Anarchy & Alchemy

by Dub Gabriel

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about

Dub Gabriel, who’s spent a career fusing subterranean bass to sun-baked rhythms and modern dub technique, sure has a wide range of friends. Anarchy & Alchemy features guest turns from Yo! Majesty, Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffan and R.E.M. mumbler Michael Stipe, the latter singing on a relatively faithful cover of Suicide’s 1977 synth lullaby “Cheree.” That track’s somewhat of an anomaly on an album that, elsewhere, melds the stark soundscapes of dubstep with the lushness of world-fusion beats. From the tabla-heavy, grimy rhythms of “Mash Out” to the hypnotically bubbling “La Vie s’Envole,” Gabriel proves as adept at the genre-smashing game as anyone around.
-Time Out New York

Relocation from NYC to SF has brought a degree of clarity about the things of value to be retained on this new album, Dub Gabriel's most realised and best so far, a move away from the explorations of 2005's Bass Jihad and more towards what has become a wider mainstream in the intervening years. No instrumentals here and not so much dubbing these days either, but the preoccupation with bass still dominates; opening the set is JahDan (Blakkamoore) fresh from the We Are Raiders E.P. with Matt Shadetek and DJ/Rupture in upscale smooth bashment style on"Chasing the Paper" followed by Karen Gibson Roc spat spoetics on "Spirit Made Flesh" which, to my ears, utilises a direct and intelligent lift of a Scratch produced female vocal scat from Superape days on a Black Ark style shifting shuffle rhythm – perhaps the highlight of the set if it weren't for the presence of REM's Michael Stipe on a reverential reading of Suicide's "Cheree" – with an string arrangement that at time evokes an early Velvet's dissonance. Juakali's jump-up "Mashup" has an urgency that makes an understanding of the lyric unnecessary whilst the centrepiece of the set, Judith Juileratt's "La Vie Senvole" has minimally undulating electric keys straight out of a Martin Rev tutuorial but with the nouveaux doo wop styling replaced by a dolorously whispered tale in French. All these are enough for the memory of the weaker, some might say 'iller', tracks to evaporate by the album's end. - Wire Magazine U.K.


Formerly the creator of an extremely dense Middle Eastern dub sound with a strong dose of illbience, Dub Gabriel has sharpened up his sound. At times, he achieves results that rank with some of the best dance music of this year. Kicking off with a menacing bass presence and Jahdan's rich raga tenor, atypical rhythm programming offsets the immovable foundation. The contrast of the vocal flow and post-Timbaland beats, neither of which fully resolves on beat one, creates some very serpentine rhythms. The tracks get better and better over the first half-dozen selections with abrasive lyrics and elegant deliveries enlivening these focused and brutal rhythms. The high point is Dr. Israel's hypnotic singjay style on "Battle of the Righteous Man." From then on, there are a few misfires. Yo Majesty bring the horniness to "Pony Girl," which is burdened with an annoying synth hook and an all too familiar hodgepodge of contemporary club sounds, though the tablas are a nice touch. A version of Suicide's "Cheree" with Michael Stipe is full of rock bluster that seems disconnected from the rest of the disc. Nevertheless, this album rocks more than two-thirds of the time and is without a doubt Dub Gabriel's best ever. - Exclaim (Canada)

(Dub Gabriel) creates music that is worthy of worship! -Okay Player (USA)

Huge and Bowie-esque and stunning! Reminiscent of a more straightforward Aphex Twin! - Reax Magazine (USA)

One of this years total surprises that mangers through most of it's running time to be fresh, inventive, slick and sonically clever. - Musique Machine (U.K.)

Propulsive cross Jamaican time, plus avant cum dubstep! - ExBerliner (Germany)

credits

released November 5, 2008

Guest Artists: Michael Stipe, Yo Majesty, Dr. Israel, Maga Bo, Jah Dan, Karen Gibson Roc, Juakali, Sami Yaffa, Mark Pistel & Many More!!!!

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