Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dub Professing

South London-based dub producer The Mad Professor and his soundsystem tourmate, the singer Aisha, provided what has to be called this still young 06's best live show to date. Their performance at club night Dubmission (at the Elbo Room), Sunday Jan. 22 was a dub fan's dream: live on-the-fly soundboard mixing of all-originally composed or remixed future roots music. Prof killed it.

His elegant dub caucauphony included Grand Canyon-big echo effects, wet reverb splashes, wraith-like gated snares and psychedelic flange and chorus combos. His efx were in effect, y'all. The major coup was that a good third of all the material he played (direct from a multi-track sampler, through myriad custom effects and a purchased-that-day Mackie mixing desk) was brand-new late '05 and just finished '06 music. And de tune deh wicked!

The show opened with singer Aisha the High Preistess (as she's known) singing and dubbing her big hit "The Creator," with 'sha's hypnotic "Ow-ooh-wow-wow-ooh-wah-ooh-wah-wah" vocal chant. The original has been sampled by The Orb and even illegally made its way into a few cheap sound libraries, thus giving the refrain a life of its own.

Prof dubbed new material by Max Romeo (an absolute corker called "Internet"--judgement fi tricknology!), a new Aisha track titled "Chitta Chatta" (big tune!) and multiple other new Ariwa stable tracks played "showcase stylee"--vocal, then dub version. And this was just the first night (straight off a London-to-SF direct flight) of the slated Pacific Northwest tour, which I was intrigued to note, included an Olympia, Washington date. Clavin Johnson and crew were likely overjoyed.

For the spotters out there, other song highlights included: a Mad Prof version of the UK dub classic "Prophecy" by Fabian,a remix of several original Burning Spear classics, including "Poor Marcus Garvey," and a new song (buy on sight!) called "Ghetto Living." The good news: he returns to California for another tour in June, set to feature guests like Dr. Alimantado, Michael Prophet and Earl 16. To quote the Twinkle Brothers song: "It dread, it dread, it dread...BUT IT GWINE DREADAH!"

My SF Bay Guardian Preview:
Mad Professor and the Ariwa Posse
No producer has taken reggae music further than the UK's Neil Fraser, a.k.a. Mad Professor. Since 1982 Fraser has created an anything-goes, echo-drenched, sample-filled universe of roots reggae vocal and instrumental dub albums on recordings like the multichapter Dub Me Crazy series, and with singers like Sandra Cross and DJ Macka B. In 1995 Fraser remixed Massive Attack's entire Protection album; the same year, he put out It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Professor (Ras) and Black Liberation Dub Chapter 2 (Ras), and with 40 solo works, he's indisputably dub music's most prolific producer. Bespectacled and serious behind his mixing board, ADAT tape machines, and custom filter effects, Fraser looks every bit the part of the nutty scientist improvising his way through unpredictable music experiments. He is joined onstage by Joe Ariwa and roots singer Aisha. With DJ Sep 9 p.m. Elbo Room