Sly & Robbie

One Fine Dub = Sly & Robbie + Brinsley Forde


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


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.


Robbie Shakespeare at work

Yesterday, I put up 3 drum parts of a recent session with Sly & Robbie, today is Robbie’s turn.


Here are 3 bass lines. Nothing has been equalized, corrected, compressed, it’s the raw, organic, real sound that comes straight from Robbie’s Paul Reed Smith bass into the board.


Dubrising – Sly & Robbie (English version)

tabou1  is happy to announce the upcoming release of “Dubrising”, Sly & Robbie’s new album.


Here are sound samples



On this project, I asked legendary sound wizard Paul “Groucho” Smykle, who mixed dub masterpieces like Sly & Robbie’s “Raiders of the lost dub” and “Dub Experience”, Black Uhuru’s “Dub Factor” and the ground breaking “Ini Kamoze”. Groucho had not worked with Sly & Robbie in nearly 30 years…


After making sure the project made sense from an artistic standpoint and talking it over at length with Robbie and Sly, Groucho picked 12 tracks from sessions with Horace Andy, Chezidek, Bunny Rugs and Khalifa that I had produced with Sly & Robbie between 2006 and 2012. The instrumental parts had been recorded live at Harry J and Anchor studios in Kingston. Ever the perfectionist, Groucho asked Dan Donovan (of Big Audio Dynamite fame) to lay down splendid synthesizer overdubs and Bunny McKenzie to add dread harmonica parts. These additions provide a more coherent atmosphere and give “Dubrising” its own soul.


We decided to mix the album the old school way: live on a soundboard without any link to a Protools station. Working without a safety net is possible only if things are prepared well in advance. Groucho spends roughly a full day setting things up, from sound to effects and nobody is allowed to spy on the man! Whatever he does, the end result is stunning snare sounds, awesome reverb and delay choices, etc…


The result is sumptuous: the sound is heavy as uranium yet warm and silky smooth. It can delight any user on any system, from an mp3 player with small ear buds, to an audiophile stereo with gazillion dollar speakers, and of course, what’s probably the most important for Jamaican music, the sound systems. Refusing to enter the loudness war and arms race, “Dubrising” nonetheless blows away other ultra compressed, harsh tunes that, unfortunately, are increasingly the norm in today’s sound systems.


“Dubrising” will be released first in a vinyl-only format. I was asked: Why commit financial suicide and not go the mass market MP3 route??? Simply because it’s worth it from an artistic and sonic standpoint to sometimes go a less trodden (and more elitist I daresay) path. Vinyl is synonymous with a certain sound quality, warmth, and I love the nostalgia aspect of it too. I mean, taking out a record of its cover, then from its sleeve, placing it on the turntable, dropping the needle and after a few seconds of surface noise, hearing, being immersed in beautiful sounds coming out of the speakers is a highly pleasurable experience. It takes time and some effort to play records, but like a fine wine, it’s a relaxing moment during which one can enjoy a piece of art without being rushed or bullied by technology, a screen or some other nerve wracking stimulus. It’s a sensual moment of rest, quiet enjoyment that gets us closer to the sublime and the divine. Last, a vinyl-only release is a pro-vinyl militant act, a stand against the lowest common denominator attitude of record companies and too many people towards music.


Fret not, digital lovers: “Dubrising” will eventually be available in a digital format. First on our bandcamp page in high resolution 24 bit wav and flac files, then on online stores selling wav/flac files and last on the audio file supermarkets used by zillions of customers.


A vinyl record will sound great only if the mastering is done right. Mastering for vinyl is very different and requires quite different skills than for a CD or a digital release. Certain frequencies have to be treated so that the engraving needle doesn’t jump or create a rumbling noise. For this mission, I’ve called on mastering expert Bruno Sourice. He works with analog equipment, tube stuff only, and uses compression very, very sparingly, if at all. Given how well Groucho’s work was put together (perfect balance, sound levels very far from saturation and peak levels…) the mastering phase was pure joy, for a change!


To press the records, I selected Optimal, from Germany. They rank among the world’s top pressing plants, along with a Japanese working quasi exclusively for classical audiophile releases and a couple of American plants.


“Dubrising” will be released in two formats. The 33 RPM edition will be pressed on 150 vinyl. Because the album is 36 minutes long, the two sides last 18 minutes or so each, allowing for ample space for the grooves and thus producing a very nice, “phat” sound. For the audiophiles and collectors, a limited edition will consist of a double 45RPM pressed on 12″ 180g vinyl. Expect this to shake things up when playing loud!


And for the truly maniacal audiophiles, a few select sound systems and friends, I have commissioned Jacques Golub to make 25 hand lathe cut double disco 45’s. He is lathe cutting them one by one, at 1x speed on 2 millimeter thick records. Compared to pressed records (the regular technology everyone over 40 is familiar with), lathe cut records are far more expensive, due to the time required to manufacture them, the price of virgin records, etc… This manufacturing process is far more complicated and is more art than science. Jacques is one of the rare experts on the planet, he bought his own machine and his quality is top notch. He also runs the very nice Kingston Connexion label, by the way. On “Dubrising” he has decided to use diamond needles rather than sapphire needles to obtain deeper and better-defined grooves. The sound is spectacular and this technique enables a sound level clocking at 15 decibels higher than pressed records. The purity of the original master is nearly absolutely maintained, as the vinyl is cut directly from the mastered tape. By comparison, pressed records are 5th generation sound reproductions: 1st generation is mastered tape, 2d generation is the acetate, 3d generation is the master plate, 4th generation is the mother plate or the stamper… (I may be missing a step or two, by the way…)


Video game and cartoon illustrator Kuang Hong made the album artwork. His paintings of post nuclear war scenes fit really well with “Dubrising’s” atmosphere.


To further enhance the quality of the whole thing, packaging is a gatefold printed on super heavy 350 gram board that feels ultra rigid.


Track list


1 Satan Fall

2 Freedom Ring

3 Drone Snipers

4 Bully Tactics

5 To The Rescue

6 No Surrender

7 Flame Thrower

8 Double Agent


Original tracks – Artiste – Album


1 Zion Gate – Horace Andy – Livin’ it up

2 Accused – Khalifa – G.Riot 2013

3 Rastafari Prophecy – Horace Andy – Livin’ it up

4 Devil You Can’t Bully Me Out – Chezidek – I Grade

5 Holy Mount Zion – Horace Andy – Livin’ it up

6 Surrender – Chezidek – I Grade

7 King Of Kings – Horace Andy – Livin’ it up

8 Rumours – Bunny Rugs – inédit


This record is livicated to the memory of Bunny Rugs, Gregory Isaacs and Radgy Tamby (the “TA” in “TABOU1”).