Docking Sequence: BSI Campaign Vol. 1"

"...DJ Wicked's furious turntable cuts..."

Review, Spin Magazine, 2/01
by Jeff Chang

Lee Perry 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.

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