Rhythm & Sound: w/The Artists, The Versions

Burial Mix/Asphodel, 2003

w/The Artists cover

Since 1996, the guys behind Basic Channel (the mysterious Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald) have been releasing dub 10-inches under their Burial Mix imprint. A CD collection called Showcase compiled the first five of these. Now w/The Artists and The Versions compiles parts six through thirteen. I’m not sure how much remastering was done to these recordings, but on CD the panning effects seem more prominent. Although there’s something satisfyingly tactile to playing the original vinyl, it’s also nice to listen to eight consecutive tracks without attention to a turntable. And what tracks! Here are vocalists whose ’70s releases were ground-breaking, from Cornel Campbell and The Chosen Brothers to Jennifer Lara and Love Joy. Beneath their soulful singing are reverb- and white noise-filled electronic depths. Deep, deep bass burbles ground snare ticks and surges of synth. The Versions, instrumental dubs which were B-sides on 10-inch, bring production to the forefront. These tracks are extended journeys into the murky depths of thick German vinyl. They’re minimalist masterpieces inspired by everything from Chicago house and Detroit techno to King Tubby and Bullwackies. Similar material can be found on the Rhythm & Sound 12"s, some of which were compiled on CD in 2001. All of these releases are worth collecting. Although Jamaica and Berlin seem worlds apart, there’s some spiritual connection at work, resulting in the most compelling music I’ve ever heard.

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Some of the finest dub-reggae I have ever heard. The programming is often modest but appropriate, and every guest vocalist is exemplary. The best thing to come from Mauritz and co since the Scion re-arrangements. Best electronica album of 2003, IMHO. [Best song? "We Been Traddin'"]