Hifalutin ‘Animals In Dub’ (Private Press) 5/5

At a wonderfully traditional album running time of around 44 minutes, Hifalutin presents us with his creation, an uptown underground sixteen tracker with the vast majority of pieces running at under three minutes each, he seems to understand as an artist the importance of ‘attention span’ with one’s listeners, he gives just enough time for the listener to settle into a piece and to enjoy it for a moment in time then it fades out and on with the next. The tracks here on this album were originally released as two track EPs some time ago and more recently Hifalutin decided to release them all as one ‘Animals In Dub’ package.

Modern underground ‘fusion dub’ becoming more prominent now with Nepal resident and musician Hifalutin, a multi-instrumentalist that has the required knowledge and understanding of reggae and dub music – ‘that feel of the mix’ – and then he lets that feel shine through into his own particular trademark style of playing and then by adding just a little bit of something else – the way it’s blended together and mixed, he delivers here a very interesting instrumental dub album with a crisp clean modern sound alongside warm bass and low-end organ sections, he doesn’t over do it with echo’s and dubby effects they are there though presented in their many different forms and disguises with some nice dub vocal snippet inclusions appearing on some pieces.

Instrumentation wise you will hear some nice horns, most notably the muted trumpet on ‘Puddles Poodle Dub’ married with its wirly sounding Jackie Mittoo style organ, and whilst I’m on the subject – organs, you will discover some really cool organ work from his studio keyboards feature across the tracks, especially on another standout track ‘Monkey Fat Dub’, and on the organ led ‘Panda Dub’, with its fusion funky drum rhythm sections in contrast to its one drop sections yet predominantly this track is a pure groove funker.. in dub style and fashion of course. These funky rhythm sections (or prehaps they could be taken as medium speed Jungle rhythms) season many tracks throughout this album, as do occasional electric lead guitars, catching the ears with the Santana vibe superbly mixed ‘Come As You Aardvark’. Another standout track warranting a mention is ‘Elephant Dub’, on this he manages to encompass jazz/funk and drum ‘n’ bass/jungle into one cool rhythm track, yet in a dub style and fashion, this album is sounding good in both headphones and on studio monitors. An album of varying tempo and inspired styles; I really do feel a subliminal jazz vibe hovering around the whole, it’s quite possibly the superbly played horn section that gives this vibe, yet it’s funk, yet it’s drum ‘n’ bass, it also has its share of traditional minimalist steppa style such as ‘Turtle Dub’ and other one drop tracks.

Overall this is a laid back album helped along of course by the chilled bass lines. It has its own little punch though so be ready for the funky bits, do indulge yourself with this dub album for variety is the spice of life, for some reason that I simply cannot explain is that after listening to this album, each time that is, I’m drawn to searching out and playing certain tracks from the first three UB40 albums, not sure why to be exact, perhaps it’s something about the mixing and sound style similarities I’m picking up on with ‘Animals In Dub’ and by contrast with a handful of UB40 dub style tracks from that early period. Looking forward to the next Hifalutin album already.

Gibsy Rhodes