Rock | Overdubbed

Irie Magazine | ROCK | Overdubbed


Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix

In reggae, all roads lead to the ‘Riddim Twins’, Sly & Robbie. They’ve been revered as style-defining icons for years, and together and individually have a massive influence on the genre. They are also renowned for their willingness to shatter boundaries and experiment with sounds. Over the past decades, they have never been shy of leaping over into other genres – for instance, their timeless, super-tight production work for Grace Jones…!

Now, Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix. The Canadian producer and multi-instrumentalist got his hands on original Sly & Robbie tracks and spent months crafting this new album, Overdubbed. Dubmatix is celebrated for his out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to experiment, and the album shines with fresh ideas.

Sly & Robbie’s tunes, which are originally without vocals, haven’t simply been dubbed: extracting the
individual essence of each track, Dubmatix has added a plethora of tweaks, ideas and individuality,
making his musical signature clearly audible. On some tracks, he invited vocalists, including Jay Spaker (John Brown’s Body), Screechy Dan and Prince Alla, to contribute their unique style. As well as Dubmatix himself, the album features many other musicians.

The result is an album that shines with eclectic diversity. From roots oriented tunes to dubs for the clubs, there’s a bit of everything. Dubmatix’s refreshingly playful, bass-heavy approach creates new highlights while at the same time paying deserved homage to two world-class musicians.

Dubmatix… In his worlds

“About two years ago I was in Hamburg and met up with Nicolai who runs Echo Beach Records and he had an idea – another label, Groove Attack, that he works with had access to some Sly & Robbie tracks and would I be interested in possible doing something with the tracks.

I thought it was a great idea, not only as an opportunity to work with the legendary Sly & Robbie but for the challenge of creating new songs from previous ones.

The first step was getting the tracks for two songs, removing everything except the bass & drums and building the songs from the bottom up – crafting new melodies, instrumentation, chords and more. Once they were done and sent over for a listen – it was agreed that we’d proceed with a full album. From my initial conversation with Nicolai to release it was about an 18-month project.

After I’d selected the tracks I wanted to work with, I never listened to them again. I began each track with only bass & drums and proceeded as I’d done with the first two – building brand new songs from the core foundation by Sly & Robbie. As the originals were dub tracks, the goal was to create something fresh, not purely dub, but instilling the ethos of what dub is – the openness, vibe and textures.

But always at the core are Sly & Robbie – It was an honour and joy to work with the Riddim Twins.
Musically the album spans vintage 70s reggae, triphop, breakbeat, afro-brazilian, dub and more with each track flowing into the other.

For guests I brought in Prince Alla, Jay Spaker (John Brown’s Body), Trèson , Megative, Screechy Dan, Illorn, Bill King, Pablo Paul, Shaky J, Pato Irie, Heavyweights Brass Band, Grippa Hemppolics and
Aaron Kazmer.”