Dubkasm - Transform I *2LP Reissue*
Originally out in 2009 (kind of feels like yesterday) it's real, real great to see this unique piece of discography, and a big favourite from the vaults of Bristol's Dubkasm pressed up again 15 years on. Shouts to Dubquake Records for making it happen on a mighty two disc gatefold package with original artwork as well. If you don't own this one already... you might want to reconsider this right now.
When Dubkasm were still mostly known as dubplate providers for Shaka, Aba, Iration and the likes, this album changed the game somewhat, and merged the worlds of the uk roots and soundsystem scene, and brazilian players from Sao Paolo and beyond, in a very great way... With authenticity and respect to the roots, as well as forward thinking experimentation in the mix.
Cementing its classic status as a crucial point in the Dubkasm story, Transform I combined Uk roots & dubwise, with the sound of Brasilian instrumentation, recorded during Digistep's return to the country in the late 00's: Berimbau, zabumba & cuica melodies flow in symbiosis with deep reggae bass & drums. Samba and nyabinghi rhythms intertwine with conscious Rastafari message sung-out in turn by uk roots legends Dub Judah, Tena Stelin, Ras Addis, Afrikan Simba, Christine Miller, Ras B, Jeru Banton, Ras Bernardo and Levi Roots.
Musically speaking, Transform I speaks for itself when you listen - the message is clear - deep roots meditation and hi tek steppers with elements of brazil's rich musical history and the many unique local instruments, and of course their players. Lyrically, it's a conscious affair, with a rasta message, and a call for social improvement in the conquest against babylonian struggles, from racism to poverty and unity.
Dub Judah made a rare and much lauded vocal appearance on this album too, with the futuristic slash ancient sound of the Berimbau & nyabinghi rhythm powered cut 'From The Foundation' - The opening track with Dub Judah delivering teachings on building things up from the ground, with a grassroots mindstate and integrity.
Next up, a cascading dubkasm-style steppers rhythm leads the way for Ras Addis to control the mic like only he can, with a dreader-than-dread message to tear down the (city) walls of babylon, before the reverberations of the dubwise section take over.
The pace of the album rolls like ebb & flow, with deeper cuts interlacing the more charged tracks - 17 in total - ranging from heavyweight, hi-tek steppers (Hail Jah w Ras Addis, and Shaka-favourite Zulu Dawn for example) through to melancholic and uplifting ‘Strictly Ital’, the heartfelt ‘Touch I Heart’ with Afrikan Simba and the modern lovers rock of There’s A Love w/ Christine Miller, right on to fierce & soundsystem minded pieces such as Babylon Ambush, which exists as an Iration Steppas dubplate special too…
Cuts such as Sangue Brasileiro and ‘Moses’ alongside Bristol elder Ras B on vocals, seek a deep harmony with the brazilian sound, yet in an authentic rootical style.
It’s been a pleasure listening back to this masterpiece in retrospect and to appreciate it again, for what it is: a truly unique modern day / timeless roots album, rich in detail and injected with a great amount of musicality and a sense of invention.
There are heaps of bangers on here which heavily stand the test of time and unlock some hazy memories from listening to this for the first time, which somehow still, we said above, still feel like ‘not long ago’.
Pretty sure we were first digging into this one on CD back then even… By the way - we have some o.g copies of those available too, if you want to go multimedia and enjoy this one cross-format!
If you ask us…. this one is a 100% essential piece of UK roots & dubwise music, with the unique addition of brazilian elements in the mix. A real special piece and a true community effort, from Bristol via Sao Paolo to London and back again.
A2. From the Foundation
A3. City Walls
A4. More Jah Songs
B6. Strictly Ital
B7. Babylon Ambush
B8. There's A Love
C9. Respek I-Spek
C10. Touch I Heart
C11. Rua João Vieira 106
C12. Sangue Brasileiro
C13. Nyah Keith
D15. Zulu Dawn
D16. Hail Jah
D17. Foundation Dub
From The Foundation
More Jah Songs
Touch I Heart