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Various Artists

Dub Selector 3

(Quango; US: 1 Aug 2006; UK: Available as import)

“Trip hop” just isn’t a hip thing to call music any more—so Quango has tried on the more earthy, historical “dub” for this series, ratcheting up the Jamaican connotations by adding the “selector” term. Like the previous two volumes, this is not dub in the true sense—sonically-manipulated, mostly-instrumental takes on reggae tracks. With a tracklist that includes usual suspects like Seven Dub and Esthero, it’s more or less trip hop: Dub-and-hip-hop influenced, downtempo electronica. There are some Jamaican artists and voices here, and reggae/ska rhythms, and toasting. However, all of this is presented in a way that Quango would probably call “eclectic”. What’s new and exciting in “real” dub these days, anyway, other than re-isues? Dub Selector 3 is pleasant and mellow, but offers up only a few tracks that rise above that description. One is “Fall in Love Again”, a highlight from Ms. Dynamite’s underperfoming Judgement Days album, that is underpinned by a solid reggae groove and a Ken Boothe sample. Another is the seemingly ageless Sly & Robbie’s “Vice Vanity”, given a propulsive yet nuanced remix by Noiseshaper. Dub Selector 3 is definitely a case where the title is a lot more brash than the music.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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