[3 January 2010]
With all of the hype fit about Dubstep, the new dance craze that swept the hipster nation in 2009, it’s refreshing to hear a group focusing more on the “dub” end of this otherwise exciting new hybrid of electronic music than the “step”. Such is the case of Dubkasm, a Bristol-based outfit with ties to Brazil, whose apparent aim is to steal the dub sound back from the trendy nightclubs of the U.K. (and U.S. for that matter) and return them to the massive, roots-rooted sound systems where they so rightfully belong. That’s not to say Transform I, the group’s latest opus, is not without its own intriguing forays into the realms of dirt-floor digital stepping. There are elements of such throughout the course of this 18-track set, which features guest vocals from some of the U.K.’s finest voices of reggae, including Dub Judah, Ras Addis, Levi Roots, and Akfrikan Simba among others. But when you add an arsenal of instruments stemming from the Brazilian origins of Dubkasm’s chief architect, Digistep, and the traditionalist Rastafarian messages transmitted within the lyrics of the album’s cameo appearances, you get a unique work that would fit nicely between Burial, Massive Attack, and Max Romeo in a well-thought-out DJ set.