Saturday, April 30, 2016

Classic Album Review: Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979, 2016 Deluxe Edition)

Whatever you made of his dysfunctional personal life and some of his questionable choices, Michael Jackson was a once-in-a-generation pop genius. That part can't really be denied. His musical legacy speaks for itself.

I've written before about how Jackson's death in 2009 placed focus firmly back on his music. It was welcome development, in as much as it's ever possible to find a silver lining where the cloud of tragic early death is concerned. And so, some seven years on, space, distance, and time to reflect has offered us the chance to view things with a little more clarity - sans the daily dose of negativity provided by a predatory tabloid media intent on reporting his every move. What we're left with is a rather incredible body of work.

Thriller is, of course, the album most readily associated with Jackson. It is, after all, the biggest selling album of all-time, and that mid-Eighties period from Thriller's release in 1982 through to the Bad album in 1987 unquestionably represents something of a commercial peak for Michael Jackson. As successful as those landmark albums were, I don't buy the notion that either album found Jackson at his creative best. I'm of the view that 1979's Off The Wall was a superior work, and not just because it's the album which effectively launched his solo career. Or at least phase two, or the adult phase, of his solo career - Jackson having released four "solo" albums between 1972 and 1975 while still a member of the Jackson 5.

Off The Wall was his first release on Epic, and his first with producer Quincy Jones. The label change was significant because all of his previous work had been released under the Motown banner, with that label being notoriously strict in terms of maintaining creative control. The presence of Quincy Jones was a major development too, and the producer would go on to become a genuine confidante and mentor for Jackson over many years. The album also yielded Jackson's first Grammy.
 
But more than any of that, Off The Wall was the album that best captured Jackson at his youthful devil-may-care exuberant best. It felt like a coming-of-age release, a breakout for a young man whose talent and ambition clearly outstripped that of his brothers. This was the album where the boy became a man, a solo artist, and a global superstar in his own right.

It's certainly one of the first albums I can recall that had no obvious filler (within my admittedly very limited album scope at that time - I was practically a child myself when I discovered it). Or to put it another way, one of the first where every track had the potential to be released as a single - and five of the ten tracks did become singles, with opener 'Don't Stop Til You Get Enough' being the jewel in Jackson's metaphorical crown.

Actually, has there ever been a more joyous opening to an album than the fateful first thirty seconds of 'Don't Stop Til You Get Enough'? ... the "force", you know, it really does have a lot of power ... (*your blogger does his best MJ squeal for full effect*).

Feelin' The Force
That track itself stands as perhaps the definitive representation of Jackson's desire to break out and take things to a whole new level - the sense of youthful passion and unbridled freedom barely contained within 'Don't Stop' was something Jackson would struggle to replicate on later work (with arguably, large doses of outright cynicism creeping in over time, particularly in later years - see ‘Scream’ for just one obvious example).
 
Yet for all that Off The Wall was about Jackson breaking free - from the constraints of family and Motown - he got quite a lot of help along the way, with ‘Don’t Stop’ being one of only two Jackson originals on the album - the other being ‘Working Day And Night’. It was heavyweight help too, not just from Quincy Jones, but with song-writing contributions coming from Paul McCartney (‘Girlfriend’), Stevie Wonder (‘I Can’t Help It’), and Carole Bayer Sager (‘It’s The Falling In Love’). Rod Temperton (of chart funkers Heatwave) offered up second single ‘Rock With You’, and album closer ‘Burn This Disco Out’. Ultimately though, Jackson was able to stamp his own mark on each of these tunes, which is a measure of just how good Off The Wall was (and remains).

There’s also something quite special about the purity of Jackson’s voice in 1978/1979 when Off The Wall was recorded, with ‘She’s Out of My Life’ providing one of the more dramatic moments on the album, and certainly a genuine highlight in terms of vocal performance.

2016’s Deluxe edition is something of an oddity among so-called “legacy” releases in that it doesn’t contain any new or additional music. Rather, the standard album, albeit with spruced-up packaging, is accompanied by a DVD containing Spike Lee’s absorbing documentary ‘Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off The Wall’, which covers exactly what it says on the box.


The documentary is really quite specific to that mid-to-late Seventies period of Jackson’s life, so anyone expecting a career-spanning overview will be disappointed. And that’s perfectly fine, because Spike Lee digs very deep, examining the difficult transition from child prodigy to global superstar and all of the many peripheral factors surrounding that. How Jackson went about re-establishing himself as a credible artist in the wake of his departure from Motown. How something like the Jackson 5 cartoon TV series had adversely impacted on the public perception of what Jackson represented, or who he was, for example. That path was far from smooth, and the documentary is all the more essential for the depth of detail and context Spike Lee is able to provide.

There’s great concert footage from the era - some exhilarating stuff featuring Michael fronting The Jacksons, with the family band still very much a going concern during the making of Off The Wall (and well beyond). Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder contribute interview snippets, as do various members of the Jackson family, while the more contemporary likes of Pharrell Williams, Questlove, John Legend, and Mark Ronson are on hand to offer perspective on why the album is special to each of them. Why individual tracks are personal favourites etc. There’s discussion around the background of various tracks and the production processes for each; how the individual parts contribute to the greater whole.

And what a “whole” it is! Yes, Thriller is the one people will always refer to as Jackson’s masterpiece, and it’s hard to argue with sales or numbers alone, but without Off The Wall - and I’d argue it has aged better - there would have been no Thriller. It really is as simple as that.


 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Slice Of Heaven ... online

I’m just going to put this here. My regular reader (get a life, Mum!) will know how much I waffle on about NZ Musician magazine so it would be remiss of me not to share this fundraising campaign on behalf of the magazine. Even if I only reach a few people here. Basically, the now 27-year-old publication is the only hard-copy magazine which focuses solely on New Zealand music – it’s an industry staple for NZ-based musicians, written (mostly) by NZ-based musicians. It’s a complimentary magazine or music shop pick-up which pretty much relies on selling advertising space in order to survive. It generates very little income from sales (although there is a subscription offer available). The magazine’s website is currently undergoing a major revamp, with a big part of that project being a commitment to uploading the massive archive of past issues. Which essentially amounts to creating an online post-1990 history of everything good and great about New Zealand music. Hell, even the bits that aren’t so good or so great. That naturally means a lot of additional resource and cost on a very limited budget. Which is where you come in. I figure, if you’re here visiting everythingsgonegreen – quite aside from being a bit bonkers – you’re probably a music fan. Most likely a NZ-based fan of NZ music. So you know what needs to happen next. As good causes go, this one is near and dear. Click here and throw some copper at the best fundraising opportunity you’ll get all year … and check out this colourful montage of magazine covers ...



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Big Youth - Screaming Target - Higher Light Remix

Coming to us out of France earlier this week, via Brigante Records, a Higher Light remix album featuring five tracks (and five dub versions thereof) from Big Youth's album Screaming Target. Released in 1972, Screaming Target is widely regarded as a stone cold classic within Jamaican DJ circles, and Higher Light's digi-bass-centric treatment takes nothing away from the vocals of ace toaster Big Youth on this updated re-versioning. Check it out - it's a free download on the Brigante Records Bandcamp page:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prince and I: Farewell to The Purple One

When I logged onto my various social media handles on Friday morning (NZT) I could scarcely believe what I was reading. It had to be a hoax. Some sick joke. It was April 22nd not April 1st, and hadn't 2016 already been enough of a cruel mistress to music fans and pop culture fiends? Apparently not. Prince was dead. At just 57 years of age.

I wasn’t a fan of everything Prince did. His output was always a bit hit and miss for me, and I’ll admit that I’m unfamiliar with all but his most recent of post-2000 work. But the Prince stuff I did like, I absolutely loved, even if it wasn’t always the most obvious stuff. For example, I never quite got the whole Purple Rain thing, the album and the movie, and for me, many of the songs from that era felt a little too wannabe-Hendrix, and just wound up being too Hendrix-lite. Yet for many, that work and that period is what he’ll be best remembered for. I get that. And I get that he was a sensational guitarist in his own right. Apologies, Prince, it wasn’t you, it was me.
 
 
That said, there was a lot to love, and like Bowie before him, Prince was one of those artists who was omnipresent throughout my lifetime. He was everywhere, sound-tracking everything, for better and for worse. That’s why people mourn. We didn’t know the man personally, we’re not family, but we grieve because he takes a little bit of each of us, snippets of our past, with him. Or rather, we’ve taken bits of Prince (songs, albums, movies) and made them part of our lives. We mourn the memory of that. The loss of that. That’s how I see it. How I saw it with Bowie, Michael Jackson before that, and now with Prince.

Rather than pen some sort of obituary, which I’m ill-equipped to write, I thought I’d celebrate his life and mark his passing with a short list of five key Prince moments, as they relate specifically to me and to my life. The reasons why I consider myself a Prince fan – while not a fan of everything he did. If you can appreciate the distinction. This is the stuff I loved (and love). My own most memorable Prince moments, if you will:

I Wanna Be Your Lover

… “I want to be your brother, I want to be your mother and your sister, too. There ain't no other. That can do the things that I'll do to you” … I was a mere slip of a schoolboy in late 1979 or early 1980 when Prince burst into my eardrums with this sublime piece of sleaze-funk. It was everything Michael Jackson wasn’t. Not wholesome and glossy. It was down and dirty. Sly and suggestive. Full of exactly the sort of thing that would get any pubescent schoolboy sniggering covertly. I’m sure I recall an interview I read, around this time, or perhaps it was a few years later, where Prince talked about being fascinated by porn. It may have even referred to his Mum’s collection of porn magazines … yes, his Mum’s collection … and it all just seemed too weird to even contemplate. Weird, but kind of honest and exciting. Like nobody else was. ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ was his first big hit, and his reputation as the beholder of disco’s dirtiest mind was cemented with the release of the Dirty Mind (yes!) and Controversy albums in 1980 and 1981. Note that it wasn’t the things he’d do “for” us, it was the things he’d do “to” us … the dirty blighter.
 
Under The Cherry Moon

Everybody raves about Purple Rain. The song, the album, the movie, and the era. And to be fair, everything Prince touched between 1982 and 1985 turned to gold. Platinum or triple platinum, even. And Purple Rain garnered Prince an Oscar for best score. I wasn’t a fan. A couple of years later, Prince won a Golden Raspberry – the opposite of an Oscar, and yes it is an actual thing – for his acting and directing of Under The Cherry Moon. It was, from all accounts, an awful film. Or should I say, from all “other” accounts, because to this day I still love Under The Cherry Moon. I love its blatant attempt to rip-off so-called “film noir” sensibilities – it was shot entirely in black and white, and reeked of all things art deco. I love that it was superficial and pretentious. For all that critics pan it precisely for those characteristics, it was exactly as it’s supposed to be. It’s a story of forbidden love and Prince was wonderful in the lead role as Christopher Tracy. Okay, some of his acting was ridiculous, but it’s wonderful because he was hilarious rather than occasionally terrible. None of that is really all that important though – the best thing about Under The Cherry Moon is that it was sound-tracked by Prince’s 1986 album Parade, which was, according to me, the second best album he ever made (see ‘Kiss’, ‘Girls And Boys’, and the brilliant slice of sleeper-funk that is ‘Mountains’). I had a cassette copy of Parade in my car for years and it never let me down as a reliable go-to listen.

Sign O The Times

It’s 1987, and I’m sitting in the lounge of my Rintoul Street (Wellington, NZ) flat, while my flatmate John, a local club DJ, is introducing me to his latest batch of brand new vinyl when suddenly, boom! … “in France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name. By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same. At home there are seventeen-year-old boys and their idea of fun is being in a gang called 'The Disciples' high on crack, totin' a machine gun” … right there, dance music would never be quite the same ever again. One of those “where were you when you first heard?” moments I still recall three decades later. Like I say, forget Purple Rain, forget going crazy, crying doves, little red corvettes, raspberry berets, or partying like it’s 1999. ‘Sign O The Times’ was Prince’s true masterpiece. As a song and as an album. This was a career highpoint and he’d gone from faux-Hendrix porn-funker to right-on social commentator in one giant leap. And of course it helped that the tune’s relatively simple groove struts along like a particularly cocky free-range rooster on acid. One of the best songs of its decade, and it almost felt like Prince wasn’t even trying.

Nothing Compares 2 U

I love how Prince used text-speak way before texts were even a thing. Actually, I’m quite sure there was a lot of stuff he did way before other mere mortals caught on. But we won’t go into those gory details here. This is a family blog. Would Sinead O’Connor have been the star she became if he hadn’t written this break-up masterclass and gifted it to her? I very much doubt it. There was talent there, for sure, but ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ launched the crazy baldhead into the global stratosphere (albeit temporarily). I was going through a particularly dramatic relationship breakdown in late 1989, early 1990, when this was all the rage, and I came to despise everything about this song. Except Sinead, who I’d formed a secret relationship with (if only she’d known, huh?). Which basically means I liked the song so much, I gorged myself on it until I was utterly heart sick of it. To the extent I couldn’t bear to listen to it ever again. Gawd, what a lame arse. I can laugh about it now of course (*weak smile*) and it wasn’t until a few years later that I learned our man had written it. Suddenly the mist cleared and everything made sense. Prince’s version is great if not quite as compelling.
 
Gett Off!

… “Get off, twenty three positions in a one night stand. Get off, I'll only call you after if you say I can. Get off, let a woman be a woman and a man be a man (squeal)” … it was the autumn of 1992 and I fancied myself as a club-night promoter. My closest friend (of the day) and I hired Wellington’s Reactor nightclub (in Edward Street, above what is now Meow) and planned for a Sunday night gig. We called the night “Delerium”, and as it turned out, all the fun was in the weeks of promotion and not the actual event itself. It rained heavily on the night. We had friends run the door. They had friends who had names on the door. Hardly anyone paid to get in. The bar staff were our friends and friends of the clientele. Hardly anyone bought drinks. We had an acoustic duo (an early version of what would become the hard-rocking Desert Road band) open the night. Then a performance DJ (DJ Glide) and three or four other DJs. Then an “exotic dancer” from Brazil. Everyone needed to be paid. My friend and I lost a lot of money. It was a night I wanted to forget, but the performance of the exotic dancer – a hunk of a man called Marconi, who later became a male trolley dolly on a TV show called Sale of the Century – was something I can never really forget. His performance – like his cladding – was brief, and he danced to Prince’s ‘Gett Off’ like nobody had ever danced to anything else (ever) … it showcased Prince at his finest, and sleaze-funk was evidently right back on top (no pun). And that four-to-five minutes of bittersweet turmoil will always best represent Nineties’ Prince for me, albeit Prince as interpreted by somebody else’s moves. As much as I’ve tried to forget. It partially saved an otherwise rather forlorn night.

And so we come full circle. Prince means many things to many people. Many different things to many different people. For me, he was a musical genius who gave me all of the moments listed above. And a whole lot more. He’ll have touched you (and many others) in completely different ways, obviously, but just writing this has been a form of catharsis for me. A way of trying to give his sudden death some kind of context or perspective. I’m lucky to be able to share these memories with you. Thanks for reading. And thanks Prince, for being there all the way.

R.I.P Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Diversity And Collaboration

I mentioned a little while back that I was lucky enough to collaborate on the cover feature for the February/March 2016 issue of NZ Musician. My interview with up-and-coming young Auckland-based hip hop/jazz/pop/jam outfit Yoko-Zuna took place during the height of the festive season, and although I was pretty satisfied with the final result, it was a far from straightforward process involving a couple of revised versions of the feature. It all felt a little messy from my perspective, but ultimately we got there in the end. Since then I’ve been afforded an advance listen of the band’s next release – an EP – which sounds every bit as good as last year’s impressive debut album. I can’t wait for that one to be released, and firmly believe Yoko-Zuna have a very big future. Click here to read the very appropriately titled Diversity and Collaboration.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Album Review: Pet Shop Boys - Super (2016)

Damn you, Pet Shop Boys. With your superficial gloss and flash bombastic hooks. And damn my insomnia. With the annoying "and they called us the pop kids" refrain/chorus (from PSB's latest cheesy single) repeating itself mercilessly over and over in my head all throughout the night.

Where’s the humanity?

'The Pop Kids' is the first offering from Super, album number 13 from the Pet Shop Boys. Super also happens to be the duo's 13th consecutive studio album with a one-word title. As things stand, a couple of listens in - and I'm not sure I can bear another - it really doesn't appeal as being particularly super. Quite the opposite.

I know I'm not supposed to take this stuff too seriously. It's shameless pop and PSB haven't been relevant on any "serious" level for at least a quarter of a century. If they ever were at all. I'm not even really sure why I picked this one up. Seduced perhaps by the ever-so-slight return to form that was 2013's Electric, which at least contained the wonderful 'Fluorescent'. There's nothing quite so mitigating here, despite Stuart Price again being on production duties.

All the usual themes abound - nights out (not least on the aforementioned 'The Pop Kids'), relationships, reflections on a distant youth etc. But mostly this becomes an exercise in self-parody, and where you could once rely on PSB to throw up a requisite quota of clever irony or amusing lyrics, even that is no longer guaranteed. It's perhaps telling that the best thing on Super is the track which contains the least number of words or lyrics (and/or therefore vocals), a retro club banger called 'Inner Sanctum' - and even that's a gigantic slab of cheddar.

Sample lyric, on 'Burn':

… "all the stars are flashing high above the sea, and the party is on fire around you and me, we're gonna burn this disco down before the morning comes (repeat three times) .... it feels so good (repeat four times)" ...

Really? Yawn. All hooks aside, I'm not convinced it does actually feel all that good anymore … and did the world really need yet another song about burning down the disco? (cliché much?)

If Electric was indeed the return to form it was touted to be at the time, then it was surely only a temporary condition, and Super has the duo slipping back into a form of auto-pilot, back to type, with irrelevant lightweight fluff very much the order of the day.

In my review for Electric I wrote about my own deteriorating relationship with the duo’s music over the years, concluding that I was a very conditional and still only occasional “fan”, but Super takes things to a new low, and this time out I fear our differences have finally become irreconcilable.
 
Here's 'Inner Sanctum' ...
 
 
 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Classic Album Review: Sisters Of Mercy – Some Girls Wander By Mistake (1992)

The fact that Some Girls Wander By Mistake went on to become the highest charting Sisters of Mercy album of all won’t be lost on fans of the band’s earliest independent EP-based output. Some Girls Wander is basically a compilation of most of that material – including the feted ‘Reptile House’ EP – and it showcases a large portion of the band’s very best work.

Most of this stuff never made it on to any other Sisters album – although ‘Temple Of Love’ and ‘Alice’ quite rightly feature on the “greatest hits” package, A Slight Case Of Overbombing – and for that reason alone Some Girls Wander is (by both design and default) pretty much essential for any next generation Sisters fanatic. Especially given that playable vinyl copies of the original EPs are difficult to source these days.

Some of the material found on Some Girls Wander can be a little challenging at times if you’re not already familiar with the band’s earliest work, which often veers towards the more industrial end of the alternative and goth scales, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I suppose one of the consequences of belatedly compiling EPs is a lack of the sort of natural cohesion you might ordinarily expect from say, a studio album.

But since there were only three studio albums and one other compilation (the aforementioned Slight Case) – outwith a plethora of poorly recorded bootlegs and unofficial “live” recordings – this is an important release within the context and wider career of the Sisters of Mercy.

‘Temple Of Love’ is a definite highlight, and it’s great to have the original version on here, as opposed to the slightly inferior 1992 reworking that preceded this album’s release. It almost goes without saying that ‘Alice’ is another obvious classic, but we also get a brilliant cover of ‘1969’ (The Stooges) and a fairly decent attempt at ‘Gimme Shelter’ (Rolling Stones).

However, I was a little disappointed that ‘Emma’ (Hot Chocolate … believe it or not!) never made the cut, as I always regarded that particular EP track as a genuine hidden gem within the band’s back catalogue, even if only for its ever so slightly twisted vocal performance.

That’s only a minor complaint though, and Some Girls Wander By Mistake would have to rate right up there with the very best of its genre, and certainly it sits comfortably alongside Floodland and the band’s debut album as an essential Sisters of Mercy release.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Album Review: Lontalius - I'll Forget 17 (2016)

In pop music, specifically pop music, there’s always “a next big thing”. They come and they go. Some live up to the initial hype and stick around a while. Some struggle to make the cut beyond that first fateful brush with fame. Others are merely figments of some publicist’s over active imagination and are usually undeserving of the tag in the first place.

In a local (New Zealand) context, every once in a while, our own next big thing goes onto to become a very big thing on the global stage – in recent times think: Lorde, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, perhaps Broods and one or two others. I suppose “very big thing” starts to become subjective, relative, and a little cloudy beyond only the most obvious of names (Janine and The Mixtape, anyone?) …
And so we come to 19-year-old Wellingtonian Eddie Johnston, aka Lontalius, aka Race Banyon, aka New Zealand’s latest teenage prodigy; an unassuming young man with an enormous amount of genuine talent. I’ve seen Johnston perform live a few times wearing his Race Banyon hat, in Auckland and in Wellington, and it’s fair to say I’ve walked away from the gig on each occasion utterly convinced that I’ve just had a rare glimpse into the future.
It’s under the Lontalius guise that Johnston has just released his official debut album, I’ll Forget 17. I say “official” because he released something akin to an album as Lontalius on Bandcamp a few years back (a giveaway set of very short tunes), he’s released several digital-only albums of covers, and he’s also put stuff out under the Race Banyon moniker, most notably, the terrific Whatever Dreams Are Made Of EP release of mid-2013.
I have to be completely honest here though: as much as I’ll Forget 17 showcases just how talented Johnston is as a songwriter and as a composer, it doesn’t really speak to me as a grizzly middle-aged man (read: cynical greybeard). I much prefer the Race Banyon work – intense warm electronic glitchy techno.
In all fairness, I get that I’m probably not the target demographic for Lontalius, and although the album doesn’t grab me – it’s a little too Drake-influenced, too heart-on-sleeve “emo” (for want of a better description), and I’ve a natural aversion to all things autotune, of which there’s an awful lot – that doesn’t mean I don’t see it or appreciate it for what it is: beautifully crafted pop music made for the generation of its creator. I’m pretty certain this one will hold huge appeal for my teenage daughters, for example.
Johnston shapes these ten songs with all the precision and maturity of a production veteran, giving them requisite amounts of drama where needed, and vast swathes of space when they need to breathe. Songs like ‘All I Wanna Say’ and ‘Glow’ are things of rare beauty, heartfelt and intimate, close and claustrophobic, and there’s a very real sense that this is Johnston putting it all out there, laying it bare as honestly as only he knows how. This is bedroom pop taken to another level.
Dare I say it, putting aside the notion that autotune or processed vocals represent something of a cop-out to listeners of a certain generation, we may all look back on this release one day as the first giant stride towards the pop masterpiece that Eddie Johnston (in whatever guise he chooses) is surely destined to make. I’ll Forget 17 isn’t quite all that (yet), but you’d be foolish not to acknowledge the massive potential on show.
One of the pesky issues confronting those lumbered with that awkward “next big thing” label – and it isn’t a tag always welcomed wholesale by the bearer – has always been the tendency for young artists to become typecast too soon, or to be stifled by an inability to move on or evolve musically. I really don’t think we’ll see that with Johnston. There’s real talent here and certainly enough self-awareness to make the often difficult transition to the next phase of his career. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, just as Johnston himself surely isn’t. That’s for the future, and pop music is nothing if it’s not all about the now, the present, and living in the moment. So watch this space.
Postscript: The Wellington version of the album release party takes place at Prefab this Friday, April 15. It’s officially an “all ages” gig but I had to laugh when Johnston joked on social media a few days back that he was going to put a “cool teens only” sign up at the door. Clearly he knows his market. I also know my place, so I’ll stick to Race Banyon sets for now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Around The World In Dub (again)

Brand new, out on Dan Dada Records, the seventh and eighth editions (or fourth release) of Echo Chamber's Around the World in Dub compilation series. A free download and sampler of vital new dubby sounds from regular favourites like Bandulu Dub, DU3normal, and Secret Archives of the Vatican ... plus many more ... check out earlier releases in the series on the Dan Dada Bandcamp page, or tune into the Echo Chamber broadcasts at the links in the official blurb below:

For the last 20 years Dr. StrangeDub (Michael Rose) and DJ Baby Swiss (Elmar Romain) have been bringing dubwise sounds to the massive on their radio program the Echo Chamber. With the heaviest dubs, the most conscious roots, and the funkiest club beats from around the world, all chilled and expertly mixed into a subsonic stew, the Echo Chamber is always the hippest place to be every Wednesday morning (from 2:00 to 6:00 a.m US CST). The program airs on KFAI-FM in Minneapolis, MN (U.S.A.) at the 90.3 and 106.7 frequencies, and streams online at www.kfai.org. Find the playlists and two most recent programs in the KFAI-FM archive at: www.kfai.org/echochamber. Also check the two online archives of past shows: Mixcloud -- www.mixcloud.com/strangedub. Internet Archive -- archive.org/details/@doctorstrangedub.

A typical show features a heavy dose of modern roots dub reggae and a potent shot of old school roots, rocksteady, a bit of ska, and dub. But reggae & dub just lays the foundation and holds the trip together: the DJ dub doctors pull in the heaviest chilled beats from clubs around the world – from dubstep to cumbia, from trip-hop to drum & bass, from deep house to ethno-ambient electronica. For this compilation, the Echo Chamber has once again teamed up with Bandulu Dub and Dan Dada Records to present a worldwide trip into Dub. This collection represents a broad variety of musical styles...and spans the globe in doing so. This is very much in keeping with the eclectic "anything goes" format of the Echo Chamber radio program – where “dub” is as much an attitude or approach to music as it is a genre of music. On behalf of Dan Dada Records, Dr. StrangeDub and DJ Baby Swiss extend our undying gratitude to all the artists and record labels that agreed to be a part of this worldwide dubwise project! Spreading the positive dubwise vibe to the world ...