Version Xcursion Radio

Aram Scaram and Sassa’le are the hosts of "Version Xcursion”, a tightly mixed two-hour journey through up-tempo dub, both old and new, that many have termed "Nu Dub” on Toronto’s CKLN-FM. Their approach to dub de-emphasises the slow motion psychedelics of dub in favour of spacious yet danceable grooves that would maintain the flow in a hip-hop or house oriented context. If you’re thinking Bristol, you’d be correct — probably the best track on this disc is the Rob Smith (Smith & Mighty) remix of "Champion Sound.” The VX crew rhythm method features spare, even bare bones production, a bass line, a riddim and vocals of some sort. This isn’t headphone dub, it’s dub for the dance floor and improves with volume. Standout cuts are the two versions of "Rock Da Dub” with recitations on the social power of dub by Ayume Dukutata. This represents another link in the long chain of notable Toronto-based dub poets that stretches back more than 20 years. Some spots would benefit from stronger songwriting and perhaps a full band, notably the two tracks with Katie Murphy that have inferior lyrics and forced deliveries. The VX crew are moving in a live direction, though, putting together a touring band that should expand the solid foundation of what they’ve captured and push it forward. (Independent)