The latest 10″ release for Culture Dub Records comes from the Basskateers and Sticky Joe, with Sista Bethsabée and (the doubly-skilled) J. Pattersson providing vocals while the instrumentals/dubs emphasize the horn-work of Becky. This is a true European collaboration – Germany, the UK, and France are all represented.

The opening notes make it clear that this release is really all about the trumpets – slightly mournful despite being triumphant – yet the pulsing steppers beat on “Freedom” is nothing to scoff at either. Sista Bethsabée lets her voice wail on the title-fuelled chorus, while for the verses she tightens up her delivery to speak about the ills of society and the need to fight against oppression.

The following track, “Counterstep (Beg-A-Horn Mix),” rides a seemingly weightier and more electro-fuelled bass-line, with gritty reverberations sailing through the soundscape. Vocal-less, this is a busy instrumental number with its own features and influences rather than a dub. The catchy horn theme is actually less prominent than on the opener, but it still appears with sufficiently captivating frequency.

“Overcome” is billed as a double-AA side, and aside from a Basskateers shoutout – ‘let’s get horny!’ – at the beginning, the lungs of J. Pattersson control the tune. Lyrically it’s all trials and tribulations, which fortunately ‘it is possible to overcome.’ The second verse is then arguably even more on point: ‘we don’t give a shit on the daily competition, being satisfied with what we have is our mission.’ Surrounding those verses, J. Pattersson’s trumpet is optimistic in tone, and uptempo to boot.

The dub then is initially surprisingly gloomy, with dark synths and foreboding bass leading the way. The lack of horns only lasts about 30 seconds though, as short punches of brass weave through the low-end. The severely limited vocals are barely distinguishable at all through the stomping haze of “Crazy Counterdub,” which nicely puts the focus on the intriguing blend of instrumentation.

Some intriguing efforts here without a doubt, sure to satisfy horn-loving reggae heads, particularly those supportive of the newer school of steppers.

Related: given that this is the seventh 10″ out on Culture Dub, many of the tracks from previous releases have been compiled for a free digital release which is also well-worth checking out.

More info:
Culture Dub website
Culture Dub Facebook

The Groove Thief
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