Decibel: More Cuts from Dennis Bovell 1976-1983

Decibel: More Cuts from Dennis Bovell 1976-1983

by Dennis BovellDennis Bovell

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, May 21


Dennis Bovell's influence on '70s U.K. music goes far beyond his punk-related production liaisons, or his role as Linton Kwesi Johnson's producer/bandleader with Dennis Bovell and Dub Band. He was central to the development of British reggae as a distinct sound, both with his group Matumbi, and as a producer, and the kind of dub and instrumental excursions on Decibel: More Cuts From Dennis Bovell 1976-1983 laid the foundation for Adrian Maxwell Sherwood and Mad Professor to emerge in the '80s. Decibel is a strong example of British reggae emerging as a distinct form -- it's not the Channel One or Studio One rhythm cops with a new melody or instruments flung on top, but a parallel roots sound from a different place and space. It's denser, with full basslines and the band playing longer melody lines than the 'Ja' norm that reflects the influence of U.K. pop. "The Grunwick Affair" and "Harmonizer Dub" show this isn't strip-down-and-drop-out dub so much as flesh-out and fill-in the middle with lots of little details floating through, and dub-wise studio tricks applied to the instruments (and the latter doesn't even work that well because the recording is so static). "Dominion Dub" works off a melodic guitar hook and effects overkill on top before going to skipping-along-in-the-park reggae -- it gets down to bass and drums in a different way, while "Rowing" is pretty classic in its use of space and heavy reverb over a skeletal riff hook. Many tracks, like "Zombie Zones," are well-developed instrumentals with some dub touches (more than dub per se), and even "Zion Dub" is both fuller and edgier than the 'Ja' norm. "Higher Ranking" starts with jazz-tinged guitar, and develops a sunny afternoon, easy skanking feel as sax trades off with the guitar -- it's a reminder of Bovell's finely honed pop sensibility. "Shi-cago" works harmonica into that sunny afternoon feel, and it makes for a very smooth transition into the strong melodica driving "None Jah Jah Children." "Entebbe" works off phat skanks before a nice horn line adds the missing melodic link and a trombone solo takes over to carry it home, but then "Scientific" is all drums and dub-sonic weirdness. "Ah Fi Wi Dis" is classic dub with militant, triumphant horn surges, and ragged-but-right punctuation blats with Bovell's bass at the fore, while "Blood Ah Go Run" features vocals and plenty of effects on a pretty striking repatriation anthem. Not all the tracks are as memorable, but Decibel is an excellent, varied sample of early British reggae, and easily the best Dennis Bovell disc out there (in part because he's only been reissuing his music in original LP form, and 30 minutes of music ain't a great value-for-the-money deal in this CD age). Now, if Bovell or anyone else would get around to reissuing his 1982 double LP, Brain Damage, which really lives up to its name for mind-boggling dub wizardry.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/22/2003
Label: Pressure Sounds
UPC: 0689492020910
catalogNumber: 39
Rank: 35042


  1. The Grunwick Affair
  2. Harmoniser Dub
  3. Dominion Dub
  4. Rowing
  5. Zombie Zones
  6. Zion Dub
  7. Higher Ranking
  8. Ranking High
  9. Scientific
  10. Shi-Cago
  11. None Jah Jah Children
  12. Uganda Crisis
  13. Ah Fi Wi Dis
  14. Entebbe
  15. Blood Ah Go Run
  16. Dub'er

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dennis Bovell   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Jah Bunny   Drums
Julio Finn   Harmonica
Angus Gaye   Drums
Steve Gregory   Horn
Webbie Jay   Keyboards
Earl Jones   Drums
John Kpiaye   Guitar
Style Scott   Drums
Eddie "Tan Tan" Thornton   Horn
Glaister Venn   Vocals
Brown Sugar   Vocals
Rico Rodriguez   Horn
Michael "Bami" Rose   Horn
Nick Straker   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Dennis Bovell   Producer,Engineer
Martin Rex   Engineer
Mark Lusardi   Engineer
Jeb Loy Nichols   Liner Notes

Customer Reviews