Johnny Dizzle Records, 2011
I don’t mind this kind of stuff, not at all. “Written, recorded, produced and arranged in my home recording studio,” according to the liner notes from Brendan Dane, a.k.a. Alific. Yep, it’s studio artifice, but that’s the norm for contemporary dub, in fact eliminate the word “home” and that phrase almost reflects the history of dub. And now we’ve progressed to the point where reading the liner notes reminds me of reading the ingredients in my deodorant; while the latter has propylene glycol and PEG-90 disostearate, this album has Melodyne and Oxygen 49 MIDI Keyboard.
Besides whatever those things are, Dub in the District also has real drums and occasional real vocals (“No Workin” and “Looking Back”), and once in a while, real melodies (“No Workin” and “Looking Back”, by funny coincidence). The rest of what Alific calls songs are extended and relaxed versions of pretty little riffs, dressed up (slightly) although with nowhere special to go. “Poons” is particularly amusing, thanks to its sound effects, and the album’s title track is a very pleasant way to draw the whole thing to a close.
So no, I don’t mind this kind of stuff. It does bother me a bit when Alific claims that his music “has no boundaries” and that he’s “meshing all genres and styles of music.” It must be that the bluegrass, gamelan, calypso, Beijing opera, baroque, rai, chanson, brass band, klezmer, choral and township jive influences are apparent on some other album of his, but on this one all the meshing I hear is pretty much limited to reggae and its rhythms. Not that I mind, of course.