Dub Dynasty – Holy Cow
Steppas Records Double LP / CD / Digital
Cards on the table, I am a self-confessed worshipper at the altar of Steppas Records and I have been buying into Ben Steppas brand of heavy uplifting dub for many years now. Indeed, his last year’s solo album ‘Rooted and Grounded’ was one of the reggae highlights of 2015. Ben may be preaching to the converted here, but this ‘Holy Cow’ collection under the Dub Dynasty banner is a remarkable group of nature dub tracks and probably his best set yet.
This is the third Dub Dynasty album, Ben’s collaboration with dub veterans Alpha & Omega; (he is son and nephew of John and Christine) follows on from the critically acclaimed ‘Thundering Mantis’ album which was endorsed by such reggae luminaries as the great Don Letts and the incomparable Channel One Soundsystem.
So what of this new offering, in my first paragraph I called this album ‘nature dub’ and to me nature is the theme that runs through this album. Rastafarianism is far more than the hackneyed symbolism of ganja and stoned out Rasta caricatures. Living in harmony with nature and the environment is one of the central ideas of Rastafarianism and is in stark contrast to the everyday greed and destruction of ‘Babylon’.
The Ital way of life that Rasta’s strive for, natural living, organic lifestyle and a purity that makes you one with nature, runs through the tracks of this record. A good example of this is my favourite track ‘Footsteps Dub’, great vocals by Cologne are complemented by twittering birds, a flute that hovers above the dub giving it a light oriental edge. The music casts an image of green lush grass and snow-capped mountains. Add in a weird effect that Ben uses which must be called the ‘the singing Ital cow loop’ and you have a nature dub that feels so clean and pure.
The album title, Holy Cow and the cover photo help to emphasise the beliefs of all those behind the Dub Dynasty concept. Ben explained to me a little of what shapes their music, ‘One of the aims of our music is to comment on and bring attention to the devastating effects of modern agro farming, including live stock. Not just the maltreatment of the animals but the unsustainable treatment of the Earth, with, as you know, extremely dangerous consequences for not just our home and species diversity but for our own species too. Our thinking is, if we do not treat the planet and nature with respect, how can we even begin to fathom the concept of ‘humanity’’.
Ben went on to explain why they used a cow as the album’s symbol, ‘The cow seemed like a perfect symbol, considering the huge impact of beef rearing at present. They also play a big role in many ancient cultures and religions: the sacred cow within Hinduism, consider the story of the Golden Calf and the Israelites and even the cow headed god Hathor of the ancient Egyptians.’
The whole collection is a superb piece of work going from the achingly beautiful ‘Chase Dub’, with its laconic vibe and shattering bass, to the righteous ‘Holy Cow’ featuring the distinctive vocals of Ras Tinny (his voice was on ‘Black Rose’ (see the video below) on the last Dub Dynasty album, one of the stand out tracks for me).
Bass in bucket loads, integrity and a strong righteous message makes this album pretty damn perfect. I am already a Steppas fan but if you are new to the Alpha sound, this will convert you I am sure.
Double LP, CD and Digital formats are due for release 1st April 2016 in line with the ‘Dub Dynasty Live’ world tour. Check out ‘Holy Cow’ and the other marvellous Steppas releases at the Steppas dub store.
CD Track Listing 01 Dub Dynasty – Footsteps (Feat. Cologne) 4:03 02 Dub Dynasty – Chase Babylon (Feat. Iyano Iyanti) 3:44 03 Dub Dynasty – Material Things (Feat. Sis Jane Warriah) 4:33 04 Dub Dynasty – Oh Father (Feat. Kiangana) 4:04 05 Dub Dynasty – In the Secret Place (Feat. Cologne) 3:19 06 Dub Dynasty – I Am Dub 3:59 07 Dub Dynasty – The Damselfly 3:15 08 Dub Dynasty – Rig Veda 4:24 09 Dub Dynasty – The Orchard (Feat. Violinbwoy) 3:14 10 Dub Dynasty – Holy Cow (Feat. Ras Tinny) 3:09 [CD Bonus] 11 Dub Dynasty – Seek Freedom (Feat. Kiangana) 4:30 12 Dub Dynasty – Footsteps Dub (Feat. Cologne) 4:03 13 Dub Dynasty – Chase Dub (Feat. Iyano Iyanti) 3:44 14 Dub Dynasty – Dub Things (Feat. Sis Jane Warriah) 4:33 15 Dub Dynasty – Oh Dub (Feat. Kiangana) 3:57 16 Dub Dynasty – Secret Dub (Feat. Cologne) 3:22 17 Dub Dynasty – Holy Dub (Feat. Ras Tinny) 3:51 [CD Bonus] 18 Dub Dynasty – Seek Dub (Feat. Kiangana) 4:30 [CD Bonus] 19 Dub Dynasty – The Orchard (Alpha Steppa Mix) 3:06 [CD Bonus] 20 Dub Dynasty – Dub I Am 3:59 [CD Bonus]
Vinyl (2xLP) Track Listing A1 Dub Dynasty – Footsteps (Feat. Cologne) 4:03 A2 Dub Dynasty – Chase Babylon (Feat. Iyano Iyanti) 3:44 A3 Dub Dynasty – Material Things (Feat. Sis Jane Warriah) 4:33 A4 Dub Dynasty – Oh Father (Feat. Kiangana) 4:04 B1 Dub Dynasty – In the Secret Place (Feat. Cologne) 3:19 B2 Dub Dynasty – I Am Dub 3:59 B3 Dub Dynasty – The Damselfly 3:15 B4 Dub Dynasty – Rig Veda 4:24 C1 Dub Dynasty – Footsteps Dub (Feat. Cologne) 4:03 C2 Dub Dynasty – Chase Dub (Feat. Iyano Iyanti) 3:44 C3 Dub Dynasty – Dub Things (Feat. Sis Jane Warriah) 4:33 C4 Dub Dynasty – Oh Dub (Feat. Kiangana) 3:57 D1 Dub Dynasty – Secret Dub (Feat. Cologne) 3:22 D2 Dub Dynasty – The Orchard (Feat. Violinbwoy) 3:14 D3 Dub Dynasty – Holy Cow (Instrumental) 3:09 [Vinyl Exclusive] D4 Dub Dynasty – Seek Freedom (Feat. Kiangana) 4:30
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