Alpha Steppa – Rooted & Grounded
Steppas Records, ASLP003-04
Double LP (Gatefold) / Double CD / Digital
October sees the eagerly anticipated release of Rooted & Grounded by Ben Alpha or Alpha Steppa as most know him. Ben has been ploughing a very particular dub furrow for a few years now. His singles sell out quickly and his DJ sets are extremely popular. If any of you have heard his critically acclaimed Dub Dynasty project, then you will know the sonically heavy dub sound that is his forte.
This is Ben’s first solo album and follows the sound of his previous releases; the penetrating bass vibrates to your core and will satisfy any dub junkie! It is released in two parts, Rooted is a full length 12 track LP featuring vocal and musical collaborations from all corners of the world. Grounded shifts to the darker side of dub and experiments with some extremely heavy bass.
Both albums pull in influences from his time living in the Far East and his growing up in a family who are part of the UK reggae fabric. Ben has pedigree, he is the son and nephew of UK dub pioneers Alpha & Omega.
Dub that hits you square in the stomach always does it for me and it is the Grounded set that edges it. Highlights for me are Catharsis Part II, the low key intro leads you into a minimalist but damn heavy, echoey dub piece. Mystical in feel, it transports you to an ethereal place. Dub should be hypnotic and this track, like the whole album, ticks the meditation boxes.
The Peacock Returns is another track that brings in the Far Eastern influences and the beautiful vocals add so much to the sound. East meets West in an unlikely, but very satisfying blend, proving that Oriental influences really do seem to work with dub.
Wicked Spirits Are Gone is another favourite, this has a more traditional feel, echoes on the vocals and a steady steppas beat, what more can you want? Add in some melodica and this one was made for a serious sound system.
These are holy albums; the tracks create a mood, a way of life even, dub to worship. To do this set justice turn the lights off, lie still and let the sounds wash over you, this is a bass sound for life.
All hail Alpha Steppa!
01 Alpha Steppa – Catharsis Part I (ft Chazbo) 3:33
02 Alpha Steppa – The Peacock 4:02
03 Alpha Steppa – Teachings (ft Sistah Awa) 3:28
04 Alpha Steppa – The Gift 4:31
05 Alpha Steppa – Mix Up Fix Up (ft Prince Jamo) 4:16
06 Alpha Steppa – Rooted (ft Cologne) 3:51
07 Alpha Steppa – In The City (ft Wellette Seyon) 4:31
08 Alpha Steppa – Warmonger Man (ft Ras Tinny) 3:40
09 Alpha Steppa – The River (ft I-Sarana) [John Alpha Mix] 3:45
10 Alpha Steppa – Sannyasa 4:02
11 Alpha Steppa – Motherland (ft Kiangana) 3:29
12 Alpha Steppa – Kare Kare 4:04
01 Alpha Steppa – Catharsis Part II (ft Chazbo) 3:33
02 Alpha Steppa – The Peacock Returns 4:02
03 Alpha Steppa – No Teachings, No Teacher, No Student (ft Sistah Awa) 3:28
04 Alpha Steppa – The Friend 4:31
05 Alpha Steppa – Mix Dub Fix Dub (ft Prince Jamo) 4:16
06 Alpha Steppa – Grounded (ft Cologne) 3:51
07 Alpha Steppa – Return to The City (ft Wellette Seyon) 4:31
08 Alpha Steppa – Warmonger Man Returns (ft Ras Tinny) 3:40
09 Alpha Steppa – The Eternal River (ft I-Sarana) 3:45
10 Alpha Steppa – Moksha 4:02
11 Alpha Steppa – Wicked Spirits Are Gone (ft Kiangana) 3:31
12 Alpha Steppa – Return to Kare Kare 4:04
Comments are always welcome, which do you favour Rooted or Grounded?