Strictly Dub Records – None Shall Escape
There has been a lot of debate over the last couple of months on where reggae is heading and who is buying it. This was prompted by English singer Joss Stone topping the Billboard ‘current’ reggae chart on sales of her reggae infused album ‘Water For Your Soul’.
I am not going to get into the rights and wrongs debate here, but with legendary producer Dennis Bovell involved in the project, it surely does have some credibility? Personally the album is a little light for me, I like my reggae to be edgier!
I have always thought of reggae as being a very inclusive genre, all races, all nationalities are welcomed into the fold. An example of this is Estonia based Strictly Dub Records. Estonia is probably as further away as you can get from Jamaica, but as we know reggae is alive and kicking in outposts and pockets all over the world.
Strictly Dub Records is owned and run by Tallinn based Simon Chaozlevel. Simon has been spreading the reggae word for a while now, running reggae nights around the Baltic region and releasing a couple of 7” singles (Their second release Dreadlocks is below). 2016 sees the release of his first 12” and the selection of international singers and producer show that Simon knows how to mix talent together. You can here samples at their SoundCloud site.
Title track ‘None Shall Escape’ with lyrics and vocals by the gloriously named Stikki Tantafari is a very uplifting steppas tune, those of you who picked up Moa Anbessa’s ‘Watch Dem’ will recognise the rhythm. It sounds an extremely well put together tune, nicely layered, lovely backing vocals and a strong roots sentiment.
Track two features the dub, with mixing duties by Russian musician Rebelsteppa. This stripped down version retains the lovely harmonies but adds that heavier bass that we all know and love. I am a sucker for some echo and this doesn’t disappoint!
Flip the 12” and you get a version ‘Give Unto Jah’ with vocals by German born singer Sista Sherin. Her soulful take on the track is a nice contrast to Stikki’s gruffer style. Rebelsteppa takes on dub duties again for the last track, this guy knows how to produce a serious sound system friendly tune. Heavy stuff but staying true to the uplifting roots feel of this set.
Strictly Dub Records have hit the mark with this release and it certainly puts out a marker for 2016. It shows what can be achieved by combining an international array of talent in the name of reggae. The 12″ and digital download will be available soon from the Strictly Dub Records website.
With releases like this 2016 will be a good year for reggae, it may not sell as many as Joss Stone but it does show that reggae is alive and kicking and is a truly global sound.