Review: Digitaldubs – #1

Review: Digitaldubs – #1

Digital Dubs – #1
Track Listing:
1.) Transe Amazonica (Abrindo Os Caminos)
2.) Fyah Bun Dem ft. Ranking Joe
3.) Bandido De Gravata ft. Dada Yute
4.) Pirate’s Game ft. Earl Sixteen
5.) Kaliman Dreams
6.) Jah Me Guia I ft. Jeru Banto
7.) War and Crime ft. Dad Yute
8.) Dub Echoes Theme
9.) Your Love Is Overdub ft. Brinsley Ford
10.) Liga Legalize ft. Jeru Banto
11.) Upbeat Vibes
12.) Sigue Tu Instinto ft. Tiano Bless
13.) Justice and Equality ft. Ranking Joe

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Record Label: ROIR Records
Official Website: Digitaldubs Website

Group Background:
Digitaldubs is a Brazilian reggae/dub act blending roots, dub and traditional Brazilian elements into their own global reggae cocktail. #1 is their first album to be released outside of Brazil. Their in house imprint, Muzamba, has already released a few wildly popular releases such as the Funk Milk Riddim, though this time around they have teamed up with NYC-based ROIR Records to unleash their fourth full-length.

Album Review:
I’ve always been very fond of reggae’s immense global appeal. Like Rock & Roll, reggae music has managed to carve out some following on almost every continent across the globe (due in no small part, I’m sure, to Rasta’s anti-imperialist stance). Digitalaldubs’s #1, their first release outside of their native Brazil, features an unrelenting assault of dub and dancehall, whose foundations are very clearly rooted in the original Jamaican tradition, however, the overall substance is peppered with elements of Brazilian Samba, English raga and other forms of digitally enhanced riddim attacks.

Although some of the dubs do move a bit slowly for my tastes, a majority of the album is rather enthralling and inventive, mixing traditional Brazilian rhythms, instruments and Portuguese lyrics with dub recording techniques. On tracks such as “Pirate’s Game” and “Your Love Is Overdub,” Digitaldubs utilize traditional Brazilian instrumentation, most notably the Charango and Samba percussion, to add a distinct Brazilian spice, marking them distinctly from the album’s more traditional dub and dancehall-influenced tracks.

Digitaldubs’s dub style leaves little to the imagination, mixing with a somewhat clearheaded element compared to typical dub aesthetics normally left awash in reverb and cavernous echo. There’s plenty of dub so to speak – echoes, warped vocal snippets and other forms of studio manipulation, but for the most part many of the tracks are left fairly untainted. Digitaldubs utilize their effects sparingly, instead relying on bass, complex polyrhythm and melody to drive the tracks, using their dub talents as complements to accentuate and emphasize, as opposed to allowing studio trickery to rule the soundscape.

From Colombian Cumbia to Middle Eastern Rai to Brazilian Samba, reggae music always finds a way to smuggle in elements of foreign lands to create a truly globalized listening experience. Digitaldubs, in addition to incorporating digital drum and bass elements found in dance scenes from England to Hong Kong, also manage to introduce a distinctly Brazilian element to the traditional reggae format. By combining and recontextualizing Brazil’s past, they create something of a sonic bridge between Jamaica and Brazil, celebrating shared history and a shared cultural affinity for bass and rhythm.

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

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