Sly and Robbie Meet the Mad Professor The Dub Revolutionaries

The dub status accorded to Sly and Robbie is a bit misapplied; they themselves have never really been dub masters. The recent Unmetered Taxi collection on Pressure Sounds is an excellent collection of their self productions, all the more notable in their restraint. The Riddim Twins have always been touchstones for other studio wizards, from King Tubby to Larry Levan; now the Mad Professor fulfils his own lifelong dream by working with them. In the liner notes, the Professor sought to make this disc a testament to Sly and Robbie’s musicianship. To this end, the dub processes are secondary to the original jams, although he promises more radical mixes in future CDs assembled from these sessions. This may disappoint some seeking a greater seismic event, but there is still warm dub sheen to the proceedings. Rhythms are inspired by their late ’70s recordings and they still have that robotic yet elastic sound that is so hard to duplicate. The real star of the album is sax player Dean Fraser, who has worked with them for two decades. He’s a whole horn section unto himself, and provides much needed melodic content and some tasty hooks. His sweet tone is a huge asset, and the Professor adds just enough EQ weirdness to make it go down well. The last eight tracks on the disc are versions of the more straight up stuff at the beginning, which will please hardcore dub fans and give a taste of what’s to come. (Ras)