Brain Damage Spoken Dub Manifesto

This is most likely the most ambitious dub poetry album ever. Dub poetry has always lent itself to some pretty forward thinking musical settings from LKJ’s Anglo roots reconstructions to Clifton Joseph’s stylistic mash-ups. Spoken Dub Manifesto goes one better: not only is the music on this disc ambitious and relentlessly pummelling, but the whole concept of "dub poetry” is exploded. Whether in English, Japanese or Arabic, the feel is Blade Runner dub all the way. Paranoid, but extraordinary toasts are set to resolutely electronic dub techniques, recognisable as dub mostly for the dark and jagged bass lines and endless delay variations. A decade and a half ago, this record would have been called "industrial” — check Mark Stewart on one track — but there are also many well integrated sounds and sonorities from all over the world. Mohammed El Amraoui’s "Fenetres” is rapid-fire, then slinky Arabic MCing over clattered oud samples and a techno-fied one-drop. Giovanni Marks’ Eminem-ish flow on "Embolism” has one looking to the fast forward button until the track implodes into an absorbing stream-of-consciousness observational humour session in the studio with delays. The penultimate treatment is Bart Plantenga’s drunken thrill-ride through the streets of New York over the most elemental, up and down rhythm. This ain’t roots. This is another quasar on the fringe of the reggae universe. (Jarring Effects)