Dub Gabriel Ascend

Dub Gabriel, head honcho of Baboon Records, produces a smooth and compelling version global dub stylee, with forays into North Africa, Tibet, India and Brooklyn for inspiration. This record sounds great: it's expertly put together and never sounds like a pastiche of influences. Two issues keep Ascend from being fully successful. Its song structures are sometimes an extended tease — long intro statements build to the point where Jericho-shattering beats are going to drop, then — a quick fade. Elsewhere, static break-beats chug along, then — a quick fade. These quick fades relate to the other problem with Ascend: the whole thing sounds like hard drive music. Music recorded with portable gear runs the risk of sounding like it’s all in the same space, lending a very even temper to something that should sound wilder. The best tunes are those which use heavy breaks because the box seems to treat them better; the atmospheric tracks just don't have enough room to breathe. Track for track this is a worthy album, but songs lose their individuality as the disc progresses until the very end when the junglist title tune slams it home. (Baboon)