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Messenger Douglas & Kibir La Amlak - Real Works

Messenger Douglas & Kibir La Amlak - Real Works

Messenger Douglas & Kibir La Amlak - Real Works

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A climactic listening journey from beginning to end.


This EP is an essential for all dub wise selectors and growing artists looking for inspiration to get the latest in electronic music production, and we’re talking about Dub! To hear something new and pioneering, this 4 vocal, 4 dub EP is what you’ll need.

Kibir has been on the scene for 9 years, having performed at a number of festivals in the UK and abroad including One Love Festival, Uprising Festival and Rototom. He is a master at his craft, if you haven’t come across this dub artist already, let this be your way in. 

Messenger Douglas & Kibir La Amlak - Real WorksThe EP is made up of four vocal tracks and four dub versions. You’re not only having sublime reggae, but the unmissable dub that all underground music crate diggers can enjoy. Kibir La Amlak worked alongside Messenger Douglas, the main vocalist, who was previously known as Cutlass. Douglas and Kibir have been working and performing together over the years and this work pays homage to their friendship. Messenger’s perse quality in singing is shown here as his voice seems effortless and natural on the dub and non-dub tracks.  

First track and title of the EP, Real Works, brings power and a strong message to pull up your socks, stop your loafing and growing up. A great track to dance and skank to, the perfect way to kick off this portfolio of work. 

Track two, No Loafing Dub, is the ‘B Side’ to the opening track, Real Works. When the first hint of reverb is sounded you know you’ve stepped down stairs to the dub session. The deep bass and rolling drums drive the steady steppers beat with the bongos dropping in and out intermittently. This is met by the snare drum and later a plucky lead guitar. The vocals from Real Works play again just before the end and finally a slice of echoed organ joins, bringing the whole piece together.

On the next track, Blessings, Messenger sings almost pleadingly spreading Jah’s message. Accompanied by an airy flute we follow the mellow melody till we are met with the unforgettable hook.... 

“Jah Blessing is all around us, and the oneness surrounds us. There’s no need to be too serious, and there’s no need to be anxious...”

The chant bounces and undeniably invites us to sing along. In a way it reminds me of the delivery of an early UK speed rap. It’s the moment to dance and jump up with the lyrics and drums. 

Dub take, Never Tamed Dub, starts the same as Blessings. Guitar and soulful singing begin till the first reverb is hinted after the first few lines and the last word “I” hangs with an elongated vibration sending the song floating away in to a relaxed Dub abyss. Profundity and clear mindedness is the message portrayed here, with softened drums and extended resonance, a meditative characteristic is the overarching atmosphere. Finally as you think it’s all about to end, the message is cemented once again right at the end with the hook and the end spirals off in echo’s and bongo drums. 

Happiness is a moralizing steppas track, sententious and jam worthy. Messenger delivers each word with attitude and flair capturing our attention in his singing range to the story he tells in a banton fashion. 

Dub version, School Term Dub, starts off with a manipulated hypnotizing piano, and the rift is reminiscent of a jazz song. The essence of a dub tone is set early but offers something different as it entertains the ideas possibilities of Jazz piano against dub mannerisms. A drop to a slow bop over takes and the piano phases out, or has been completely distorted. We are held in anticipation against the ticking tings from the cymbals as the pace increases speeding up in flanger and beat. A beating guitar later on rides what is becoming a tasty concoction of distorted sounds, and it too tails off in to an electronic control creating a pulsating sound like the blades of a helicopter. Enchanting organ accompanies the mixture and eventually waltzes to centre stage evoking imagery of a fairground by the seaside. Lead is taken in turns between the instruments and managed by dub nuances.

Dubby doesn’t want to start drama, but with that piano subtly shadowed by the organ and shaking tambourine conjures up an image of a rattle snake and a foresight for something dangerous and big to come. Delivery wise this is heavy. Singing in this song partners with the instrumental perfectly. Attitude is delivered in each verse. I’ve genuinely been craving to hear this song when I have a moment away from it since hearing it. Short but sweet and a personal favourite. This is titled as Sufferer’s Tea.

Dub version, Dangerous Lee’s Dub starts very similar. The piano is there however the subtle organ has been removed, so this time the piano has a gentle quality to it. It’s sombre, but none threatening. A lulling guitar swings like a metronome making you sway. A number of breaks pide the track and reintroduces the beginning piano. Deep rhythmic bass carries the piece till the final piano break and endure a smooth end to the piece. 

I feel it has been a climactic listening journey from beginning to end. I’ve found a satisfying calmness after affect arriving at this ending. Overall the themes and sound were consistent but comprehendingly different in lyrical, instrumental and structural content. Definitely one to add to the collection. 

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