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Various Artists Dub Massive: Placed by Bill Laswell Review

Compilation. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

...these CDs might just be the only dub comps you need in your collection. They're...

Peter Marsh 2003

Another week, another dub compilation. While the shelves of your local MegaTower CD store may be groaning with 'em, it's often hard to pick the wheat from the chaff (or indeed the bud from the stalks).

But here's something different. Compiled (or 'placed' as the sleeve would have it) and cleverly re-mixed by bassist, producer and sonic terrorist Bill Laswell, these CDs might just be the only dub comps you need in your collection. They're that good.

Laswell can claim some credibility in dub circles he's worked with Dub Syndicate, Sly and Robbie and the ubiquitous Jah Wobble. Plus, he's got himself a neat track record in remixes (or 'mix translations' as he likes to call them) of material by iconic figures like Miles Davis and Carlos Santana.

Even so, these collections surpass expectations. While Laswell's trawl through the Trojan vaults has turned up familiar gems from Scientist, The Upsetters, Augustus Pablo and the like, they've never sounded better. Bill's love of the bottom end will give your woofers a workout (my headphones have taken a bit of a battering over the last couple of weeks), while subtle use of digital dub trickery adds a further hallucinogenic spin to material that's already pretty mind-bending.

But this is understated stuff -puristswon't be throwing up their hands in horror. Both CDs end with the nyabinghi driven chants of Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus, with Laswell taking us back to the roots of dub after dragging us to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. Bass is the place.

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