Title: Guetto Roots of Dub (Vol. 1)
Genre: Dub / Roots
Release date: 06-07-2013
License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
There are some times when I face something of a conundrum, and this release by Negritage presents one such conundrum. I’ll explain that later in the review, but a little background on Negritage before getting to the review.
According to the Dubophonic release page:
All members of Negritage, William, Nacho, Leo, Pato and Herno have played together since childhood and are still play together almost every weekend, continuing their musical journey, helping each other to record the instruments for the tracks.
In other words – Negritage isn’t just a group musicians, they are close friends, and in their own way are probably an extended family to each other. They are also artists, not just performers. They are driven by the love of the music, and make music because they feel the need to, not just for a big payday.
And this closeness and camaraderie is evident from the very first track, to the very last track on this release. It’s a release that transcends time, and history. The tracks were often recorded with whatever instruments were available. They all helped each other coming up with sounds. They collaborated with musicians that were inspired to work with them. They were recorded in at least two different studios (and now they are working on building their own studio).
The result is pure dub in the Jamaican style. The purest of sounds like we rarely hear them in the United States, unless we seek them out and actively import recordings from other parts of the world. It’s a wonderful and special thing to hear music this pure from a group of musicians / friends / artists. It is made even better by finding this release on my own, without having to search around the world for it.
But, this is where the conundrum comes in: which track should you start with on this release? This is where I wish we hadn’t moved into the digital age of music reproduction: this is a release that would sound every bit as fantastic on vinyl as it does in digital format. If it were a set of vinyl records, I would tell you to take one of the records, put it on your turntable, and drop the needle on it someplace. It wouldn’t make a difference where, you would be listening to an excellent track, and could just soak in the experience.
But of course, this isn’t a vinyl record. And, in fact, I am grateful for that for several reasons. First, it would likely have been extremely difficult for these musicians to release this treasure trove of recordings if they had to get them mastered, pressed, etc. Even more difficult if they had needed to sign a contract with a record company to make these recordings. Even if they managed to release a record, it would be fairly unlikely that I would have found it, or gotten word about the release. The internet has done wonderful things for closing the gaps in communication around the world, and allows me to find releases like this much more easily.
Okay, so I still haven’t recommended a specific track to start with on this release, and I won’t recommend one. They are all excellent. This is a release that should be heard in its entirety. If you want to surprise yourself, I would say load this release on your music player, and play the tracks in random order, or in start-to-end sequence, or even start in the middle someplace and let your music player repeat from the beginning when it reaches the end.
Believe me, you won’t find a weak track on this release. If you love real dub music, you will love this release from Negritage from beginning to end.