Alborosie gets hands on with ‘Freedom Dub’
There are some standard images which make for that comfort zone of familiarity which can criss-cross with similarity and cliche when used on album covers. One is the spliff and puff of smoke (yawn, y'all can't get anywhere near as revolutionary as Peter Tosh with Legalise It from 1976). Another is the pose at the mixing board. For while just about anyone can move a fader and punch a button, audio engineering is an art and science all by itself, with dub, the apogee of that sonic manipulation.
But when Alborosie, the man from Italy who made a hit of Kingston Town in homage to the capital of the country he relocated to close to the turn of the millennium, appears on an album sitting in the engineer's chair with his fingers on some faders, it ain't no pose and it ain't no cliche. For he is an engineer for real and, on Freedom Dub, he gets to do that most wonderful (and dangerous) of things - play with his own creations. It is wonderful because who knows how best to reshape the music, than the man who has corded it and performed the tracks live over and over again? But dangerous, because self-pleasure, though safe, can be quite infertile.
So where has Alborosie, who is credited by his 'birt papa' name Alberto D''Ascola on all 10 tracks (along with other persons) and as co-producer for the entire set, along with Shengen Music, fall? Smack in the middle of creating something new out of something, if not old, then certainly familiar. If you have met Alborosie's 2016 Freedom & Fyah album before, then many of the titles will be familiar. On the 2016 release, there is a song named 'Strolling', which feature s Protoje. On this set there is a Strolling Into Dub. Fly 420 featured Sugus, now there is a Dub 420. Can't Cool' is on Freedom & Fyah, Dub Can't Cool is on the more recent release. There are many more titles related to each other, just as Freedom in Dub is a discernible adaptation of Freedom & Fyah.
With his control of the mixing board to process his established material, Alborosie is able to make something new and interesting of each track which is what dub does, when used in that manner. Freedom in Dub 'is a good listen, and an admirable re-presentation of not only the songs, but also Alborosie's diverse skills.
Zion Dub Youth
Strolling Into Dub
Rocky Dub Road
Rich N Dubby
Dub Can't Cool
Carry On Dub