In 2004 I got introduced to the Polish reggae-dub-ska and punk scene by one of my hometown friends. And so, I have discovered a unique universe that has amazed me since. During my architecture studies, I found out the extraordinary creations of Polish visual artists of the sixties, connecting those strong imaginative visuals with deep vibrating sensitive sounds and music. When you put on a Polish album in any genre, prepare for a trip.
Positive Thursdays in Dub debut LP, Landing on Planet Dub, has received a great remix treatment. As I see it, it is more like Landing on the Dark Star, filled with challenging and authentic deconstructions by Vibronics, Chazbo, Suns of Dub, Uncle Fester on Acid, Død, Jabbadub, and Alien Levi.
Unlike the polished sound production of their Polish conational, Dreadsquad and Radikal Guru, there is a live approach that the band has and expresses. Like a cinematic creator, they are scoring a yet unreleased Polish science fiction film. The epic, monumental live energy of the band is sharped by constant performing and collaborating with underground legends like On-U Sound affiliated Ghetto Priest, the frontman of Asian Dub Foundation. Rafal is leading the band towards unpredicted territories into outer space.
In an interview taken by Positive Thursdays in Dub’s leader Rafal Konert with Lee Perry, the musical genius clears the air on what “Dub music is… like a heart, the heartbeat is a drum, and it needs a brain. And the brain is bass.” So let’s get deeper into the Polish bass dimension.
Rafal Konert is a perseverant broadcaster (continuously making his show since 2006) and a passionate bandleader, sound collagist, theremin player, and visionary. Rafal has released in his shows interviews with artists such as Burning Spear, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bunny “Striker” Lee, Alpha Blondy, Sizzla Kalonji, Capleton, Ky-Mani Marley, Junior Reid, Gentleman, Shaggy, to name a few.
I’ve mind mapped this LP like a chessboard. Black and white pieces are channeling the soul in the machine.
On Remixed on Planet Dub, the songs are more electronic-influenced, chopped, and reassembled into a delicate ambient, immersive, and hypnotic flow. Knowledgei, remixed by Alien Levi, is by far the best song to introduce this album. A slow burner, opening lazily, but to a great effect. The producer deconstructs the original, stripping it to the bone, changing the tempo, but keeping the focus on the drums and bass riddim after the tensioned intro.
Rising, remixed by Jabbadub, goes straight into dub rockers territory with the version. One of Poland’s promising producers, Jabbadub is an active personality, and his rework has a maze-like hypnotic approach, making the original feel like jazz-rock compared to his deconstruction. On the Turbulence remix, Chazbo sets us in the balanced groove mode. He rearranged the bassline closer to the digital rub-a-dub dancehall. His pumping version blasts through any dancehall floor with mighty power and unforgiving force.
Vibronics version of Amazing Space is probably the most straightforward reggae instrumental on the LP. Nevertheless, highlighting the horns solos, he still reminds us of the beautiful Skatalites and Vin Gordon in dub. Dark Side, remixed by Død, is like a post-rock dub, with an accent on a distorted guitar imploding in the middle section into a soloing violin. Talk about Schizophrenic Dub a la Mad Professor!
Dub Wars, remixed by the Suns of Dub, is a different kind of beast. It takes the conceptually cartoonish sound of the Star Wars theme tribute, and treats it broken style, almost like walking on the edge of a knife. New instruments appear like the superb steel pan that mirrors the courage of the original with new vibes and textures.
What does the name Uncle Fester On Acid imply? Freedom from rules, of course. I mostly listened to his work on the Dub Mission label, but this Collective Eardrum Damage remix is maybe the most floating piece of music on this album. It is the closest thing to filtered alien radio transmission of the original tune.
On the last track, Landing On Planet DUB, TVB and his remix go into a techno-trance drum and bass mood ending the album with bombast and fanfare. All that is missing is a dub siren putting the finishing touch to a great remix collection.
The last two remixes of the album are a radical depart from what one would expect from Positive Thursdays in Dub, Rafal Konert, and Ghetto Priest. But I feel like it is all for the better, as none should be boxed in a genre and labeled, and this type of versatility only builds instead of containing and limiting.
The Best is yet to come!