|INDIGO FLOW E-ZINE #7, UK
The Dub Funk Association is a collection of musicians lead by Kelvin R who aim to bring the concept of Dub Funk into the public eye. Dub Funk, if you were wondering is a combination of Reggae, Dub, Jazz, Breakbeat and Hip-Hop.
This album is really amazing, it's got me dancing as I type this. One listen to a track like "Enter the Chuzzler" and you will be hooked for life.
This is a far cry from the shite Dance music we get rammed down our throats in the charts today, this music is big, has substance and is just crying out to be listened to. 8/10
THE RECORD, CANADA
DUB FUNK ASSOCIATION
Sounds Of The Heavyweight
Tanty Records 019627 ('Nuff)
Back in the day when dub ruled (i.e. when Lee Perry, King Tubby, JoeGibbs, Niney The Observer and others commanded attention, circa 1976), fans collected all-dub sets and analyzed and admired every groove and sound shift. Britain's DFA is a loose collective of musicians who sound like the saviours of a lost art form. Using bits of funk, breakbeat, hip hop and jazz, they deliver one tough brew filled with big sounds, fat basslines and echo chambers. Like the previous Spirits Under Pressure and Confrontation In Dub albums, this one really kicks.
(Oct. 13/99; D.C.
THE BEAT (USA)
The Dub Funk Association have forged a synthesis of orthodox Jamaican dub, hip hop drumming and jazz filtered through the UK mutant dub ethos of repetition for effect, modern effects and showers of echo for a unique addition to the ever burgeoning catalogue of millennium dub. Sounds of the Heavyweight is their latest effort and it achieves high marks in creativity, expectation and variety in the riddims.
"Rockers Specialist" leads off with a Disciples riddim that unfurls, after the deejay shout out, into a slinky bassline surrounded by swirls of space age echo. Its repeated melody drives the beat and the various snippets of muted jazz guitar interludes and trills of effects are rather ethereal. Added as texture, these colourings of sound give the mix an uncluttered and relaxed feel.
"Enter the Chuzzler" is their first single and it trades off twisty hip hop drum licks and funk style melody punctuated with short shocks of robotic effects. The frenetic drumming gives this a nervous, edgy feel pulling against the typical melody repetition. "Trojan Horse" varies yet again with depth charge drum echo and languid melody for something that
resembles latter day Pablo mixed by Scientist.
The standout selection here is "Dub in the Arena". It starts out softly, yet determinedly, with a snare and high hat combination. Front and centre, through the track's only use of echo, a crisply funky bass melody appears, tethered to a precise and fast tempo riddim. Blasts of a separate melody fragment enhance the soul funk nature of the melody for an overall outstanding bit of dancefloor dub.
"Trod Along Dub" is a more typical New Age dub with melodica melody and thumping drum. The shimmering effects and bursts of echo embellish the melody quite nicely. Throughout Sounds of the Heavyweight, the drum presence has a snap and flash that energizes the rather introspective nature of the dubs. "Skulk" is reminiscent of Alpha and Omega with its martial tempo and intermittent zip of laser sharp clarion effects. Its six minute length is rather restrained and could have worked better if the drums had pushed the tempo harder.
The Dub Funk Association has attempted to liven up the standard UK dub methodology with a healthy shot of jazz, soul and hip hop. While this is far from a novelty, the added attention to the drum side of drum and bass is what sets Sounds of the Heavyweight apart from their contemporaries. Several of the selections present on this disk are 'repeat play' material and really sound fantastic at loud volumes.
Week of November 15, 1999
Once upon a time, massive travelling sound systems roamed the earth. They were housed in custom vans or buses, and wherever they went the earth shook with phat, fuzzy basslines. With Dub Funk Association's Sounds of the Heavyweight those times have returned. With more bottom end than a Richard Simmons disciple, DFA's funk-steady jams will help you burn off fat through vibration alone. As I've said before, "if you've heard dub, you've heard dub!"; it's inthe execution that the masters are separated from the treble-entranced fools. DFA are undoubtedly masters of the genre. If you haven't heard dub, this is the record to get. If you have, this is still the record to get! -- nw
TOUSAND WORDS, USA
Why isn't all dub this good? Enter the Dub Funk Association, to drop a classic-style reggae album that doesn't sound dated or resort to flavor-of-the-moment histrionics. "Sounds of the Heavyweight" (Tanty Records) hits hard, a melange of bottom-heavy basslines, rhythmic guitar fills and spacey echoes over sizzling percussion and the occasional breakbeat. Very few concessions are made to current trends, and the result is a swinging, beat-heavy wordless box of stankin' grooves. Most reggae is shit (especially dub), this isn't. Bounce to this.
Chris Gin, Thousand Words Issue 26
REAL GROOVE (New Zealand)
Most attempts to cross-breed dub or dancehall with hip hop suck like hell's hoover why?
I don't know. You take two fearsomely potent forms of black music and like Marvin Gaye you encourage them to 'get it on', but despite their natural affinities and a certain degree of attraction, they'd rather admire each other from afar. When they do try the 'wild thing' in the studio, the sonic offspring usually displays the more regrettable characteristics of both parties rather than the beauty you'd hoped for. Still occassionally the union is unexpectedly fruitful.
Take the DUB FUNK ASSOCIATION. Oh baby! Breaks so huge you suspect Jah himself has strapped on the tap shoes for a spot of funky Fred Astaire action on the roof of the world. Basslines built to last; deep, strong and as heavy as a submarine full of Sumo wrestlers. Kick drums like cannons, felt through the chest rather than heard through the ears. Hi-hats that cut through the collie smoke like machetes, disembowling disbelievers. No wonder, then, that the latest bass-bin shocker from this noble collective (Tanty boss Kelvin Richard, UK dub don Russ Disciples, Ninja Tune hip hopper Part 2) should be named SOUNDS OF THE HEAVYWEIGHT. One listen to boom shots like 'ENTER THE CHUZZLER', 'HEAVYWEIGHT SITUATION' or 'ROCKERS SPECIALIST' and you're left wondering why local distributors aren't promising TANTY RECORDS mucho hard cash, strong herb and warm geishas for the rights to distribute it here (New Zealand). Meantime, check a good import store and demand they track it down!
M8 MAGAZINE, UK
Dub is good. We love dub. Want something, deep, dark, dirty,and skanking? Dub is your boy every damn time. However, the Dub Funk Associaiton are a dub fusion outfit, which has the potential to be a good thing or a bad thing. Dub fusion can be dodgy as we all know. Crappy breakbeat with deep reggae bassline? Dub Fusion, Hip Hop with a big wet flatulent bass? Dub fusion. Dreadzone? Dub fusion. But do not fret ladies and gents, cos the Dub Funk Association are the good kind of Dub fusion.
The DFA combine dub with drum 'n' bass and hip hop but they keep it tight at all times and may well hit you if you step on its trainers, but that's okay. It's moody but it isn't aggro, keeping the tempo nice and slow with dark, broken basslines writhing through their songs like deep sea creatures with big teeth, while vocals, snare rolls and bouncy organ licks flit around them like those little fish that groom the big ones, keeping them happy and stopping the mood from getting creepy. A bit different from anything else we've been sent this month, which is nice. Give it a go.