In 1983 I truly discovered dub, one of the first, if not the first, dub albums I bought on vinyl 33rpm at the age of 16 was Dub Me Crazy Pt.4 (Escape To The Asylum Of Dub) it was after hearing that seminal epic ‘Rasta Chase’ on a mixtape given to me by an old punk in our suburb near London and after some research by foot and word of mouth I managed to track down ‘Rasta Chase’ on vinyl, on Dub Me Crazy Pt.4 by UK dub pioneer Mad Professor.
Fast forward presque 35 years and a new Mad Professor album has landed on my laptop and after listening to the first three dubs in order I have come to the humble conclusion that this new release by the prof is pure art in dub, its velvet quality, its intelligence of mixdown and as one would expect and hope for with the prof.. some over the top wackyness in the mix. Cliff edge moments that he takes your senses to and then masterfully steers those senses away just before oblivion and not forgetting of course the old and still loved by dub fans; vocal snippets that cut abruptly with echo or big delayed reverb tried and tested many times also by the one Mr. Perry many moons ago.
‘In The Midst Of The Storm’ is a nine track dub masterpiece with Jah9 providing her trademark spiritual, yet strong, poet tones and her contribution does not warrant understatement, a voice from the soul she absolutely shines in these sessions giving the prof ultimate vocal armament to delight one’s ears with his ever so trademark tape echo speed control journeys that we have become accustomed to on the UK dub scene stretching back 4 decades now.
The crucially laid back extended jamming intro of ‘Moth To A Dub’, gives way to the main piece of the track by slipping into the lush velvet tones of Jah9 and her onctueuse pure reggae backing track then comes the dystopian futuremare that is ‘Fountain Dub’, conjuring up all sorts of bleak urban images with otherworldly synth flurries and effects over a minimal riddim track perhaps feeling paradoxically so to the listener seeing that large chunks of the composition have a tropical lounge flavour complete with a muted trumpet, yet they simply don’t clash, a dystopian dub cocktail.
If you happen to dig the sounds of underground artists such as Earlyworm, The Dub Project and a touch of Bill Laswell, then the piece entitled ‘Dub Prevail’ will entice you to keep the album playing, this piece even has its own mini ‘live in Pompeii’ guitar moment. This is no ‘skip track’ business, every piece has its own unique vibe and style journey and with every piece being ever so moorish I continue to listen… African percussion rhythms, flutes, acoustic guitars and ghost bass filter effects herald the ‘laying on a meadow amongst the dub daisies’ pleasure that is ‘Strumming Dub’. I continue to listen… That wackyness I mentioned earlier on? That cliff edge micro second? Examples in at 2’16 to 2’50 within the piece entitled ‘Lioness Order Dub’. I continue to listen…
This is no candyfloss creator – this is the Grandmaster of his trade. Une merveilleuse expérience d’Ècoute l’artwork pour l’album est cool aussi. An album for all environments. .In The Midst Of A Storm. is released on VP Records as vinyl 33rpm. Award for the most artistically structured dub album of 2017? Well, it has a 5/5 for me.