Mountain

One of my brethren is of the opinion that most of what I post here is good but my main open goal, shot-in-the-foot, self inflicted wound and weakness is Dreadzone. Which mystifies me a bit. They have form (a string of albums packed with good tunes covering reggae, dub, roots, techno and dance). They have background and authenticity (Big Audio Dynamite’s rhythm section became Dreadzone). Their live shows are the stuff of legend. So enough Sep, and to paraphrase many an early 90s indie group, ‘I just post what I like here and if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus’. On with the Dreadzone.

The latest Dreadzone album, Dread Times, is out now and was preceded by this single, a bass heavy, British roots reggae bouncer, recorded at Mick Jones’ studio. The title of the album and its lyrical concerns are very 2017 and with its variety of guest vocalists- Don Letts, ragga duo Louchie Lou and Michie One, and Lena Cullen- this is very much modern West London reggae, best played loud with a full bottom end. At the end of album opener Rootsman a voice intones ‘roots music can never die’- something they seem to prove with every release.

Fight The Power

Dreadzone’s 1993 single Fight The Power was a timely piece of protest against the Criminal Justice Bill. It’s peppered with sampled speech, a vocal snatch borrowed from the Beastie Boys too, a pumping keyboard riff and bouncing bassline and it doesn’t sound any less relevant today- it’s just the specific target has changed. Amusingly the person who added the captions for MTV had them down as Deadzone.

Fight The Power ’95

Roosevelt High

Dreadzone’s 2013 album Escapades contained a fair few gems, showing the fire is still burning brightly. This song, Roosevelt High, made the miles disappear on my journey home last night, a very satisfying piece of dub techno with some lovely slide guitar.

Dreadzone turned twenty one this year. To celebrate Greg Dread offered the people a new deal (ha!) and put together a mix of twenty one Dreadzone songs, in chronological order, from the dancefloor end of their work including remixes from Underworld and William Orbit. Bouncing.

Zion

Not only did the French Resistance take enormous risks and suffer terrible reprisals while taking the fight to the occupying Nazi forces but they found the time to dress well and look good while doing it.

Underworld did a ton of remixes of other people- Bjork, One Dove, St Etienne all stand out in my mind. This one of Dreadzone takes some beating. At ten minutes long it’s got plenty of highlights… the kick drum at 1.11, the Korg riff repeating throughout, the hi-hat at about 3 minutes, keys after 5 minutes, everything hammering away and building ever upwards, the inevitable breakdown (8.13) and then (at 8.34)… whooooosh, we’re away again.

Zion Youth (Underworld Remix)

Dub In The Right Way

I’ve been digging Dreadzone recently. Their dub inspired techno hits the spot, uplifting and righteous. Greg Dread has a Soundcloud page that is worth rooting around in, all sorts of rarities, versions, remixes and live shows. Here’s a couple of highlights.

Dreadzone versus King Tubby

A vocal version of their 90s classic Little Britain featuring Earl 16. The instrumental version of this song was all over the place at one point and has some cultural resonance today in the light of the referendum and the issue of devolution for the regions. It’s strange to think that Dreadzone supported the Gallagher brothers at Knebworth.

 

Places

‘ve been uncovering and re-discovering bits and bobs by Dreadzone recently, which includes keeping an eye on the Soundcloud page of Greg Dread. Coming out of the ashes of Big Audio Dynamite they spliced dub with dance and made many good tunes through the 90s and into the 21st century, for a variety of record labels. Last year’s Escapades album reunited them with Mick Jones for the single Too Late. This song has been posted by Greg Dread- Places, a beautiful tune and vocal, with some dialogue sampled from Harry Dean Stanton in Paris Texas (above with Nastassja Kinski). The cost of the sample led to it being removed from the released version- which is a shame as it works really well. I’m currently playing this half a dozen times a day.

Packing

We had friends round for tea and a couple of glasses of wine each and we’re now trying to pack to go on holiday tomorrow. And I’m mucking about on the internet.

I missed this absolute gem of a song and only discovered it by accident earlier today- from last year, Emiliana Torrini and Steve Mason, noisy and way up there. The noise, I’ve just discovered, is provided by Toy.

I Go Out

And this, a remix of Lana Del Rey’s Video Games by Dreadzone’s Greg Dread. Lovely.

Lana Dub Rey

Right. How many pairs of shorts do I need?