Dubmatix Champion Sound Clash

Dubmatix is the nom de groove of J.E. King, and it pretty much sums up the sound of this disc: electronic dub. His production sounds a little like Jah Warrior — meant for dancing, not meditating — but with a warmer sound and more live instrumentation. A clutch of tracks, like "Black Nile Dub," are as clubwise as they are dubwise, with a disco-derived hi-hat anchored by a rolling bass line seldom heard in house anymore, but essentially updating the "flying cymbals" sound of the mid-’70s. As the album wears on, the songs become slower and more spacious allowing for more effects and some instrumental soloing. Using I-Sax on horns is always a good idea; he always brings great riffs and improv tactics to the table: he could be Canada's answer to Dean Fraser minus the cheese. It doesn't hurt that King's dad, well-known jazz keyboardist Bill King, also contributes some tasty solos on clavinet and organ. The vocal contributions are OK, like most dub releases, they're composed of fairly disconnected lines of lyrics that end up being open ended statements rather than coherent sentiments. There are only a couple of unworthy tracks on this lengthy debut. All things considered, King has created an assured, polished and individual release that should receive a lot of airplay around Canada. Hopefully labels like Guidance will want to license tracks, because these should go worldwide. (Soul Stepper)