Sofa Surfers Cargo

Dub from Austria, who'd have thunk it? Well, Jamaican music went world-wide a long time ago, and its lessons are being learned in seemingly unlikely places. This is breakbeat-based music that uses dub with a touch of jazzy ride cymbal as its starting point. There are no belaboured overtures to hip-hop or house, and the Surfers eschew the classic analog synth/ Hammond/ Fender Rhodes holy trinity of lead melodic sounds. That said, the best tracks benefit from the contributions of dub poet Victor Oshioke, whose velvet tones and passionate lyrics provide a strong focus to the sounds. Even when non-dub rhythms are brought into the forefront as on "Raffinerie," there is no temptation to go into conventional d&b or techno rhythms. The main non-dub impulse seems to be Can, and the more frenetic drum breaks are especially Liebezeit-ish. There is a band sound throughout, it never sounds like reassembled live instruments. Sometimes the dub bass lines are too busy, as on "The Low Rider," which is further hampered by its stilted Isaac Hayes sample. You'll never confuse the Sofa Surfers with a Jamaican band, or even a Canadian reggae band. Their approach is unique, it sounds European, but they've learned the right lessons and they're definitely in the dub tradition. (Klein)