The Power of Three: Suns of Dub forge new path on The Far East LP

On their long-awaited debut LP, Suns of Dub redefine the “Far East Sound” crafted and popularized by the late, great Augustus Pablo. Suns of Dub, a collaboration between Addis Pablo and Ras Jammy Triniyard, have already proven their worth as producers with credits that include the Dub Choir EP (with Ministry of Dub and BuzzRock), Say It Ain’t So Dub Mix EP (with Sezi), and Jah Jah Solve Dem EP (with Sizzla).  They have also fostered a group of young artists that includes Jah Bami, Roots by Nature, Masia One & Valdo.  It is a tradition that the elder Pablo was famously known for.

The Far East LP is a showcase album of sorts which features a total of twelve tracks – four instrumentals and two vocal tracks on the A-side followed by six dub versions on the B-side.  The album is named after the style of music popularized by Augustus Pablo, the “Far East sound” –  a sound characterized by dense, atmospheric instrumentals constructed around a minor key.   The “Far East” not only signifies a sound, but the meditative, harmonious, almost zen-like state of mind that the sound elicits.

The Far East LP is an exceptional album that is more closely aligned with the classic Jamaican rockers sound than Addis Pablo’s critically-acclaimed 2014 debut In My Father’s House, which had a much more European sound.  With the Far East LP, the Suns of Dub fully embrace the spirit of Pablo while crafting a sound of their own and forging a new path forward for Rockers International.  Instead of revisiting the well-worn streets of Cassava Piece or Warrika Hill, the Suns explore new territory with tunes like “Eastern Acoustic,” the album’s opener which features Addis blowing over a sparse instrumental and Spanish guitars (no doubt a shout to Ras Jammy’s home of Trinidad).

“Unconditional Love,” the album’s first single, features Suns’ Jah Bami singing over a melodica-laden heavy roots riddim arranged by Ras Jammy. Bami’s vocal is emotional and expressive as he oscillates between classic, soulful singing and melodic chanting. Addis Pablo is true on melodica, blowing with a command and conviction of a seasoned veteran.  The track begins with a multi-layered instrumental arrangement which evolves into a minimalist dub track. It is euphonic and beautiful, and orchestrated masterfully by TriniYard.

“Far East Median” is a densely, layered instrumental on which Pablo’s melodica takes flight over a classic horns arrangement. The Suns get a lift from New Jersey’s Tim “P-Dub” Boyce and the Dub Assassins who come correct on the riddims.  RasJammy Triniyard spoke about their work on the album during our recent conversation.

“The actual composition and arrangement for the tracks on the album was done by Tim “P-Dub” of Dub Assassins. I did the mixing, re-arranging and the final arrangement.”

“Selassie I Wisdom” is an authentic classic rockers tune which bookends side-A in proper form.

Ras Jammy is in control on the dub side, producing each of the six dub tracks.  On “Jah Chant Dub,” the dub version of Jah Bami’s “Jah Alone,” Ras Jammy rides hard on the melodica and percussion with a mix that is stripped bare to the bone.  It is the hand drumming that anchors this tune and Jammy gives it the star treatment throughout the mix.  P-Dub takes over on “Median Dub,” a classic echoed-out dubstrumental featuring a thunderous bass and searing guitars.

It is a fine-tuned and well-oiled Suns of Dub we hear on the Far East LP. A group poised to influence the sound of reggae going forward, the time has now come for Suns of Dub to chart their own course east of the river Nile.


by Michael Watson

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