Roots Tonic Roots Tonic Meets Bill Laswell

It seems that Bill Laswell must have got on better creatively with Matisyahu’s backing band than with Matisyahu himself. Whereas the Laswell produced Youth disc never quite makes complete sense, Roots Tonic Meets Bill Laswell has the stars aligning for what will surely be considered a classic of the dub genre. The work of a producer is usually that of construction but a good "dubber” is first and foremost a "de-constructionalist,” extracting the essence of a song and then redefining it through outboard and plug-in studio effects. Last year Laswell turned the genre on its head with two Trojan Dub Massive discs and thankfully he has stayed the course with Roots Tonic. The array of sounds and sonic colours on opening track "Road to Axum” alone is startling. It makes you wonder if what King Tubby was doing in the early ’70s could even be related to this — the evolution is that advanced. Even people who think all dub sounds the same will be impressed with this disc as it never fails to keep the listener’s attention. Laswell’s use of electronica never seems gimmicky and for all the freedoms he takes, he never strays from the heart of roots dub. For their part, Roots Tonic have a chance to be heard without Matisyahu’s non-stop righteous chattering and yes, the band are rock solid. Josh Werner gives the bass a more challenging melodic role than is predominantly found in modern reggae and Jonah David layers the percussion on in droves. (ROIR)