Out via the home of “future dub music”—OnDubGround’s prolific ODG Prod. label — Roots Raid’s sophomore full-length Nuit Blanche not only delivers on that ambitious premise but also arguably exceeds it.

Vocally, this relies on Cookah and Likkle Ferguson (both credited on the stellar album cover, a choice collage by the skilled Nadia Diz Grana), while Panda Dub and Dawa Hifi make notable co-production appearances. Like its 2014 predecessor From The Top, this is a focused artistic vision; one that, in the best of ways, envelopes contemporary issues in sonic sci-fi tropes and a heavy-yet-sparse bass-driven mindset.

“Calling The Universe”, a Likkle Ferguson feature, sets the tone and the pace alike, brooding yet groovy, summoning visions through similes: a black hole has never sounded so sweet. Then the title track presents the stylings of Cookah, over a more driving electro-infused beat. “Virus” is simply of our time, finding a satisfying balance between its disparate elements. Next comes “Roots Roots Cowboy”, the respect-oriented single, which brings Panda Dub on board (and presumably on the board), hinging on punchy deliveries from Cookah and Likkle Ferguson and a top-shelf groove: the recipe for this satisfying album.

Perhaps that mixture is best demonstrated on “Africa” (again with Panda Dub) or the exquisite name-dropping celebration “Too Many To Mention” (with Kayass joining in a three-the-hard-way fashion)—But there’s too many to mention, too many of them; remember, remember, remember; some come from Ja and some come from UK; one thing for sure, we love them in the same way. Listener’s choice.

The future-now flavors of “King In The North” and “Pulsar”, with sax lines from Mael Cageron, are a pair of quality instrumentals. However, it is the fourteenth track, “Transgender”, that stands out, stands up, and stands strong. It is tough in every way— just the other day well I heard them say; transgender ain’t no human anyway; but who are you? to say that today; a gwaan go hear the words of the one singjay: Transgender, respect them members. Well said. To unequivocally state the obvious: there is never any room for hatred or discrimination in dance music.

Free download via ODG Production or support the artists via Bandcamp (which also has the Rooty Cowboy 12”).

Finally, if you’re so inclined, check out my review of From The Top.

The Groove Thief
.the future of dub is the present.
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Writer: NiceUp
Editor: Global Reggae Charts Magazine