Easy Star All Stars - Dubber Side of the Moon
Review by Ashley Allred
Several years ago the Easy Star All Stars took on an ambitious project when they decided to pay homage and reinvent Pink Floyd’s iconic album Dark Side of the Moon, as a reggae/dub album – Dub Side of the Moon. This seems like the sort of idea your buddy would suggest while sharing a spliff in the park, “Hey man, you know what be like really cool…”. The only difference is these guys actually pulled it off. Now, seven years later they decided it was once again time to take a trip to the moon.
Even though I’ve been an Easy Star All Star’s fan for years when I heard they were going to re-cover their cover album I was little skeptical. With so many classic albums out there to work their dub magic on and they picked their own. But after giving it an honest listen, I’m impressed.
On the new album – Dubber Side of the Moon (released October 26th) – each track is remixed by a different dub specialist who took the already spaced out, reggae sound to a whole different dimension. It is refreshing to see each producers take on the original Dub Side covers. The results are really out of this world (pun intended).
The album opens with a Dubmatix remix of “Speak to Me/Breathe (In the Air)”. Some of the long instrumental solos on the original Dub Side track were replaced by a full horn section for the remix. It is also more bass heavy than the original but the changes work and set the intergalactic tone for the rest of the album.
One of my favorite tracks is by the All Star’s resident sound man, The Alchemist. It is easily the most dub-step song on the album and is outlined in a heavy bass rhythm. Like I’ve said before, I’m just a sucker for a good bass line but this track has much more than that. There’s ringing synch, revered vocals, and just about every effect in the book – it’s basically a dub lovers dream.
I have to admit, before I discovered the Easy Star All Stars and in particular their 2003 release Dub Side of the Moon I wasn’t really interested in songs I couldn’t sing along to. I always complained, “…but there’s no words!” But after hearing the immense technical ability they posses, I forgot all about being able to sing along and instead focused on the music itself. And I’m glad I did.
This is not just an album, it’s an experience. You don’t just enjoy it with your ears; the Easy Star All Stars make sure all your senses are fully engaged from track to track. Dubber Side of the Moon should come with a warning label: do not listen while operating heavy machinery. You will be so busy listening to the layers upon layers of dub effects, funky bass lines and reverbed vocals that it may be hard to concentrate on anything else.
By Ashley Allred
Easy Star All Star Links