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Album Review

Although the title and the package design would lead you to expect this to be the dubwise companion to the Abassi All Stars' Showcase album — one that takes each of the original tracks from that album and presents it in a remixed version — that does not seem to be strictly the case. Some of the rhythms on this album are the same ones used on Showcase, and indeed there are still scraps of vocals by the likes of Luciano, Fitta Warri, and Sis Sanae flying around through the mix from that album. But others seem to come from earlier Abassi All Stars sessions. Regardless of their provenance, all of the tracks here demonstrate the growing musical power of this German roots collective, one that is quickly becoming one of the strongest reggae outfits in Europe. On Dub Showcase, the focus is on mysterious, Middle Eastern-sounding horn arrangements, adventurous dub mixes of the kind that haven't been heard since the heyday of On-U Sound, and spoken word political interjections that will appeal to paranoids on both the Left (television and the military are evil, etc.) and the Right (the Illuminati are running everything, etc.). Producer Neil Perch is at the peak of his powers here, and if heavyweight roots rockers like "Edutainment" and "Vision Plant" and old-school one-drop workouts like "Cities" don't send you scrambling back to the first Abassi All Stars album for a second listen, then the cut-and-pasted DJ vocals on "World Peace Dub" and "Crisis" will. Absolutely essential.

Showcase, Abassi Allstars
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