Dub is smoke without mirrors, a realm in which a single beat, bass line, or keyboard riff might jettison you in the orbit of another planet. It is an axis of spirit and tactic, a philosophy shaped through strategic distribution of energies. In the context of Bill Laswell’s Method of Defiance, the parameters of dub take on new valences of initiation, and throughout this album, refashioned from the project’s first two appearances on its namesake label, their pressures equalize across a raw spectrum of possibility.
The Scientist, a remixer of exacting standards and enmeshed execution, conducts three laboratory experiments. At the outer rims are his “One World Dub” and “One World Disorder Dub,” each a head nodding across the mind’s eye, of which every bloodshot vein is a river. Rooted in groove, even as they groove into roots, their magickal patterns serve us a steaming bowl of get into it. If one is a body, the other is its soul. On the exhale, that same body basks in the smoke of “Herb 4” with enough justification to fill a book of harmony.
Sonic pedagogue extraordinaire Mad Professor gives us the first of two takes on “Elijah’s Lament.” While his is a mirrored consciousness that plays with time like Legos, the other, by MRC Riddims (a.k.a. Oktopus and MRC) is a love letter to Krooklyn that fills our legs like sun the Hudson. It is a world unto itself, one where phantom selves dance until they sweat themselves out of their minds and back into our own. Sub Code, who hails from Morocco, gives us a rarefied, immediate version of “Do or Die.” It is a breath given meaning through faith in the evergreen conflict of populations. These last two are among a handful of one-way communiques, the others being Perdurabo 6’s “One World First Claim Version” (a necklace strung with plaster footprints and hung around a lion’s neck) and “Encode Armour Feed” by the isosceles Prefuse 73, whose embrace of Laswell’s prime currents is a match made in outer space and brought to earth for an all-too-brief visitation.
Dr. Israel is a master oarsman in these waters, rowing as he does with entire trees in his hands. His plunges into “Taykeovah” and “No Salvation” remind us that exploration kills in the name of self. Where one is melodic glass shattered and re-glued for strength, the other is a spider’s web unchained and repurposed for flight.
At the topographic endpoint, meditating on a mountaintop, is Laswell’s binary star. “Quantum Echo Apparition” renders his bass an elliptical entity, by whose hands the heart of dub is massaged to tenderness, while an “Entombment Dub” of the same cut frames darkness as a stroke that gives life without need for validation but the listener’s undivided attention.
Reverberation is rebirth. Dig it.
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