Alborosie delighted roots and ragga fans earlier this year with the release of Sound the System, an album which features sixteen new studio recordings fueled by his passion for authentic roots reggae music. The multi-talented Alborosie produced all the tracks on the album and played 90% of the accompanying instrumental parts. Key features on the album include Ky-Mani Marley on the Bob Marley classic “Zion Train” and Italian star Nina Zilli on the infectious, Ska flavored track “Goodbye.” The legendary Abyssinians make a guest appearance on “Give Thanks.”
In reviewing the album upon its release, I said the following:
“Al is at the top of his game here and no one dare try to disturb his groove. Jamaica extended a reluctant handshake to the Sicilian-born deejay/musician/producer in 2007 when the Observer described him as ‘Italy’s most authentic and best known reggae artiste.’ That’s right, authentic. This writer, like Jamaica, was late to the Alborosie show. Aside from a few choice productions here and there, I had him pegged as just another boring and unremarkable voice in a long line of boring and unremarkable voices in modern reggae. Raver has arrived to the party, and I apologize for being tardy.”
Next month the Ital-Dread (no, Al does not eat Ital, but he is Ital-ian born) will release the anticipated dub companion to the album. Titled Dub The System, the album features ten vicious dub tracks that will wet the apetite of even the most hardcore heavy dub head. Alborosie has established himself as a contender in the dub heavyweight division with a stellar dub effort in 2010′s Dub Clash, an undeniable and downright addictive modern dub classic.
Following a short foreboding intro, the album gets into gear with the keyboard-laden “Dub The Dancehall” and the Taxi-esque (think “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner Dubwise”) “Play Fool Dub,” two hard and heavy roots steppers that really get the blood pumping and the head bobbing. The latter track as honest a tribute to Sly and Robbie as you will hear. “Dub Concern,” which could easily be titled “Sax In Dub” starts out with a weighty keyboard and sax solo and evolves into a real standout track, with real nice dub effects on the sax. The sax solo at the 2:45 mark is simply mind-bending! Again, another steppers riddim surely to keep any dance raging. “Who Run The Dub” is poorly placed on the album, and probably should have been dropped altogether. It sucks the energy right out of this set at the exact moment when it is at its highest level. Alborosie brings the dubheads back into the party with the guitar-driven “Train To Dub,” an adequate dub translation of Bob Marley’s magnificent “Zion Train” and a tune on which Al collaborates with Kymani Marley on Sound The System. “Don’t Pressure Dub” is another standout selection from this set – a slow, dreadful, classic roots reggae dub done right. The album finishes strong with “Warrior Dub,” the version to his duet with Nature.
All in all, a very strong effort from Alborosie and a suitable follow-up to 2013′s Sound The System. Dub The System is relentless without becoming overindulgent and proves, yet again, that Alborosie is one of the few artists still recording in Jamaica who is keeping that classic roots and ragga sound alive and kicking.
Many thanks to our good friend Zack at VP Records!
Included HERE is a sampler mix featuring 1-min. clips of each album track.