It’s been a year since we rocked to 2562′s debut album Unbalanced but those plate heads at Techonic have kept up the intensity with this double CD compilation with Hopeton Brown (aka dub legend Scientist) at the controls of the spaceship on the second disc.
For those that need a bit of history on Scientist, he was responsible for some of the best dub albums on the cusp of golden era roots reggae that happened to coincide with the best cover art on Greensleeves by Tony McDermott.
So when you get an acknowledged heavyweight like Scientist mixing up the latest stars of dubstep phase II like King Midas Sound, Mala (Gilles Peterson’s current fav), Shackleton and Distance (to name just a few) with brand new tracks, you know it’s going to be great.
After listening to some Black Ark period Lee Perry recently, you can hear the influences of the roots of the ‘original’ dubstep tracks; Mala was even saying he gets dubplates made up of old reggae tracks to play out with (all right if you can afford to I suppose). Anyway, in the style of the classic Scientist v Prince Jammy let’s go through a few of the most entertaining rounds.
Starting with ‘Round 1′, you don’t find many vocals on the Bristol waterfront, but Emila on Pinch’s ’2012′ is a well balanced opening exchange with the Afro-infusion of percussion that sounds like a helicopter attack on the Viet-Kong; Scientist’s version is a bit drugged out so Round 1 goes 10 – 8 for the original (note forgetting that label boss Pinch has form in this area as on the ‘Get Up’ release that featured Yolanda).
Rounds 2 and 3 sees Scientist move into a points lead as he does what no normal man should do with bass bins – not knock-out blows as such but ‘Originals’ know they’re in for a hell of a fight: but hey, it’s like Henry Cooper or Joe Bugner being in the same ring with Muhammad Ali, it’s just a honour being in the presence of a legend (and all the better to have a Scientist mix on your CV).
By Round 4, Shackleton, who is not you’re stereotypical dubhead, gets a lush tinkering up country so that round is even, but if we switch the analogy to Hackney Marshes footie; with Scientist taking a win on penalties.
And as Ninja Tune are still celebrating their XX anniversary (and, as an aside, if you missied Gilles Peterson’s XX special, don’t miss this week’s show as there’s an interview with Scientist and Pinch – see details below), are King Midas Sound (Roger Robinson and Kevin Martin) getting a transfer very soon? Perhaps Ninja Tune should be signing up Scientist as a in-house remixer; although I prefer the less scary original version of this one.
Loefah and Sgt. Pokes can claim to be true dubstep originals (like Mala, Kode9 & Spaceape) and I’d love to know what they make of Scientist take on their tracks but there’s very little in it for me to be fair – evenly impressive rounds.
Looking at the score-card, the big rounds for Scientist are 3 (Guido’s ‘Korg Back Dub’), 6. (Ill Kontent Dub has some big right ‘anders landing on Distance) and RSD with him in dancin’ in his old back yard with ‘After All Dub’ (seems to like the even rounds).
Jack Sparrow (who’s own album is out now, Circadian) and his track ‘Red Sand’ gets some Funk Mundial treatment (blimey, lets not confuse matters with Daniel Haaksman) but this is the top track for me on either CD along with the horror/torture of ‘Footsteps Dub’.
Perhaps the boxing analogy was never going to work and if this was a contest in the UFC there would be a serious risk of brain damage and more than usual low blows. Great to have Scientist mixing it up with the kids and perhaps he’s better thought of a Tectonic trainer and let’s hope this is the first of much further collaborations.
18 November – Fabric, London: Scientist vs The Upsetters, Pinch, Sgt Pokes, Mala and Loefah.
21 November – Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow: Fortified presents Scientist, Pinch, Sgt Pokes, Loefah and Electric Eliminators
24 November – Concorde 2, Brighton: Scientist vs The Upsetters, Pinch, Sgt Pokes, Mala and Loefah
Reviewed: V/A – Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space (Tectonic) Cat. No. TECCD010/TREC010 Release date: 29th November 2010
Tracklisting: Dubstep Originals
1. Pinch ft. Emila – 2012 (3:28)
2. Armour (Roly Vex’d) – The Long Way (4:40)
3. Guido – Korg Back (4:21)
4. Shackleton – Hackney Marshes (4:21)
5. King Midas Sound – U (5:01)
6. Loefah & SGT Pokes – Dog Money (7:21)
7. Distance – Ill Kontent (7:41)
8. RSD – After All (6:08)
9. Jack Sparrow – Red Sand (6:27)
10. Mala (Digital Mystikz) – City Cycle (5:08)
11. Cyrus (Random Trio) – Footsteps (4:57)
12. Kode9 & Spaceape – Abeng (6:08)
CD2: Scientist Mixes
1. Pinch ft. Emila – 2012 Dub (5:11)
2. Armour (Roly vex’d) – The Longway Dub (4:24)
3. Guido – Korg Back Dub (4:09)
4. Shackleton – Hackney Marshes Dub (4:40)
5. King Midas Sound – U Dub (3:28)
6. Loefah & Sgt. Pokes – Dog Money Dub (4:57)
7. Distance – Ill Kontent Dub (5:01)
8. RSD – After All Dub (4:00)
9. Jack Sparrow – Red Sand Dub (4:56)
10. Mala (Digital Mystikz) – City Cycle Dub (4:09)
11. Cyrus (Random Reio) – Footsteps Dub (4:56)
12. Kode9 & Spaceape – Abeng Dub (3:48)
Vice – Vol. 8 No. 10 www.viceland.co.uk 140 review by Thandie Neutron
Gilles Peterson 24 November 2010 02:00-04:00 BBC Radio 1 with Alice Russell in conversation & album preview and words and music from dub legend Scientist and recent collaborator, and Tectonic label boss, Pinch. They talked about their new remix project with dubstep heavy weights Mala, Loefah and King Midas Sound – Joining the musical dots – soul, hip-hop, house, Afro, Latin, dubstep, jazz and beyond. www.bbc.co.uk
Greensleeves – the first 100 covers. New St?ºssy book celebrates cover art of UK label Greensleeves http://creativereview.co.uk
Jazz Chronicles with Simon S, Martin Gordon and Gerry Hectic every first Saturday of the month – next up: 4th December at 3:00pm @ Sixty Million Postcards, Bournemouth