Dub Trio: Exploring the Dangers Of

John Bergstrom

Dub Trio

Exploring the Dangers Of

Label: ROIR
US Release Date: 2004-09-21
UK Release Date: 2004-11-01

Dub Trio come with a little novelty attached. Since dub reggae originally emerged from Jamaica as the almost accidental creation of studio engineers and producers, the concept of a band coming together for the express purpose of performing live dub music may seem strange. But that's exactly the case with the New York City-based DP Holmes, Stu Brooks, and Joe Tomino. As others have with hip-hop and electronica, they aim to wrestle dub from the studio and DJs and bring it live to clubs and living rooms. And they couldn't have chosen a more credible American label on which to drop their debut album, Exploring the Dangers Of, than ROIR, a well-established bastion of experimental reggae and dub.

Featuring five studio-recorded tracks with a minimum of overdubs and three tracks recorded live at Piano's in New York, Exploring the Dangers Of reveals a band that hold a true reverence for dub pioneers from King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry to Adrian Sherwood and the Mad Professor. This isn't just a bunch of hippies trying to work up extra money for their weed supply; Dub Trio are clearly serious about what they do. The rhythms are tight and the dubs are immaculately performed, so much so that, on the studio tracks especially, Dub Trio could easily be mistaken for a drum-machine-and-computer outfit.

Rumbling basslines? Trancelike tempos? Thundering echoes and washes of guitar? It's all here. While Exploring the Dangers Of is hardly revolutionary, it's not half bad. "Drive By Dub", though, gets the album off to a weak start thanks to a cheesy keyboard riff. Dub Trio should know that the '80s were not exactly dub's heyday. "Casting Out the Nines" rights the ship quickly, wafting in lazily and introducing what proves to be Dub Trio's most unique and appealing feature: Holmes's glacial, ethereal guitar effects reminiscent of those old British "shoegazer" bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Tomino adds tension with some skittering high hat, and the whole thing comes crashing down amid laser gun effects and echo chamber explosions.

From there, "Scoop and Smash Em" is an electro-tinged King Tubby/Augustus Pablo tribute, complete with Tomino's weeping melodica. "Sick Im Kid" gets into illbient territory, with Holmes' guitar effect creeping through radio static and Brooks's hard-boiled bassline. "Real Wicked Ways" toys with drum-n-bass before wrapping up the studio portion of the album.

The live tracks are where Dub Trio really come into their own. Holmes's ability to replicate his various guitar effects in a live setting is impressive, Tomino's drumming is more vigorous, and the songs generally take on more energy without losing their hallucinogenic effect. The highlight of the entire album is the ten-minute-plus take on "Sick Im". Holmes makes like The Edge on a bad trip before switching off the delay and launching into a space odyssey of reverb and feedback. Brooks's bass starts to overdrive, and so does your brain before it's all over. Live engineer Eran Malki does a great job, too, opening and closing channels for the maximum dynamic effect.

Exploring the Dangers Of ends with a strong suit, suggesting that the best way to experience Dub Trio is to see them perform live. In lieu of that, Exploring the Dangers Of, while certainly not an All-Time Must-Own, does a good job of showing listeners what dub's all about, live or otherwise.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

In a staid city like Washington, D.C., too many concert programs still stick to the basics. An endless litany of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concerti clog the schedules and parades of overeager virtuosi seem unwilling to vary their repertoire for blasé D.C. concertgoers. But occasionally you encounter a concert that refreshes your perspective of the familiar. The works presented at The Kennedy Center on 25 October 2017 might be stalwarts of 20th century repertoire, but guest conductor Antonio Pappano, leading the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, reminded us how galvanizing the canonical can still be. Though grandiose executions of Respighi's The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome were the main event, the sold-out crowd gathered to see Martha Argerich perform one of her showpieces, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

Keep reading... Show less

Rather than once again exploring the all-too-familiar territory of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva's debut novel contextualizes the work's origins and gets inside the mind of its creator.

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been told and retold so many times over the years that, by this point, one might be hard-pressed to find a single soul evenly glancingly familiar with western culture who isn't at least tangentially acquainted with the holiday classic. This is, of course, a bit of holiday-themed hyperbole, but the fact remains that the basic premise of A Christmas Carol has become so engrained in our culture that it would seem near impossible to imagine a time prior to its existence. It's universally-relatable themes of the power of kindness, redemption and forgiveness speaks to the heart of the Christmas season – at least as it has been presented in the 174 years since it was first published in 19 December 1843 -- just in time for Christmas.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.