Sequence: BSI Campaign Vol. 1"
"...DJ Wicked's furious turntable
Review, Spin Magazine, 2/01
by Jeff Chang
and King Tubby may be gods, but out at the
cusp of the hip-hop and U.K. garage galaxies, new dub has been left
for dead. Fickle critics who spent the first half of the '90s catching
up to the music's pull on Alex Patterson and RZA, Tricky and Tortoise,
Beastie Boys and Basic Channel, are now pronouncing its exhaustion.
But dub isn't dead; it's just creeping. As critics frag '90s dub
into mnemonic shards -- "trip-hop" here, "ambient" there, how about
a little roots with your post-rock -- the genre's key artists kept
on twiddling. The fringe-dwellers on "Docking Sequence," an American
comp that culls tracks from the four corners of the dubwise globe,
make no apologies and offer no cultural logic for their relevance.
They just plug in and get lost.
Unlike new dub's much lauded 1995 manifesto, "Macro Dub Infection,
Volume One," this album doesn't till an imaginary meeting-ground
between Jamaican authenticity and Brit ingenuity. It simply raises
more bass-freighted, echo-laden questions. Is new dub Raz Mesinai's
strings of life or Jah Warrior's booming system faith? The "Judge
Dredd" stomp of Ben Wa's "Break That Stone" or the analog dust clouds
of Twilight Circus' "Depth Charge?" The worldy-wise qawwali muse
of Muslimgauze or DJ Spooky's deconstructed gangsta limp? Answer:
It's too soon to know.
If there is something definitive in the moment Docking Sequence
captures, it is that new dubheads have shed any ambient pretensions
and forgone lab-coated genre-engineering for roots funktionality
and applied riddim wisdom. It's a mission epitomized in New York
City/Portland, Oregon-based Sound Secretion's "Perpetual Next..."
As if to finally displace the Orb's Ultraworld influence, Sound
Secretion liquefies the old liquid towers of new dub to erect and
all-American monstrosity -- built of N.W.A. and KRS-One samples,
time-lapse ambients, DJ Wicked's furious
turntable cuts, and chest-pounding
kick drums. It's evidence that dub might be the sound-liberating
force hip-hop was becoming before it traded a sonic universe of
possibility for a sinkhole of earthly pleasures. Of such architecture,
new worlds will be built.