Title: Dub Tentacles Vol. 5
Release Date: 2013 Nov 8
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Fresh Poulp Records
[Note: it appears this release has fallen into a void. The original release page is no longer available. The SoundCloud playlist is empty. And it’s not on the Internet Archive nor Bandcamp pages for the label. It doesn’t appear that the release was retracted. More like something happened as the label was migrating to new locations. They have made more releases available under Creative Commons licensee, and even the SoundCloud playlist still indicates a Creative Commons license. So, I’m not retracting this review. I consider it more of an orphan at this point.]
Initially I was going to included this release in one of my Netlabel Compilation articles. However, after listening to this release I felt that it was more appropriate write a separate review for it alone.
The popularity of Dub and Reggae music has become well known over the past several decades. However, if you think that the only good Dub or Reggae is coming out of Jamaica or New York you are for a bit of a surprise. Consider that this year I have reviewed Dub recordings from Argentina and France, just to name a couple of countries. And with the popularity of Dub and Reggae, it’s no surprise that several other sub-genres (such as dubstep) have cropped up around the world.
This release features artists from America, France and Romania. Surely this release alone is proof that Dub has been embraced around with world in many forms and styles. And Dub Tentacles vol. 5 is definitely a release that will satisfy listeners that love the boom-bap, deep bass, melodica and horns that are more traditional to Dub music.
In fact, through all eleven tracks on this release, there is not one track that doesn’t immediately grab you from your feet to your head and immerse you in that vibe that only Dub can provide. You will feel the mellow all the way through this release. While a couple of tracks stretch the ideas of standard Dub a bit (such as ‘Pyramid’ by Awen), there is no doubt that these tracks make for an excellent extension to the standard Dub style, and keep things from getting stale or too mono-stylistic.
There was, however, a small negative I found on this release. ‘Inna Dubplate Styla’ is a really fine track that is let down by the vocals when compared to the excellent vocals on ‘Humanity’ and ‘Love Jah’. However, there was another small problem with vocals, even when they are good, they occasionally were mixed too far back – ‘Love Jah’ is a good example of this issue. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some folk and pop musicians when I ran the soundboard for a small performance venue. One of the things I learned from them is that they tend not to trust their own ears when mixing vocals. One told me that specifically he knew that he didn’t like the sound of his own voice, so he would mix it down a bit, then an egineer would come through and push the vocals back up to make certain they were clear in the mix.
While I’ve known a few musicians who have taken umbrage with this advice, I typically recommend starting the mix with the vocals fully forward, and later mix them down if there are issues with them. It seems the best way to handle it.
But, despite the issues with vocals on a couple of tracks, this release gets a definite recommendation from me. Check out this release, and check out Fresh Poulp Records, we can all use more dub in this world and these guys are definitely putting out some fine releases.