Reviewed by: The Bearded Wonder
The multi talented, multi faceted Luke Slater has finally seen fit to bestow upon us his first LP under his L.B Dub Corp guise and boy, it really has been worth the wait! For those unacquainted with L.B Dub Corp it’s Luke’s softer edged guise – some would say more house influenced persona though I would argue that it’s not solely that. This is a collection of deeply thoughtful vibes across the spectrum of electronic music containing moments of goose-bump inducing beauty directly contrasted with more abstract dubby flavours and fiercely minimal techno. A proper album with diverse flavours all inexorably linked.
Kicking off with ‘Take A Ride’ the first of two tracks on the LP to feature the dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah. It’s a deeply raw, mid tempo 808 driven groove with Benjamin laying some ghostly vocals over the top suggesting we ‘take a ride’ on this irresistible rhythm, laden with warm yet strangely sinister pads. Nestling in that awkwardly refreshing, uncategorisable zone where all the best music sits. ‘Nearly Africa’ , with percussion reminiscent of one of my favourite house tracks EVER; Tribal House’s ‘Dim Dae’, as the title suggests comes with a decidedly African vibe, chants and some great, spoken words asking about our inability to come together, lose our preconceptions about colour and race. Proper depth and integrity in both composition and meaning. Lovely stuff, heavy on the bass and some funky piano riffs overlain pulling the track into brighter territory.
‘Ever and Forever’ is a shimmering synth led, minimal techno edged monster with heavily delayed stabs and jangly, understated piano riff that works surprisingly well (the key is in the simplicity!). A detached ambience is delivered within this track both icy cool and warm at once. ‘LB’s Dub’ literally is just that, a heavy dub bass-line underpinned with explosively reverbed downtempo kick drums and some great, wobbly flourishes, reggae flavoured stabs and vocal samples.
Now, here is where we address my favourite number on the LP, ‘No Trouble In Paradise’. Please don’t misunderstand me, the whole LP really is first class but this track just shines through sheerly for the hair raising, chicken skin delivering pad sequences and underlying keys. Sublime is an understatement and the sense of composition and purpose are profoundly tangible throughout, this stood up to repeated listens, at high volume and delivered the same icy cold shivers of pleasure, every. Single. Time. Hi tech soul of the highest order, heart warming and feet moving. I can honestly say it’s been some time since a track has touched me like this. Epic.
‘I Have A Dream’ continues the deep, bassy vibe with yet another epic and beautiful pad sequence to die for. This is the track where Benjamin Zephaniah really demonstrates his ability as both a poet and a lyricist with some words both heartfelt , at times funny and yet highly observant and ironic. Music with a message.
We are back in techno flavoured house territory (or is it vice versa?) with ‘Turner’s House’. Punchy , old school house drums and insistent bass and lead patterns reminiscent of Virgo Four or Gherkin Jerks. Fabulous. ‘Generation to Generation’ is deeper, with big stabs driving the track and plenty of mad, delayed effects flying in and out of the mix. A male voice narrates a barely discernible story throughout. Again with piano adding that extra layer of light this track builds and builds into something special indeed.
The hypnotic power of ‘Any Time Will Be OK’ is undeniable, classic house drums once again are the base for an absolutely massive, wet filtered bassline that twists the mind of the listener, constantly evolving and warping throughout. The strength of this track is in just how it keeps the listener engaged on this almost psychedelic, dub house journey. Nailing the finishing touch to the LP is ‘Roller’, one of the more pounding aggressive numbers on this release. Obviously wanting to go out with a bang he succeeds admirably here. Thumping, minimal almost pugnacious in nature we are almost entering familiar Slater/Planetary Assault Systems mode here. It’s almost like Luke wanted to remind us just who produced this LP.
So, in summary – this LP is, in my opinion, essential for those who have any interest in deeply moving, raw, profound, dub flavoured electronica with that techno punch. It also offers a refreshing perspective on just where we have come from and where we may be headed in the electronic music arena.
This release is available to check and buy HERE: Vinyl HERE: