ZonaReGGae Reviews…”Renegade Rocker”[ING version]

DubmatixRenegade Rocker 2008 7Arts

Dub music is, and will go on being a top request for all lovers of foundation reggae music. It has been a style lucky enough to never go commercial, apparently maintaining the originality of the B-side that popularized this “double” tune, in the beginning of jamaican seventies. The A-side was aimed at the popular hit song; the B-side strive the experimentalist of the engineer and creativity of the deejay.
Throughout the evolution that time provided, it has also indeed, suffered many influences, adaptations and styles combinations, and even sometimes an instrumental is mistaken by a dub, in the true concept of studio sound processing that is allied to it…But in any case, one thing remains true, to the teachings provided from over 30 years ago by the likes of King Tubby, Lee Perry, Errol Thompson or Herman Chin, the riddim emphasis, the drum and bass rocking together, amongst the echoes, reverbs, percussions or fading vocal drops.
It has also taken different paths around the world. Just to name a few, and if in Jamaica it seems to have been forgotten, in Europe taken by storm by the leading UK style or in Asia brought to a singular level on Ambient styles, in north America, it has trailed in a refreshing revival path, in the latest times.

From Canada, Toronto, curiously enough, of the main migration spots for Jamaican musicians in the seventies, comes one the finest understandings of dub music in our days: Dubmatix. One man project, given name, Jesse King, introduced himself worldwide, with “Champion Soundclash”, a kind of, evoking all ages of dub music album…And since that, it has been a non-stop venture in both sides for Dubmatix: taking it to a future level, stepping still, on the foundations one!

Although he is a master in the decks engineering control, his musical background proves to be the driven force, behind is exquisite perceptive of reggae roots music.
While his start out on music, playing drums for a Toronto reggae band named One, surely provided the experience necessary to achieve the current reggae and dub performance, it were his family roots that provided the insight. The childhood years on the road and in studio, with his father and 5 decades career jazz musician, Bill King.
Better known for his works alongside Janis Joplin, Bill King was in the early seventies, playing keyboards with a local reggae group, alongside Everton “Pablo” Paul, one of the members that shared stages with Jackie Mitto or Wayne McGhie, playing in the mythic sixties early reggae band The Cougars!
Being involved in this atmosphere, what a bless must have been for Dubmatix, discovering dub music when Everton Paul lend him the life shaping, classic and essential: “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown”.
Good choice! For sure, mainly because it helped define the music that Dubmatix is producing our days…
Still with the partnership efforts and guidance from his musical experienced father, Jesse and Bill King formed in 2003 the 7Arts Entertainment. An independent recording enterprise, aimed at releasing their own music, and the music from other committed artists as they put it: “with something to say”.

With this important support backing his work, and after the release of the above mentioned, “Champion Soundclash”, Dubmatix took off to a more global level, often having the chance to tour is dejaying soundsystem skills, supporting renowned foundation names as Michael Rose, Alton Ellis, Sugar Minnot, Ranking Joe and many more!

Always collaborating with friendly crews in the project Dub Collective; touring in clubs and festivals around Canada, or working in remix projects from many points of the globe (like with “our” very own Portuguese dub crew Bandulu Dub on the track Bandulumatix), Dubmatix kept it focus on pushing dub music limits to a new level each and every time more appreciated abroad.

Dubmatix supporting fan force has been growing worldwide, mainly since the acclaimed 2006 release “Atomic Subsonic”. Though Jamaican guest appearances Freddie McGregor and Anthony B, played a important role in that, “Atomic Subsonic” was the perfect follow up to 2004 “Champion Soundclash”, showing that electronic and digital dub, can coherently complete and be influenced by roots music, resulting in a more true approach to what new modern reggae concept, should stand for.
By the time the vibes reached Europe, trough Silenc!o Records in France, it was a total blast in the dub universe! What proved to be enough for a full 3 months successful tour, in the middle of 2007.

Proven it is that, Dubmatix knows very respectfully to appreciate the fans support and love for his music. Over at Dubmatix.com, we are presented with a more than satisfying selection of free mp3 downloads, from many of past and present productions from this Canadian Dubmeister. Many of those, where also included on the 3rd release “Dread & Gold – Dub from the Smoke Factory”, a strictly digital release containing tunes recorded between 2003 and 2008, where we can find Dubmatix first ever dub release “Ain´t Got no Love” and “Killing Dub”, one of his latest great rootical productions, that served as a sound preview, for what we would be treated in the new “Renegade Rockers”!

Released in last May (2008), “Renegade Rocker” is already taking the world by storm. Not so often we can listen to a reggae album, crossing 4 decades of this music style, in such a pleasant way!
The concepts of reggae and dub music throughout its ages, are all over “Renegade Rocker”, with the updated electro dub sounds meeting with extraordinary rockers, roots, and early dancehall bass driven tracks, completed with original, vintage sounds influenced, horns. Even it´s no surprise that Dubmatix can create the perfect musical Revival Roots atmosphere, “Renegade Rockers” as to stand out, because of the astonishing All Stars line up of Jamaican guest vocals. Alton Ellis, Linval Thompson, Michael Rose, Ranking Joe, Willi Williams, Sugar Minott, Pincher, Wayne Smith…The Who is who in the reggae vocal history is fully represented here, and better yet, in top form and style!


Rockers golden voice and top hit producer Linval Thompson, opens the set with a beautiful appeal for “Peace & Love”, followed by the always in demand, top Ranking Joe fast paced deejay style in the track “Tornado”. Near to his fifties, the Studio One oldscholl legend, as used us to top live performances, and plenty of featuring tracks all over the world. In “Renegade Rocker” he present us with a second appearance, one of the best livication to Jah, Ranking Joe efforts of all times, the superb bang-bang-dilly-dilly style “Give Thanks & Praises”.


All the veterans made a praising effort to bring a true conscious vibe and message to “Renegade Rockers”, and as we listen to: Willi Williams demands for a righteous world in “Re-Action”, Sugar Minott sweet praises to the bright side of life “In the Ghetto”, or Pinchers struggle livity warnings on “Rock and a Hard Place”, we are offered with a consciousness acknowledgment that only such true strugglers could present…


For the lover of revival roots reggae, is hard to standout a favorite from among the vocal tracks on “Renegade Rocker”, but “Easy Down” on material fake joys, requests from Black Uhuru legend, Michael Rose, and rocksteady Godfather, Alton Ellis, “Blessing of Compassion” soulful shouts for positive thinking and acting; could easily make a top entry in any jamaican music top (or at least in a “Renegade Rocker” lyrics concept based, kind of world…). Worth of mention is the outstanding strength that Alton Ellis, in his mid sixties, still has to cry out for changes in the world!

If not yet convincing , just go and listen to Wayne Smith “Idacity”, and you will stay with the felling that, the man that chanced dancehall reggae history with “Under me Sleng Teng”, as done it again! As this, deal with love not with war, uplifting message, could easily become the best single release of the year! It´s not easy to discover or understand what Wayne Smith has been doing over the last decade, but for those curious enough to wonder, here he is, in top form and blessing vocals, over a roots dancehall Dubmatix trademark riddim.

On the other side of Dubmatix, there is a newcomers presentation, also worth of listening, as close companions and Canada based, Raffa D and Rasta Reuben Kwabena, make appearance on the steppas update “Dub in me Hand”. On this well aligned modern dub intermissions along “Renegade Rockers”, we can find some delightful seventies dubwise showdown influences on Sub Dub; Happy Dub and Soul Dread Dub; thunderous future dub productions on Burning Fire Dub, Steppas Shock Dub or the unique reggae/drum & bass connection, from Dubmatix side project DJ Iron Belly, on the final and nice up the dancefloor, uptempo ragga drum&bass track “Push”.

As the old timers catch phrase ”This version rules the nation from creation” echoes near the end of the final “Push”, “Renegade Rocker” insight is disclosed. As this is a version of classic and original reggae concepts, destined to rule, in this world of misguided “riddim of the month” fabrications…Let´s hope and see, that King Dubmatix as arrived to inspire a change on that!

8 Responses to “ZonaReGGae Reviews…”Renegade Rocker”[ING version]”

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