Tanty Records and its producers collective the DUB FUNK ASSOCIATION have been bringing together over the last 12 years many facets of heavy Reggae, Dub, Funk and Breakbeat based music, which has been influenced by the Dubs out of the Jamaican studios of Black Ark, Joe Gibbs, Channel One, and King Tubbys during the 1970's and 1980's, not forgeting the UK Sound system culture representing black music's developments from the 50's to the millennium and beyond.
The Dub Funk Association are staying true to tradition, and experimenting wildly. Lee Pinkerton examines the contradiction that is Tanty Records.
There is a small buzz on the streets at the moment, about a white label tune called 'Creation', by the Dub Funk Association on Tanty Records. After tracking down the people behind it, it turns out that the record; the Dub Funk Association and Tanty Records are all the work of one man, Kelvin Richard.
'Creation' is the second release from Richard, his first was issued late last year under the name of 'Mateel' by MGR Records, but the label was less enthused with the unique sound of his music, explains Kelvin. 'They wanted something that was more song-based, more recognisable. I wanted to experiment and take a change, and rather than wait for someone else to say, 'yes, it's good'. I decided to do it myself. Tanty Records and KPR Productions were born from there.'
So what is this experimental music known as 'dub funk'? Kelvin cites his influences as the dub of Bunny Lee, Johnny Clarke and the Aggrovators, and the funk of early Cameo, as well as more surprisingly, the sixties pop of Phil Spector. 'He had very busy mixes with lots of things going on, and that's what I'm trying to bring into the Dub Funk'.
In spite of the above, Kelvin tries to stay true to the traditions of dub, unlike many modern productions, who, he feels, use the term too freely. 'They should find another word for it. When you hear a Morales or a Hurley dub mix of a track, that'' not dub in the way I understand it. If I call something a dub mix, it's going to be mixed in the same way maybe King Tubby or Prince Jammy would add a flavour when they were on the board. 'The way I see music is completely different to what's going on now anyway, so I couldn't copy it even if I wanted to. By its very nature it's going to be different. Whether it's better or worse is obviously for other people to decide.
One group of people who have decided on the former are the guys at Quaff Records in Berwick Street, who bought 30 copies for the shop; their lead was followed by Catch a Groove in Dean Street and Naked Records in Harrow who all liked it enough to put their money where their mouths were. However, the record may still be difficult to get hold of, because due to the experimental nature of the project, Kelvin has so far only printed up 500 copies. But he doesn't necessarily feel that that is a hindrance.
'It may not be a bad thing that it's hard to get hold of; something like this may do better from the underground. As long as a few people know that it exists, that's the main thing. If it's good then it can spread by word of mouth.'
So now you know the word, get spreading.