Review Summary: Although in most parts completely seperate from the origional recording, the soundscapes created by the spacemonkeys are far from dated. Not something every Gorillaz fan would enjoy, but a great complimentary recording to go with the 'Gorillaz' record.
Some people my think that there is no place for a Dub record this side of the millennium. Whereas in the seventies and eighties every reggae or ska recording would be remixed as a dub recording. Nowadays this is much less common, although remix albums are still around, they usually make the original track into electronica, Hip Hop or a dance recording.
Dub recordings were pioneered in the early 1970s by Lee ''Scratch'' Perry and King Tubby, they would take the instrumental tracks of roots reggae artists, then increase the bass, and mix the components in and out of the mix. The vocals haunting the background and only becoming audible for occasional hooks. The music created was truly revolutionary since there was still only four track recorders, there is still dispute as to how some of the tracks were conceived as the artists were all very secretive of their methods and gave flippant explanations of how their work was recorded.
Nowadays dub is a rather hip, but still widely unknown branch of music. Technology has improved that there is sometimes very little challenge in making a dub version. Most DJs are uninterested. The Spacemonkeyz made a few of these tracks as bootlegs on their own. But Damon Albarn was so impressed, that he commissioned them to make an entire album of remixes. Damon added more vocals and brought in the help of Terry Hall, U-Brown and Earl 16.
As for the actual music of the album itself, it is not the kind of remix album you can expect nowadays. It has only one group doing all of the remixes, and it is not a ''mash up'' between two different artists. Unlike the original dub style, this music is not made up purely of music already featured on the Gorillaz record. Melodica, guitar and other rhythmic soundscapes and samples have been added to the recording to make it sound more like a 1970s dub record. Although this does make the record better, it takes it further away from the origional album. Some songs are built up around the bassline with music recorded by the Spacemonkeyz, with long passages between any inclusion of the song it was mixed from.
Highlights of the record are 'P45' which is a remix of '5/4', this features reggae rhythms on keyboard, with soothing horns. This also has the main vocal hook performed by 2-D making it the most dancable track on the record. 'Strictly Rubbadub' features a great vocal performance by U-Brown, coupled with new vocals by 2-D, for those that enjoyed the eccentric performance by Del The Funkee Homosapien on 'Clint Eastwood', this track will be enjoyable. The best track on the record is ''Lil' Dub Chefin''' which has a faster bouncier pace, transforming the fast rock of the origional into a fun knees up of a ska song. This also features a great performance by Terry Hall of The Specials
although he doesn't add any new lyrics, his deadpan performances suites the song better than you would expect.
Although in most parts completely seperate from the origional recording, the soundscapes created by the spacemonkeys are far from dated. Not something every Gorillaz fan would enjoy, but a great complimentary recording to go with the 'Gorillaz' record.