Two generations who champion the fine art of dub come together for a right royal rub down
What’s the first thing you think of when we mention Chicago or Detroit? Exactly. In the UK, Sheffield and Bristol evoke similarly vivid musical pictures. Some places are synonymous with the sounds they spawned. Others not so much. Take the Kent seaside town of Ramsgate, for example.
As the sharper knives among you will have realised, we’ve not just plucked Ramsgate out of thin air. Nope. While it sounds unlikely that it should be synonymous with dub, the idea isn’t actually so daft at all. See, the Kent coastal town is where revered producer Adrian Sherwood calls home and it’s out of his On-U Sound studio that we gratefully receive this debut offering from Sherwood & Pinch.
Sherwood should need little introduction, but we’ll do one anyway. Starting in 1981, his On-U Sound label played a significant role in introducing the spiky-haired post-punk brigade to reggae and dub and, through his association with Tackhead, hip hop and funk. And while On-U gave the world the likes of the New Age Steppers (featuring Ari Up from The Slits and Mark Stewart), Dub Syndicate, African Head Charge, Bim Sherman and Gary Clail, Sherwood’s Pressure Sounds imprint ensured there were also accolades for Jamaican pioneers such as Burning Spear, Keith Hudson and Prince Far I. Oh, and let’s not forget his remixes for the likes of, oh, pretty much everyone. He even made Shed Seven sound decent.
Thing is, anything with Sherwood’s name attached is always worth the ear time. ‘Late Night Endless’ is no exception. Teaming up with Pinch – the trailblazer who shifted dubstep down the M4 to Bristol – and his Tectonic Recordings label, it’s one of those “of course” collaborations. The pair met when Pinch (real name Rob Ellis) booked Sherwood to play at a Tectonic night at London’s Fabric. The meeting proved to be a two-sides-of-the-same-coin moment and you can hear it spinning in the air throughout this album.
The clappy twinkle of ‘Different Eyes’ and the deliciously gentle groove of ‘Run Them Away’ see the two producers shoulder-to-shoulder, while you’ll recognise the satisfyingly deep sub rumble and garagey undertones of Pinch on tracks such as ‘Music Killer (Dub)’ and the frenetic ‘Gimme Some More (Tight Like That)’. Sherwood takes centre stage on the likes of the low-slung ‘Bucket Man’ and the excellent jazz scented ‘Wild Bird Sings’. He also adds to the proceedings by bringing a host of friends to the party, including Lee “Scratch” Perry, Daddy Freddy, Congo Natty and his Tackhead mate Skip McDonald. Natty and McDonald are also residents of Ramsgate, by the way.
‘Late Night Endless’ is an intoxicating brew and one all the richer for the meeting of these dub generations. We could do with more of this kind of thinking from both the old and the new schools. Ramsgate as the home of dub? Not so daft really.