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Umberto Echo - Elevator Dubs

Umberto Echo - Elevator Dubs

Umberto Echo - Elevator Dubs

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Umerbto Echo, notable exception.


Umberto Echo - Elevator DubsIf it wasn’t for reggae music, the global urban musical landscape of today would probably sound much different. Much of reggae’s influence spread through dub and the unique recording techniques and singular general approach to music that go along with it. Today one sometimes has the impression that dub has become either conservative and not very innovative, or dubstep. 

A notable exception has been and is Umberto Echo. The dub master from Munich, Germany hasn’t only been working closely with Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, the influential Swiss project, but has released two albums under his own artist name. “Dubtrain”, released in 2007, already stated that his understanding of dub music was wider than that of “traditional” Jamaican or British dub masters – both in terms of which sounds he uses as the basis for his tracks and the way he treats the original tunes. His 2010 sequel “Dub The World” continued in that same spirit.

Three years later, Umberto Echo is back with another album-length record that further tapers his understanding of dub. “Elevator Dubs” is the title of this album released by Enja Records. Unaspiring background lounge music? Mais non. Umberto Echo took eleven tracks from various genres, ranging from reggae to hip hop to jazz to electronic music and more. Seven of these eleven tracks are compositions of Umberto Echo and some of the musicians he likes to work with, speaking further to the manyfold talents of the multi-instrumentalist. 

Elevator Dubs” starts with a rerecorded version of Ernest Ranglin’s “Surfin", pays tribute to Fela Kuti with a rerecording of “Water Get No Enemy”, dubs The Senior Allstar's “Tomorrow Now” and Stewart Copeland’s (The Police’s drummer) “Gong Rock”. Umberto Echo never strips down the original tracks to their bare minimum, but leaves fragments of melodies intact to ensure you can always dance to them.

A good album needs decent compositions, skilled musicians, and a sound engineer who knows exactly what he’s doing. “Elevator Dubs” has all of that and much more. Umberto Echo’s dub is more easily accessible than more “traditional” dub, and yet offers more features, more tricks, and so much to discover that seasoned dub aficionados just as well as freshmen can wheel this LP endlessly. Umberto Echo once told me that he got bored all too soon by new music, because he understood the structure behind it intuitively. “Elevator Dubs” is the elevating consequence of his problem.

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