Sub Oslo Dubs in the Key of Life (Two Ohm Hop)
Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., Sept. 29, 2000
Dubs in the Key of Life (Two Ohm Hop)Dub music has traditionally been a studio art, from the bare-bones days of founding father King Tubby to the psychedelic infusions of Lee "Scratch" Perry and new-school innovators Bill Laswell and Adrian Sherwood. Denton-based visionaries Sub Oslo shift the gears of dub forward with a jerk, composing and performing their music live and spontaneously using an armada of instruments, including flute, clavinet, melodica, and various forms of synthesizer. Engineer John Knuckles mans the mixing board, manipulating the sound on the spot and simultaneously filling the roles of live performer, conduit, and puppeteer. Though the rhythm section of drummer Quincy Holloway and bassist Miguel Veliz is central to the band, their scope goes far beyond the traditional dub idea of simply fleshing out the beat. On their debut, Dubs in the Key of Life, the eight members of Sub Oslo (including Knuckles) present a series of soundscapes ranging from piano and nature sounds that might accompany a gentle stroll on the beach to sine-wave fluttering and the disorienting echoes of stop-motion percussion. Each of the band's sundry components is given a room to breathe, and Sub Oslo is in peak form when firing on all cylinders as on "Celestial Dub" and "Mi Familia Re-Dub." The result is a soul-thumping riddem and enchanting cosmic brew that moves your feet off the ground and your head into the clouds.