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Issue 1101

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Review

Jah Wobble: Japanese Dub

JAH WOBBLE: JAPANESE DUB

9

6.0

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UK release date 06.04.2010

Following the overwhelming success of his 2008 release, Chinese Dub, Jah Wobble - creatively adventurous music-maker and master of the cross-cultural collaboration - turns his attention to Japan...

Releasing a ten track album featuring himself alongside Joji Hirota (vocals, taiko drums), Keiko Kitamura (vocals, shamisen, koto), Clive Bell (shakahatchi) and Robin Thompson (hikaritchi, sho, shamisen)Clive Bell (shakahatchi) and Robin Thompson (hichiricki, sho, shamisen).

If you are expecting transcendental zen like harmony you'll have to wait a bit as the opener 'Shinto Dub' will wake you out of your slumber with war cry like Taiko drums and haunting Hichiricki and Sho wind instruments which have a real cleansing effect. Your ears will prick up to this evocative pairing, Wobble's bass does like it's master wobble and it tries lay out the path to the 'Way Of The Gods', no easy task! Track 2, the wistful 'Cherry Blossom Of My Youth' sees JW mixing in some heavy hip hop drums and the bass playing the lead line as well, this works remarkably well and the heavy processed bass really kicks ass! JW leaves gaps for the sweet koto melody reflecting the bitter sweet sentiment of the tune.

Wobble has been nothing but thorough in his quest to fuse traditional japenese music to his way of thinking 'Kokiriko' reputedly the oldest known tune in Japan, eats into your brain and the beats swing sympathetically to this evergreen! Check out the dub versions too of this song no 5 really shows off Wobble's exquisite bass he some how mixes the melody line with a bass line thrown in simultaneously, you can actually feel the striving dilligence of the man .Top stuff!

It takes a bit of getting use to to the western ear but it's worth perservering. This album with it's simplicity and preciseness echoes admirably the complicated aesthetic that much of Japanese art is based on and like shinto itself Wobble has established a connection between the here and now and Japan's ancient past.
Words Emrys Baird

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