous varied and boundary pushing work and with a new album reportedly out in the autumn this collection acts as a nice prelude to its release and leaves me wondering with some interest as to where they may go next.

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