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Bass Matters

Radikal Dub Kolektiv

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Album Review

Formed in 2002, this East European avant-reggae crew plays a style of electro dub that owes as much to Adrian Sherwood and Mark Stewart as it does to King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry (though you could argue that the presence of Perry's son Omar on this album constitutes a deeper debt to Scratch than to the others). Bass Matters was midwifed by Zion Train leader Neil Perch, who lent both his Cologne studio and his production prowess to the project, and the result is a disc of uncommon power — bassy and dubby, but also sharp and crunchy, with a decidedly punky edge. Vocals are mostly provided by guests who are either Jamaican or exceptionally good at imitating Jamaican accents: Omar Perry, scion of the Black Ark legacy, contributes a fine steppers anthem titled "U.N.I.T.Y.," while an otherwise unidentified female vocalist named Lua sings on the incongruously dark and foreboding "Brighter Future." But for the most part the music is instrumental and richly combines the analog funkiness of old-school roots reggae with hints of post-punk attitude and a subtle edge of aggressive techno. Like almost everything on the Universal Egg label, this album is a brilliant composite of new and old reggae styles.

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