The Dub of Passover[Tzadik, 2011]

Among several breakaways from John Brown’s Body is bassist David “Solid” Gould, who, like former JBB frontman Kevin Kinsella, often has spiritual matters in mind when he makes music. Gould and his Temple Rockers band created one of reggae’s most intriguing pieces of cross-religious syncretism a couple of years ago with Feast of the Passover, a blend of Jewish and Rasta mysticism set on a foundation of reggae as deep as the Old Testament is old. The original’s not-of-this-world vibe is recaptured and in ways accentuated on the killer dub version, even though the cantor-like vocals that characterized much of the first album are minimal or merely implied here.

Gould’s bass is the anchor alongside the drumming of Tommy Benedetti, still a member of John Brown’s Body, lending his considerable skill. Laying down the dub mix around that core is Bill Laswell, who has gotten quite a bit better at mastering the balance of restraint and creativity necessary when it comes to dubbing reggae. His hand is particularly effective in putting some chill to the ska heat of “Who Knows Dub?” and opening up cavernous expanses of space to allow “Divine Dub,” “May the Dub Arise” and all else rolls forth on the strength of minor-key melodies, boiling tar pit riddims and Laswell’s added sonic jolts. Even if you haven’t heard the original album from which this fine, divinely inspired dub disc has spun off, passing over its dub successor would be meshugge.