This new dub album from Yabass Yaba Radics follows up the recent well-received ‘Community Rocker’ (see reggaemusic.org.uk 12th January 2013) with nine further tracks in a retro dubplate style.
Grouped around a spoof Western theme, Dubplate Drifter opens with ‘Arrival’ – a repeating two chord instrumental with its drums and bass rhythm becoming a little more assertive toward the end – before the more muscular ‘Everyday Hustling’ bursts in with some classic dub styling held together by a powerful bass, with a hint of Tubby-era hi-hat in there somewhere too. A very decent dub. ‘Saloon Wondering’ (nice word play on ‘Everyday Wondering’ to be found in these two track titles..?) follows through with another steady dub in the old style, while the final track on ‘Reel One’ offers a melodica-sound that conjures up the intended spaghetti Western theme, reflected in its title ‘Big Chief Van Cleef’. Most of the tracks on ‘Reel Two’ are perhaps too similarly slow in tempo, demanding of a bit more light and shade, though ‘Heavy Horse’ is worthy of attention, its bass phrase and drum mixed up-front, with everything else much further back in the rhythm. ‘The Rapids’ is, in contrast, a more uptempo rhythm track with a fine dubbed-up sound, instrumentation fading in and out in the familiar dub style.
As an instrumental album in the continuous dubplate style of releases of the past, the music fits the feel of the dub tradition and generates an atmospheric sound consistent with its theme. Produced by Gibsy Rhodes, and mastered at Maximal Sound in France, the imperfections of the sound are more than made up for by the period feel of the music and the sympathetic production throughout.
Yabass Yaba Radics: Dubplate Drifter. Release 20th April 2013 on CD, DDL and tape (Smash N Grab/Springline Jamaica label).