In Dub, bass is the place. In the case of Bass Jihad this place lies somewhere in subterranean Brooklyn where sonic impressions and rhythms of the Middle East and South Asia are filtered through the sonic alchemy of Jamaican dub. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Dub Gabriel‘s second full-length release brings all these influences together into a heady mix that will inevitably get comparisons to the more esoteric dub output of Bill Laswell, Muslimgauze, The Suns of Arqa and the Wordsound label’s Crooklyn Dub Consortium.
The album kicks off with “War In The Poppy Fields,” a swiney double reed loop over a kicking Middle Eastern drumbeat with keyboard stabs and a thick bass presence. Things begin to really trance out nicely in “Musique de L’âme” with its ghostly violins and gently supportive tablas. “Tales Of One Man’s Trials” features MC Khalil’s dark musings over a dry breakbeat that would sound right at home on any Spectre release and “Dis Song” sources poet Mutabaruka’s voice from his “Dis Poem” dislocated over a propulsive push/pull beat before ethereal chords drift over the developing groove. The album finishes off with “Second Coming Of The Urban Mystic,” a lengthy ambient dub excursion that leaves the listener adrift in a seemingly eternal nocturne.
Bass Jihad is not so much a sonic call to arms as it is a notable contribution to the ever-expanding universe of Dub. It’s also a great excuse to get your subwoofer pushing out some serious pressure.