[9 August 2006]
Bill Laswell took his jazz roots to dub with his RadioAxiome project collaboration with Jah Wobble. Now Richard Kirk, founder of ‘70s industrial post-punk outfit Cabaret Voltaire, continues on a similar route with a second album of digital-meets-analog space dub under his Sandoz moniker on the steadily interesting Soul Jazz label. While the rhythmic weight of Live in the Earth owes much to King Tubby, the pervading particularity is a horn section seemingly—and effectively—borrowed from Femi Kuti, adding an airy quality and engaging hooks to the album’s droning bass. Best of the bunch is “Strike Fire”, which has Kirk crafting a festively hypnotic dub tune, with a heavily thumping beat and delicious tempo shifts and variations. Overall, Live in the Earth is a successful exercise in crafting linear dub that is instantly gripping and a vibrant balance of primal, droning rhythms.