..And, by contrast to my previous review for a digi dub steppers album have I indeed managed to come across a breath of fresher air? A more adventurous and progressive path? Perhaps we have an album here that may just be the savior of this somewhat tired genre by its engaging in forward thinking retrospectiveness and entering the third wave of digi dub creativity with attitude.
A four sided double vinyl LP with each side having its own set of progressions and craftily blended segments, with each side having its own unique atmosphere as, seemingly, at this point in time only the one Weeding Dub can achieve. (Not forgetting Mayd Hubb) A colossal album of twenty tracks of which 4 are stand alone’s and 8 with their dub versions with each side having a stand alone track to either start the set or to finish the set.
It becomes clear that a lot of thought has gone into the presentation of this album, both its track listing and ‘sets’ concept of each side and also the eye-catching and well presented album artwork of which to be honest can only be appreciated fully on a vinyl album canvass in full size.
So what of the music contained within..?
Side A kicks off with the album’s title track, a kind of manic uptempo instru steppers piece a bit reminiscent (ish) of UB40s ‘Madame Medusa’ or ‘Reefer Madness’ but on high-octane uppers with wonderfully positively aggressive shades of dub producer Don Fe underlying the mix with a raucous percussion and those ‘drippy droppy’ dreamy snare drum tones and effects. The next piece on Side A is a pretty standard mid tempo affair, basically a voicing track to display the very apt tones of guest vocalist Dixie Peach entitled ‘Make Dem Know’ and although the voicing track doesn’t really hold its own as a stand alone work its dub version ‘Make Dem Dub’ fares better and it’s the dub version that enables Weeding Dub to commence his eclectic progression featuring some very inventive ultra heavy filtering and effect manipulations. ‘Rise Up’ and its dub version are much stronger works featuring the smooth and heartfelt vocal tones of another guest vocalist Oulda with its dub version touching then progressing beyond Don Fe mixdown territory, even surpassing Doktor Lond with Weeding Dub’s full-out assault on the dub mixing board. This ‘set’ Side A receives a healthy 3 out of 5.
Side B kicks off with the very quirky and addictive upbeat number featuring the guest vocals of Nish Wadada, vocals full of soul that compliment the voicing mix of ‘Let Go’ which could be a great contender as a single from the album as could be a piece from this same set and that finishes Side B the loony tune that is ‘Skankertainer’. The excellently and aptly titled ‘Big Men Of The World’ draws attention, again featuring guest vocalist Oulda, this piece a mid tempo (downbeat) UK Ska styled sounding affair with and by contrast with a laid back roots vocal by Oulda who rides the Ska riddim in fine style and passion and although the drum settings on this particular piece are somewhat, weak sounding, overall it’s a very strong creative statement. Side B is quirky, eclectic and warrants a nice five out of five.
Side C kicks off with a standard digi dub instrumental workout complete with alternate version ‘The Lions Claw’ which then gives way to a three version excursion that is a piece called ‘Artikal Stepper’ which again is a standard ‘set in stone’ offering from the genre and although it’s an OK tune why Weeding Dub deemed it his pleasure to give the ears two other almost similar versions of the same piece is beyond me and side C for me is the low point of the complete whole creatively yet still interesting enough to warrant a lightweight three out of five for Side C.
Side D is the one for me, the most artistic, eclectic and adventurous ‘set’ on the album and although to die-hard ‘by numbers’ fans of looping digi dub this set may not be their cup of tea, perhaps a little over eccentric for their ears? Yet it is ultra out there with its progression and attitude in manipulating the possibilities of dub in the digital studio and it is this ‘set’ where Weeding Dub showcases his full potential as a creative force.
Track 16 and kicking off Side D is the wonderfully off-piste creation that is ‘Dub Soldier Forever’ with its robot voiceovers and minimalist antidote to the ‘by numbers’ mentality of old and its dub version further displays this antidote, I am digging this full on. Followed by a piece called ‘Can’t Understand’ which has the strains of, a vibe very reminiscent to the UK Beat, Dave Wakeling and crew of old, a touch of General Public with its slight dystopian and dreamlike quality with guest vocals by Shanti D, its alternate version ‘Can’t Understand pt4’ is pure On U Sound mentality, retrospective progression and with a punk attitude, in dub. What a journey this double album has been, it finishes with the nicely played synth drums of ‘Afuryca’ a heavyweight one drop instru dub which calmly and confidently ends the set and the album. Side D receives a large five out of five.
Weeding Dub has been part of the underground scene creating and collaborating for nigh on twenty years, this is his 5th album release, his debut album was released back in 2004 entitled ‘Steppactivism’. With this new album ‘Another Night Another Day’ he has set a new benchmark both musically and in artistic presentation for the digi dub steppers and beyond genre and weighing up the marks for each ‘set’ from each side of this double album it remains for me to declare that a very heavy indeed 4/5 is awarded, so close to a five it’s tempting with only the lacklustre and staid Side C standing in the way of that. A very cool must have album for all ears that dig the sound of dub today and its progression. Forward march Weeding Dub. I may just buy a record player now.