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Dub the World

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Album Review

Munich-based sonic scientist Umberto Echo released his debut album, Dubtrain, on Enja in 2007 after a decade of working on other people’s productions. Some of these artists included Junior Kelly, Luciano, and Luton Fyah. His album was a fresh take on classic dub with lots of analog bits added in with the digital updates. Dub the World is a follow-up that tosses the stone a bit farther. Creating 15 new dubs with artists from 13 countries is no mean feat. Adding well-known vocalists to the mix who front more homegrown European acts is another ace notion. Standout performances include Sly & Robbie playing the riddim section with Rastasize, a Polish reggae band, on the track “Day by Day.” Buju Banton and Naptali lend their voices to Oneness (a German roots band) on “Rise Up,” while Damian Marley fronts Steel Pulse on the slippery, smooth, and utterly entrancing “Weaponsofmassdistruction.” Echo stays out of the way, though his sounds are everywhere. He creates the effects, punches up the rhythm section, and echoes the key lyric lines into infinity while keeping the sound smooth and tight. Even on “I Do Voodoo” with Lee “Scratch” Perry fronting Austrian dubmeisters Dubblestandart, Echo manages not to do what Perry used to: there are no edges, no leftover sound bits, but he does keep Perry’s essential spirit intact by stretching the notion of time and creating a hypnotic, spaced-out, disorienting feel while keeping it all musical. Other excellent dubs here are “City Lights” by Stereo MC's and “Aufesten” by German reggae group Seeed, with Cee-Lo Green on vocals. Dub the World is hi-fi smooth dub for sophisticated party people.

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