Thursday 30 January 2014

Review: Killing Joke – 'In Dub'

'In Dub' 

The long-awaited three-disc dub remix project spearheaded by bassist / producer Martin “Youth” Glover is finally here. Killing Joke are no strangers to experimenting with a huge variety of styles and genres, but this is the first time they have put out an album with a purely dub manifesto. The band collect tracks from across their back catalogue and give them the drum and bass heavy mixdown in favour of a purer “riddim” and turn up the echo, delay and reverb across the board.

If you don't like dub (and why the hell wouldn't you?!), then this is going to be one to avoid, but with tracks such as 'Money Is Not Our God', 'Love Like Blood', 'Eighties', 'Pandemonium', 'European Superstate' 'Requiem', and 'Democracy' getting major makeovers, 'In Dub' has a lot of appeal even outside the realms of Killing Joke's immediate fanbase.

The mixes aren't radically different from each other across the board. The classic dub format takes precedence above all things particularly on the first disc. However the continuity of atmosphere makes this a radically different prospect for the band. Killing Joke, even in their new wave days were always somewhat abrasive and against the grain, if not sonically then visually, so three discs of relatively groove-heavy but laid back listening that will work just as well in a club as in a garden on a sunny afternoon. The formula works its best though when tracks such as 'Money Is Not Our God (Babylon Dub)' and 'A Sixth Sun (Prophecy Fulfilled Dub)' get overlaid with new vocals which gives then a more original and less remixed emphasis.

The second and third discs are opened up more and feature collaborations with the likes of Cult Of Youth, Urban Primitive, The Orb, and Nine Inch Nails contributing different takes on the dub genre, with some opting to emphasise the industrial elements, some bring more of the rock flavour out and others delve into more ambient waters. But they all work exceedingly well.

Killing Joke have thrown a curve-ball, but it is an incredibly well executed one that is full of passion. It will be interesting to see how the tracks work in a live DJ set – there's certainly enough variety to make for an interesting hour or two. Fans of the band will eat this up, but it shouldn't be a fan-only release. This is a fresh and engaging take on the modern remix album that should ensure the band a lot of club play and expose them beyond their usual crowd.

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