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"Style" Scott and Dub Syndicate
"Hard Food"
by: Jarret Lovell

It was with the arrival of Dub Syndicate's newest release, Dub Syndicate - "Hard Food" (Echo Beach), that I learned about the untimely passing of Lincoln "Style" Scott - longtime drummer for one of the most prolific and influential reggae bands of all time - the Roots Radics - and co-founder (along with On-U Sound's Adrian Sherwood) of the experimental outfit, Dub Syndicate. On October 9, 2014, Scott was murdered in his Jamaica home. Details are sketchy, but police responded to calls about gunshots in the area and found him in his home. This, of course, makes this posthumous release all the more difficult to review. Not only is it safe to say that I own anywhere between 50 and 100 full-length recordings featuring the work of Style Scott, but both the Roots Radics and the Dub Syndicate rank among my favorite recordings of any genre. Nevertheless, Dub Syndicate has been known as an outlet for sonic experimentation. If dub has its origins in the exploration of sound, then Dub Syndicate picked up this experimentation when Lee Perry's Black Arc Studio burned down, when King Tubby left us, and when Scientist (with whom Scott worked and recorded) moved on to other projects. On more recent releases, Dub Syndicate has featured vocals accompanying heavy bass and drum dubs, and Hard Food is no different, as tracks feature such reggae heavyweights as Bunny Wailer, U-Roy and Lee Scratch Perry. As for the sound, it is classic Dub Syndicate, if not a bit more mellow. The drums have their echo/processed sound, keyboards reverb, and the bass guides the tracks. Track #4 "Love Addis Ababa" is simply gorgeous, as filtered horns guide the track to sonic bliss. Track #5 "Firehouse Special" is a beautiful rendering of the "Firehouse Rock" dub Scott helped make famous when he backed the Wailing Souls with the Radics. Here, melodica combines with warbled bass and tons of reverb. Track #6 finds U-Roy on vocals in good form. Track #7 is signature dub syndicate. And so on, and so on. It is safe to say that this album would receive high praise from me had it not come bearing bad news. But if the news makes me appreciate the record even more, it is because one cannot help but hear in the recording the sounds of a lengthy career - one that is almost singly responsible for igniting my love of reggae/dub music.


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