Manasseh Meets The Equalizer Step Like Pepper

This is the best dub album of the year so far. Recorded over four years starting in 1997, Step Like Pepper is full of tightly crafted tunes and great production that lift it far beyond riddims with echoes. Step Like Pepper is neither a roots revisionism nor is it an awkward dancehall, it is a wholeheartedly electronic album with an upbeat "steppers” mood. The opener "Do Right Dub” is pretty busy by dub standards with ‘verbed vocals, "lick shot” exclamations, and electronic bursts all tempered by an elemental synth bass line. Elsewhere, Manasseh excels in ambience; the diffuse 3/4 time "Amun Ra/Touch We” floats with ethereal flute and Dave Brubeck’s "Take Five” is superior to previous dub attempts at unlocking this tune’s swing. Another cover on this disc, Curtis Mayfield’s "Underground,” further reinforces the dub-like mood of the original. There are some storming dance tunes that elevate the mood, like the spaghetti western ska romp "Skenga.” Frequent vocalist Knati is never embarrassing and often great, as on the heavily processed title track. The pure dub ambience of "Doorways” and "Bonafide” have absolutely floor lifting bass. The rhythms, the production the instrumentalists and the vocal elements are all here to make Step Like Pepper a classic. (Select Cuts)