Sub Oslo - "Dubs In The Key Of Life"
(Two Ohm Hop 2000, TOH007)
From Aural Innovations #12 (September 2000)
On Dubs In The Key Of Life, Texas-based Sub Oslo returns with more of their psychedelic atmospheric Dub rhythms (an earlier LP was reviewed in AI #7). The disc opens with "Stratospheric Penetration" which has what may be the single most heart pounding bass I've ever heard. I had the volume low and it was still shaking the room. The pace is sloooow... with trippy Reggae rhythm guitar and intermittent spacey synth lines. "Celestial Dub" is my favorite track with slow trippy guitar, steady rhythms, even more spacey synths, and intoxicating keyboards and flute that make this a journey into a cosmic paisley Dub paradise in the Caribbean. The melodies are subtle and actually seem secondary. Rather, the music just floats along in a dream state, the bass being the only thing that kept this listener from falling into a deep trance. The synths are a little more prominent on this track cropping up at various points throughout to make their astral statement. Actually some of this reminded me of Ozric Tentacles played at about an eighth of their normal speed.
"Melafrica" is a bit different. The song combines a playful keyboard melody, trippy wah'd synth washes, and an assortment of bleeping and bubbling synths, all backed by Sub Oslo's trademark Dub rhythms. It all gets gorgeously freaky while still retaining it's dreamy quality. Call it Space Dub! "Washes Of Dub" was another track I liked for it's spacey synths. For cool piano work, "Reel To Reel Dub" opens with layered repeating piano lines. Maybe a little Phillip Glass-like. The full Dub orchestra soon kicks in while the piano continues merrily along. And on "Mi Familia Re-Dub" the piano jams along like it's part of a symphony, played against the heavy Dub rhythms. The guitar is even a little bluesy at the end.
In summary, I enjoyed Dubs In The Key Of Life more than the band's earlier LP. The music isn't any different but I felt there was more happening stylistically that added a little variety and development to the dreamy rhythmic atmospherics. Overall my jury is still out as to how much I would be interested in exploring more Dub bands. Still, Sub Oslo's music is good for a trippy Reggae influenced journey into trance land.
Dubs In The Key Of Life is distributed by Two Ohm Hop. You can visit their web site.
Contact via snail mail at Two Ohm Hop; PO Box 301629; Austin, TX 78703
You can visit Sub Oslo at their web site.