By Liam Monaghan
Imagine heavy basslines, one drops, psychedelic guitar riffs, echoing keyboards, popping percussion and conscious lyrics. Now imagine roots reggae, imagine dub, rock…Put them all together and you get a new breed of Jamaican music called DubTonic Kru. Like their style of music, Dubtonic is a mixture of the two words “Dub”, relating to the heavy drum and bass aspect of reggae music, and “Tonic”, referring to medicine. The eclectic blend of music and musicians are certainly medicine to one’s soul, and after listening, you simply just want more of this tonic. they were voted “BEST NEW BAND IN THE WORLD” 2010 – 2011 at the Global Battle of the Bands World Finals in Malaysia in February 2011 and have worked with some of the biggest names in Reggae and are here with the new ‘Dub Conscious Album’ for 2015.
The 11 track album is full of bass weight vibrations and heavy melodies. We start with Pitchy Patchy, and its clear that the guys are fond lovers of King Tubby & Augustus Pablo. A weighty riddim to set us up for the album, gentle keys and shimmering echos from the snares and drums ease us into the album.
We blend in to ‘Guiding Lght’ and bring on the power chords of a guitar, it wanders and sets the sense of an airy dark journey, if we was watching a film, this would probably be a ‘realisation montage and what to do next scene’. A chilled dubbing for an easy listen.
99% we see the introduction of my favorite line… the Horns! We also have harmonies from the groups that ring across the room. I really like this record; it has a upfront and boisterous feeling which is almost empowering!
The highest is a tone down a peg and we chill a little and we have more vocals that are soothing and fit perfectly within the chilled style of the record. Solid drum sections and subtle rocksteady guitar strokes give us another easy listening riddim, id like to see more of a bassline on this one myself but I did set myself up for a big dub album which is my own fault.
…Saying that….Born Jamaica Dub… follows which a modern feel on dub which is faster tempo’d with what sounds like bongos which introduce a raw African tribal style infuse to the album, something a little different which was needed half way through, a very simple riddim though, another easy listen.
Addis Ababa see our first collab with J Militia, interesting how this could of gone, it could of gone down the solid Dubbing roots but it went the other way, same style of riddim with spacious drums and echoing guitars. J Militias vocals are a nice fit, it would be interesting to hear how a vocal with more aggression would have sounded, the Ward 21 style delivery or Sizzla would of suited this.
Jah Love Dub, Is one of my favourte records, from this album. Very minimal, guitar plucking at its finest with a nice arrangement of Drumming which keeps the riddim moving all over the place, minimal vocal also adds to this record.
Was surprised to catch Protoje on this album but here we go, this record is called Man Kind, with Protoje’s quick delivery style I was surprised to hear how relaxed the record was. Regardless it works, seems like Oje just put down a freestyle, its comfortable and a good listen, the riddim is samey to previous records however a nice record.
Another collab with the Black Youth of Harar, Iba Mahr, this riddim is more upbeat than the previous record but Iba’s style suits, a simple riddim again but with more focus on the lyrics. The lyrics make this record, with some powerful opinions and there is a lot of images painted.
Drum ‘n Bass as we nearly reach the end of this journey. A chilled dub with some amazing drums and looping keys, a short track but simple.
Ever lasting love is nothing like the previous songs. Its very very… interesting what the rest of the world called DubStep basslines. I don’t know if this is the ‘in’ thing but Skrillex did make it bun them with Jr Gong Marley and it worked, now we see this style on the new Morgan heritage album. Im not sure it works and also im worried if we will see more and more productions like this and we get another Sub Genre. Its an alright record though and the lyrics are nice.
A good album! Its an acquired taste, I prefer some of the bass driven dubs but that’s personal opinion, great band, check them out!
White Stone Productions
Release date: 8/28/2015