What I listened to today: Saturday, Jan. 17

The Bush Chemists [King General], “Money Run Tings” and “Money Run Tings Dub” (Conscious Sounds, 1996)
Disciples, “Prowling Lion” (Boom Shacka Lacka, 1993)
[Cheshire Cat and] Love Grocer, “A Little Rain Must Fall” and “A Little Version” (Dubhead, 2001)
Dread & Fred, “Warriors Stance” (Jah Shaka, 1988)
Twilight Dub Sound System ft. Lutan Fyah, “We Can Make It Work” (M, 2006)
Aisha, “The Creator” (Ariwa, 1985)
Alpha and Omega, “Rastafari” (Alpha and Omega, 1990s)
Danny Red, “Be Grateful” (white label, 1993)
Disciples, “Return to Addis Ababa” and “Version” (Boom Shacka Lacka, 1994)
Earl Sixteen, “Natural Roots” (three versions) (Riz/Downtown, 1997)
Jah Mason, “Rainbow Circle Throne” (Jah Warrior, 2003)

All found via eMusic (apart from Jah Mason, from Amazon), all from Woofah issue 3’s Top 30 UK Dub tracks. I’ve mentioned my abiding interest in lists as listening guides; this is an area I know very little about as a scene other than that it exists, but whenever I tune in, as here, I’m always somehow disappointed because it sounds like, what do you know, reggae. I guess I expect something more overtly post-punky, or even proto-ravey, or something other than basic, if well made, roots-rooted stuff. And since I couldn’t tell a King Tubby dub track from a Lee Perry one in the dark, on fantastic marijuana, I don’t know what the differences between these guys are either. Not that I mind this at all: some of these sounded nice, and I’ll undoubtedly go back to the playlist now that it’s made. A couple sounded in passing like they’d be good to play out.

Drum & Bass Selection 4 (Breakdown, 1995)
The unmixed, two-CD version, not the 19-track mix that I think was the only way it was made available in the U.S. So it’s an import; I found it used for about eight bucks a few years ago, an absolute steal. The roster is impeccable; it’s not the last collection ever made before drum & bass’s factions began to splinter, but listening made me feel that way. And that unity is bolstered by checking the credits: these 20 tracks were licensed from 15 labels, and while some were subsidiaries of each other, that still says something about its breadth. I don’t mean that this is anywhere near kaleidoscopic or differently-charged as History 1 & 2, just that for a relatively straightforward compendium of a pretty straightforward sound at a time when its muscled were fully flexed, every tune has something uniquely its own. I’d hear a melody or a particularly well turned break and check the track list, and boom: yep, that’s Dillinja; uh-huh, it’s Shy FX (“Simple Tings,” what a lovely track)—oh yeah, of course, Tom & Jerry a.k.a. 4 Hero in lighthearted mode. I don’t know if I ever realized just how good this comp is before.

2562, Aerial (Tectonic, 2008)
Put on the promo a couple weeks ago after ripping it to my EHD along with some other things on year-end lists—and remembered why I didn’t go deeper into it when I’d first put it on back in spring: promobot attack! You’d think that would work better on atmospheric instrumental beat music, but no, it just sucked. Last night I did some record browsing before a movie and remembered I’d wanted to buy a copy to evade the promobot, but they didn’t have it, and as I was walking into the theater I remembered that it was on eMusic, so I downloaded it last night and remembered I needed to listen to it some more.

Anthony Hamilton, The Point of It All (Mister’s Music/So So Def/Zomba, 2008)
I always want to like this guy more than I do, but whenever I put his records on I remember that it isn’t just in theory that he’s boring.

SoulBounce Top 10 of 2008: ill Mami
I need to finish listening to these before I do much of anything. A week ago I got a few MP3s from Amazon to fill in gaps on the five year-end lists SB did. I still don’t have everything—need to unearth my Jazmine Sullivan CD to fill gaps on four lists, after which I’ll have two complete. Yes, I know this is tres baseball-card of me. Anyway, once I listen to everything I got for these—and since I can’t remember what it was, that means I listen to each incomplete list in their entirety. Right after buying the MP3s, I got through the first two. Tonight I just did one. After this: Match Game!


  1. Thoroughly enjoying following this project of yours. I too have music overload so am trying to adapt some of it to my own listening habits. The big difference is that I have a child and finding the time, and space, to listen properly to music is difficult, but that doesn't stop the endless accumulation.

    Can you please tell me what 'promobot attack' is?
    Good luck!

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting! "Promobot": the mechanical voice telling you that you're listening to a promotional copy of [title] by [artist], which is coming out on [date] from [label]. Often in exactly those words. There were a couple times earlier in the decade when I got advances of titles that had my name on them (Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly, most notably), which was a little disorienting but, as always with the promobot, pretty annoying as well.