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Renegade Rocker by Dubmatix

Renegade Rocker by Dubmatix

Renegade Rocker by Dubmatix

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Classic reggae plus dub and electro rhythms from Canadian producer Dubmatix

Dubmatix - Reneagde RockersToronto has an undervalued place in reggae, but the music latterly released by Light in the Attic records under the Jamaica to Toronto series gave us the chance to hear some landmark sounds first released on Summer Records in the 1980s, notably the striking and melancholy eponymous album by Noel Ellis. The feel of a music in transition from Jamaica to Canada is somehow different from the received sound of Jamaican/European reggae. This new release from Dubmatix, courtesy of Echo Beach records, reasserts the place of Toronto in the reggae legacy.

Dubmatix (Jesse King) comes from a highly musical family, his father Bill King having worked with artists including the Pointer Sisters and Janis Joplin. Apparently introduced to reggae through hearing 'King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown', Dubmatix brought these various influences to bear in the studio and also live (the Dubmatix sound system is one of Canada’s leading live sets). After touring Europe for three months, Dubmatix returned to Canada to work on this album which references four decades of reggae culture. It succeeds in doing the impossible, linking the original roots performers from the classic era of reggae to contemporary production values and electro/digital sounds.

The contributors are a roll-call of reggae’s finest, including Michael Rose (Black Uhuru), Linval Thompson, Wayne Smith, and the late Alton Ellis (who, via his son Noel, connects this back to Toronto). The album opens strongly with Peace and Love, featuring Linval Thompson, paying dues to history before exploring new territory, including Dub in Me Hand (featuring Raffa and Rasta Reuben Kwabena), bringing old and new delightfully together. Lively electro dubs appear throughout. Sub Dub with its backward loops and biting rhythm, and Burning Fire Dub, give some idea of the sound system in operation. Alton Ellis features in Blessing of Compassion, a good strong song in the classic tradition. The album closes with Push (featuring Ammoye, Henri and Kulha Ites) which, with its drum and bass rhythm, points forward rather than back. The album seems deliberately structured to take us from old to new, with such a feel for the integrity of the music that it can’t fail to impress. There are no tracks to skip past on this bass-led, dub-driven, collection which is due to be touring Europe in April.

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