Lion’s Den, inspired by founder Ras Lion, is variously a label, studio, collective and soundsystem based in Germany and London. It’s been active in assembling different artists and producers to generate contemporary output in dub, dubstep and reggae – as well as running DubDerGutenHoffnung, a regular dub night in Berlin.
This first release from Lion’s Den is a four-track EP (vinyl/DDL), with Lyon-based producer Panda Dub generating different versions around the common riddim track. It opens with Daddy Freddy’s Hot A Di Press in a soundsystem style. An artist with a history of Jamaican collaboration with Sugar Minott, and involvement with the Studio One label, Freddy since developed his own dancehall/hip-hop style. Here he offers a relatively slow but assertive delivery against a growling bass sound while the pressure gradually builds it all up. Next it’s ‘original Rasta MC’ Brother Culture who has worked in the past with several reggae outfits reviewed on reggaemusic.org.uk including Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Reggae Roast and Dubmatix. On this track, Dance Teng, he brings a good 80s-style dancehall/MC sound to the basic rhythm. Next up, Kali Green’s Hard Working adds another distinctive vocal layer to complement the backing track. Panda Dub rounds things off with Lent Roots Pour Dub – a sharp steppers/electro-dub sound beginning with snatches of the different vocal tracks before powering along with an instrumental overlay that would keep any dub/dubstep audience happy. The track finally evolves into a straight and curiously subtle reggae rhythm – an excellent conclusion and reason for good hope indeed.