The Easy Star All-Stars are a New York reggae collective who made a name for themselves with their 2003 cover album, Dub Side of the Moon, which you can probably guess was a dubstep take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
I never heard that one, but I did snag a copy of the All-Stars’ new Dubber Side of the Moon and have to admit I’m impressed. I wasn’t overly familiar with the dubstep genre — reggae-influenced, bass heavy electronic dance music which is usually syncopated and often shuffled or incorporating triplets — although I’m widely familiar with reggae covers of traditional records. The one that first comes to mind is Dread Zeppelin. Please pass me a trash can so I can vomit.
So being semi-naive and overly-biased, I was immediately skeptical. Reggae remixes of Floyd. It can’t be good, right?
WRONG. This record is really great. Roger Waters and friends are still there, but they are only the inspiration for these tracks.
Whether it’s the horns and cyclical base on Dubamatrix’s “Speak To Me/Breathe (In The Air),” the head-bobbing trip-rock of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant’s “On The Run,” or the ear bud singeing schizophrenic samples on Adrian Sherwood & Jazzwad’s “Brain Damage,” this album produces listenable tracks that stand alone as original works. Each song is remixed by a different experimental dub-step producer, so you get a lot of variety, too.
When I told my coworker about this album, he immediately raised his eyebrow like I was crazy. I played a bunch of tracks for him and raved on and on until he gave it a spin. I’m not sure he’s a super fan yet, but you can’t grow dreadlocks overnight.