Online Reggae Magazine


Articles about reggae music, reviews, interviews, reports and more...

Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix - Overdubbed

Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix - Overdubbed

Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix - Overdubbed

By on - Comment

Sly & Robbie with Dubmatix continue to expand the horizons, in this somewhat techno-electro programming age, for what was once called reggae


In the course of an interview some years ago, the legendary sticks man that is Sly Dunbar listed for me some of the musical glitterati that he and his sidekick Robbie Shakespeare have worked with. It includes Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Grace Jones, Gwen Guthrie, Joe Cocker, James Brown, Simply Red, Herbie Hancock and Sinead O’Connor. The list also includes a number of Jamaican reggae artists, like Dennis Brown, Pablo Moses, the Wailing Souls, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley.

This list can now be extended to include Dubmatix, the Canadian composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and seven-time JUNO award winner and nominee. Amongst the many accolades to have come his way over the years is Billboard magazine’s No. 1 rank of a Marley remix (for ‘Is This Love’).

Sly and Robbie meet Dubmatix - OverdubbedAnd so it has now come to pass that a Sly, Robbie and Dubmatix amalgamation has just released ‘Overdubbed’, with the Heavyweight Brass band (and many more) in tow. Like any good team, partnership or even a successful party, it helps when different people bring different things to the mix. For example, Sly brings rhythm where Robbie brings bass. Sly brings courtesy and co-operation, whereas (in this reviewer’s experience) Robbie brings distance and occasionally disdain. Hence, when these contrasting characters link up and do the writing, leaving Dubmatix to do the arranging (and much more besides) on original tracks from the ‘Riddim Twins’, it makes for quite a pealing pot-pourri.

I’d love to say that the album’s opening track’s aural assault – ‘Dictionary’, which may well reflect rush-hour modern life - is redeemed by the brilliant brass input at its close. But I can’t. However, the following two tracks – ‘Smoothie’ feat. Prince Alla, Screechy Dan & Megative and the trance inducing ‘Riding East’ – go a long way toward that redemption. This process is complete with the next track entitled the ‘Great Wall’ with its tasty opening, as Dubmatix and Dunbar delightfully and sometimes delicately drive the drums to maximum effect, set to some spiralling horn inputs.

Next up is ‘Communication Breakdown’, that merges some deep roots drumming with Jay Spaker’s falsetto, whilst Dubmatix melodically adjusts the sound controls. ‘Dirty Flirty’ then starts almost Samba-like, before spiralling into spaces that stretch the music’s boundaries. The ‘Great Escape’ also merges nice rhythms with a clever confluence of vocals and electronics, before ‘Shabby Attack’ and ‘Frenchman Code’ (featuring Treson’s appealing vocals) do dub in a most melodious manner, reminiscent of the masters Alpha & Omega. This ‘dubs for the clubs’ connection is also apparent on the album’s penultimate track ‘Riding East’ (a repeat in an ‘Original Western Mix’). In between ‘Burru Saturday’ offers pulsating rhythms and experimental accoutrements, ably aided by (all too rare) brass embellishments. Then it’s to ‘Ruff House’, in a return to reggae’s roots, with some sounds that will really set you skanking inna hot steppers’ quick-fire fashion. Closing the collection is the dub version of ‘Communication Breakdown’, that tastefully maximises the echo effect without diluting the melody.

Overall it’s well done to Toronto’s Dubmatix and his well-travelled troubadours - Sly and Robbie. They continue to expand the horizons, in this somewhat techno-electro programming age, for what was once called reggae. That’s change. That’s diversity. That’s progress.

Share it!

Send to Kindle
Create an alert

Comments actually desactivated due to too much spams

Recently addedView all

Jah9 in Paris
18 Jan

© 2007-2019 United Reggae. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Read about copyright

Terms of use | About us | Contact us | Authors | Newsletter | A-Z

United Reggae is a free and independant magazine promoting reggae music and message since 2007. Support us!

Partners: GeoNature | Jammin Reggae Archives | DAVIBE Jamaica | Jamaican Raw Sessions | Le moulin des frènes | Rando Toulouse | European Rangers | One One One Wear