This big double (dubble?) disc set from this Austrian dub collective features reggae/dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry and Slits frontwoman/bad-hair-day victim Ari Up.
This album is hard to review. Dub hasn’t had many innovative leaps since its early days, and is virtually defined by its hypnotic cannibalization of older tunes. To call “Return From Planet Dub” repetitive and creatively lazy is like complaining that a rock album has too much guitar.
This album adds a few bells and whistles, but mostly sticks to a downtempo roots sound. Lee Perry’s earthy contributions add rootsy cred, though his zonked-out rambles have, for many years now, sounded more like the mutterings of a dirty old goat than of a mad genius.
Though she enjoys top billing with Scratch, Ari Up is only featured on three or four of the 25 tracks, but those tunes sound the freshest and liveliest on the first disc.
The remixes that close the second disc also have some flavor, thanks to the addition of spacey ambient and drum n’ bass. Though simplistic and a bit canned, the techno beats add a little life to an album and genre that feels trapped in a dusty past and within itself.
Bottom Line: Succeeds as dub music in recreating that high-out-your-gourd feeling, but nothing remotely new here. Still – a whole lot of dub is dished out on these two discs.
Notable Tracks: Surrender Dub, Kingston Dancehall Dub, Evil Burma Dub, I Do Voodoo (Rob Smith Remix)