Northern Dub Mystic, new CD release
Northern Dub Mystic are a Dutch reggae band formed by Marc de Jonge (guitars, keyboards, percussion and drums) and Marco ‘Hightower’ van den Berg (bass and melodica). This summer they release their first album of dub heavy tunes, in part inspired by the varied and wonderful UK label On-U sound. With their collaborators, Patrick ‘Dr. Dub’ Dokter (Archivist for On-U Sound/English Connection/remix), Alien Levi (remix, mastering and videos) and Frank Geerdink from ska band The Roosterz (saxophone) you get an excellent selection of dub tunes with a very distinctive European style.
North of the River Orange
On first listen you can hear that this record is in the best traditions of Jamaican / European mash ups. The album is not a pastiche of what has come before though, the band bring in their own influences, their own styles and their own experiences. The North European influence is strong and runs through the album like an Orange thread, their Dutch heritage is very important to the band. With tracks like the aptly named ‘North of the River Orange’ you get a Dutch homage to the similarly named Augustus Pablo tune ‘East of the River Nile’. This track, complete with a swirly soundscape, haunting melodica and misty rivers, may be an Orange version but it is an excellent tune in its own right.
Its a long time since I have heard the use of dialogue samples on a reggae album and the track ‘Steady Dub Version’ uses these very nicely. This is quite a spikey track with a post punk feel to it, and definitely one of the most creative tracks on the album. It’s quite mesmeric, the choppy guitar provides the pathway for the samples to run along. Another highlight ‘Hightower Autobiography’ slips into organ territory, a laidback 6 minutes 42 seconds of driving Jackie Mittoo style keyboards, complimented by Marco’s dub poetry.
These guys certainly know how to hook you in with their tunes, on ‘Extended Dub’ (see the video below) the choppy guitar is like serious cocaine for the brain. It’s a beautiful track and fills your head with dreamy reggae, it’s a ganja smokers dream. There is some really nice song writing on the album, its a varied and clever melting pot of what reggae means to these guys. You can feel their passion and pride for the music they love. Anyone who likes heavy dub or in fact anyone who likes a European melodic influence on their reggae, will no doubt like this album. These are twelve tracks of well crafted modern reggae, that once played will be very difficult to get out of your head.
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