One Fine Dub = Sly & Robbie + Brinsley Forde

Hello,

long time no post anything. I’m not going to try and hide behind shallow excuses like I’ve been swamped or anything of that nature. Truth be told, I just let this blog slip out of my mind.

 

I am in no mood to write a long piece today, I just would like to show the world what the cover of ONE FINE DUB is going to look like. One Fine Dub is the Groucho Smykle-mixed dub companion to Sly & Robbie + Brinsley Forde’s “One Fine Day” album, which will come out some time in early 2017. Why the dub album BEFORE the vocal album, you might ask???? First of all, why not? More seriously, it is because I’m an asshole perfectionist and I want the mix of the vocal album needs to be hard, heavy and frightening in a sense. And have a JAMAICAN sound. So, as soon as Robbie is back in Jamaica, Steven Stanley and him are going to get on the case…

 

Robbie has so much on his plate work-wise right now that it may take a while before the thing is finalized… As a result, it may be the first time that a dub album will be released BEFORE the vocal album! But more on that brand new dub album shortly… Remember, today, I wanna talk about the artwork, and nothing but the artwork.

 

A couple of years ago, after I released Dubrising, I got really interested in video games graphic artists and thought I’d love to explore this area further. I found this guy Joseph Gloria Chapalys and fell in love with his stuff, some which you can check at https://www.artstation.com/artist/Kairo

 

We met and hit it off right away. The dude is awesomely gifted and professional unlike others in his field that consider themselves as artists and act like what they think artists should (ie: being real douche bags and late and fucked up). To make a long story short, I commissioned the illustration below as a first step of what I hope will be a long collaboration with TABOU1. The lettering and so forth will be refined.

 

So the front will look like this:

 

Sly and Rob cover 2

 

while the back, where the tracklist, credits, logos, etc… will appear, will look something like that, but better and more professional as I just did a quick and dirty lettering job myself using the toolbox of the Preview application on my Mac which obviously is not as powerful as professional software…

 

Sly and Rob back copy.

 

I know I know this doesn’t look like a Reggae or a Dub album. That is PRECISELY why I like it. I haven’t been a huge fan of the ites green and gold color code in many many years, quite frankly. I kinda like how angular and aggressive these graphics are.

 

So there you have it, I hope you like it. Feel free to drop comments, questions or what not, I’ll gladly answer.

 

Until then stay away from dubstep and other electronic music monstrosities!!! Dub IS NOT EDM (and vice versa). Roots music crafted by real musicians, preferably recorded live in the studio, is the way.

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14 comments

  1. Haha. I like that King. Dub is not EDM. Would you ever consider creating a Sly and Robbie project with Mad Proffessor mixing? He still uses tape and original board. Dope live too.

    1. hi Wayne,

      Robbie and Sly have recorded enough material to do several albums with Mad Professor, who already released the grammy nominated “The Dub Revolutionaries” in 2003 or 2004. Neil came to pick us up and drove us to his Ariwa studio. At first I remember there was another musician on keyboard, but Robbie told him to stop. Sly & Robbie (and the musicians they are usually recording with in Jamaica, like Robbie Lyn or Mikey Chung) work super fast and that guy just could not keep up with their pace, wasted time and spoiled the vibe. They recorded something like 40 drum and bass tracks that night.Those tracks were later overdubbed by Steel and other musicians that Neil uses on his productions and then dubbed. Some of the tracks were used on an Horace Andy album, and probably on other albums, as I know Neil is a “waste not, want not” kind of guy (rightly so!)

  2. My only complaint is I wish you do more posts.

    Are the Aswad guys on good terms ?

    What are your thoughts on Mykal Rose’s “hot steppa” release from June?

    1. They are in touch. When I was around Brinsley (great guy by the way), I stayed away from the Aswad thing, and didnt ask a million questions, press for a reunion or that type of thing, but he did volunteer a number of stories and anecdotes. Actually, my approach was to try and “jamaica-nize” the whole recording. Which at times was a challenge for him as his work routine was quite different from Sly & Robbie’s.

      Michael’s album? The producer tries to make it sound like S&R were involved. They were not. They. Were. NOT. He played guitar for them on a tour in the US after Darryl passed and during a day off, he took them to a studio to lick some riddims. And they were nice (or bored in their hotel rooms) enough to do it. Now all of a sudden their name is all over the product… Is like, dude, are you serious? I mean, did they keep you after that tour?

      In any case, for me Michael’s only really great album as a solo artist is “X Uhuru” and I also like some songs from “Proud”. I also like his first solo tracks after he left Black Uhuru: “Hurry Home Baby” and “Bogus Badge”

  3. So where was the dub album Mixed? You can’t have a Dub Album before you have a Mixed Album and furthermore a Dub album is always is a lot heavier than the vocal album.

    1. Hello Bernie:

      thank you for your comment.

      In nearly 40 years of listening to Reggae and more than 20 years of producing albums, I have not been aware of any such rule, although generally, you’re right, dub albums come out after the vocal album.

      However, on rare occasions, the dub album has preceded the vocal album, and on other occasions, dub albums have been released without the vocal album being released at all.

      In this particular case, I liked the way the dub album was mixed and didn’t want to wait for the mix of the vocal album to be completed. The dub is mixed by Groucho, one of the genre’s top mixing engineers ever, at his own studio in London. The vocal album is going to be mixed by Steven Stanley and Robbie Shakespeare at Anchor Studio, in Kingston, Jamaica. The vocal album will be far heavier and sparser than the dub album, another exception to the “rule” you were mentioning.

      The dub albums I’ve been producing with Groucho (the first one was “Dubrising”, see elsewhere in this blog) are dub for sure, but I really want to instill a dose of musicality in them, hence some synth overdubs by Dan Donovan (who used to play for Big Audio Dynamite way back in the 80’s). Meanwhile, the recent vocal albums or tracks we’ve been producing for Bitty McLean or Junior Natural are very very sparsely mixed with a super heavy sound.

      Check this as an illustration of the sound and atmosphere we want for Brinsley’s album

  4. First, big big respect for your work. It’s always a pleasure to discover some of the work you put in place with Sly&Robbie.

    I agree with you about the artwork vibes, its good to change and evolve about the RedGold&Green thing. It sometimes limit the potential of some music because of the cliché it carries and its refreshing to change. I would say : good to keep the roots but the branches also have to grow with the energy that everything around provides !

    Then everyone have is own taste for the artwork, I think Dubrising’s one was crazy, the artwork reflected very well the dub mixs. It would be too long to put words on the links to make between the sound and the front cover but i liked it. This one needs some additional work but it stands in the same kind of vibes 🙂 Does the visual artist listened to the album to build his visuals? (on Dubrising and on this new one)

    What do you think about the artworks of Taj Francis (some Protoje and Chronixx visuals) ? I like the modernity of it, its fresh with some new influences and new colors but still rooted in jamaican culture. Well, its my personal view.
    And don’t you think that “African Roots” and “Warrior” were also two good solo albums of Michael Rose? (I think both comes from Twilight productions). Good riddims and good energy from Michael Rose.

    Waiting now for the releases, dub album then the vocal one. Thanks for articles, the one about Gregory is always cool to read even for the fourth time. Keep on writing!

    1. Hi Greg

      thanks for your comments.
      Yes even though I don’t necessarily wish to go the same routes as these fine artists, I absolutely love what Taj Francis is doing. I seem to remember a cartoon that was totally awesome. I remember wishing I could afford something like this. I tried contacting him to know more about his work.

      About my albums’ artwork, graphic artists I have used for Dubrising and One Fine Dub were not introduced to the music. The Dubrising artwork was not designed for an album: I had discovered that Chinese artist several years before working on Dubrising and thought his work would be great for a dub album, which, at the time, was not mixed or even envisaged. I remembered about him and contacted him when I had the tracks finished and asked permission to use his work, which he kindly gave me.

      For One Fine Dub, I had found Joseph’s work by perusing through hundreds of sites and blogs specialized in video game graphics. Some of his work required many hours of work and was therefore out of reach financially for me, but for my meager budget, he did what I have here. He is not familiar at all with Reggae or Dub, but that is absolutely unimportant for me as long as the work he sells me reflects what my vibe for a particular album cover is.

      As for Michael’s work with Twilight, it ranks high in his discography, alongside Michael’s albums for Heartbeat in the early 90’s (Michael Rose with the badass Badder than you and Dance Wicked). I remain partial to X Uhuru though.

  5. Hello, Guillaume

    I have listened and would consider these track dubs, with the vocals running straight through the tracks and the instruments phasing in and out. Surely Groucho is more than capable of doing better than what I’ve just listened to. Were you or Robbie in the studio with Groucho whilst he was mixing the tracks? Or sent him an example like the one I’ve just listened to would have given you what you want. That said, you seem to know the market you’re aiming for.

    Giving the Producer/engineer the information you about the type of mix you want, or spending the time in the studio would help.

    Bernie

  6. I always thought bandcamp would be the place where mp3s are cheapest, and most of the $$ goes to the artist. Naturally I’d always try and buy there. But at $17 for 9 tracks this is just outrageous – it’s even cheaper at crappy HMV! Man, overthink your price politic again. Cheers

    1. Hello

      thank you for your comment. The bandcamp store offers files at much higher resolution than mp3 files available on “mainstream” stores. Here, we’re talking about better than CD resolution that are the closest thing to vinyl. Actually, they are the very files I’m sending the vinyl pressing plant to manufacture the records that will come out end of January.

      So it all depends on what you want: low resolution mp3 or quality files.

      And yes your contribution on the bandcamp store goes to the artist faster and with less “evaporation” than the spotifies of this world. So paying a bit more on Bandcamp helps much more and I am grateful to those customers who see it this way, because, let me tell you, I freaking need the extra bucks. Every little bit helps, or as Jamaicans say, every mickle mek a mockle.

      So here again, it all depends on what you want: you can act as a supporter and make sure that a bigger slice of your dollar supports independent labels and their artists or save 2 or 3 dollars.

      Last: in these micro niche markets, price doesn’t dictate anything. If I priced the album at, say, $5, I would not get more customers and I sure would not get more revenues. I tried in the past and it doesn’t qwork this way.

      Hope my reply helps shed some light as to why, how, when. Please do feel free to continue the conversation via email to guillaume.bougard@gmail.com as I’m not sure this blog is the right place for it.

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