The Spitz, London 24th July 2000
First off, any further mention of the fact that Dry & Heavy are a Japanese Reggae band can largely be dispensed with; so they are Japanese, not Jamaican. Well, there are Reggae and Dub groups from all over now – the Czech Republic, the Basque Country, Texas even. Other than to say of course that this particular set have got the format sussed pretty much completely, apart from maybe the boonie hats some of them seem to have adopted as a kind of identifying headgear. Well, that’s possibly quite Japanese.
Anyhow, after along wait for the band to show up on stage, during which time the arriving trickle of audience numbers are ably entertained by Dry & Heavy’s label stalwart Pete Holdsworth and his collection of classic Reggae and Ska vinyl both old and new, they finally arrive to the short but enthusiastic introduction
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Label: Universal Egg Format: CD
Zion Train affiliates The Tassilli Players have always offered up intriguing themed Dub CDs, from their debut Great Sporting Moments in Dub via their guide to Outer Space to the interactively-designed Wonderful World Of Weed In Dub (this latter wasn’t a CD-ROM in that interactive sense – each track was designed with different varieties of weed in mind for the listener to consume in association with the album, should they desire). Now An Atlas Of World Dub pays tribute to and makes a journey through the globalised dub diaspora, starting in the UK and spreading tentacularly to New Zealand via hitherto unsuspected havens of the bass vibration such as Russia, Finland and Poland.
Naturally there are stops off in the weed capital of Europe, Amsterdam – in fact, this is can
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Label: Wavetrap Format: CD
From the opening storm-warning of drones ahead, Iron fulfils all the promises its churning digital riffology and humorous dedication to “Heavy Metal fans all over the world” could possibly fulfil. Staccato loops click and swarm from one ear to the next, and possibly invite the application of a third. Deliciously dirty splutters and organic wafts of processed feedback or sample residue distract from the computer-based construction of this almost surprisingly visceral music, and keep the evil within the bounds of good humour throughout.
Intensity is a term easily applied, as is headfucking, brain-melting chaos under control; when a tendril of deep rumbling distortion folds over another pitched to make the harmonics waver with fuzzing noise, the effect is delirious. Tones gutter out, snippets of identifiable sound make bedfellows with lunch-regurgitating vibrato, and the
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Label: Virgin Format: CD,2LP
Sad to say, this self-titled return after all those years in over one and a half decades really isn’t all that interesting; at leats, not as much as it should be, especially considering that the Industrial Funk pioneers have got a legend in the shape of Pharoah Saunders for a couple of tracks. It’s all so easy listening now, by comparison to what the cutting edge of music is really like these days. 23 Skidoo seemed so much more adventurous when everyone and their digital dog weren’t in on the act; they helped create the post-genre musical scene after all, but now…
Well, having said that, opener “Freezeframe” is quite reverberative as a calling card, and “Dirty Lo”, with Ragga toasting from Major and loping beat among the drizzly brass samples and sundry mutterings from the
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