Echoes & Sirens by diatribesRelease date: November 20, 2018
Label: Aussenraum Records
Since its first early, stoned steps somewhere in the makeshift studios of Kingston’s Trenchtown, dub has fascinated quite a few people who listened to it (with, or without a joint in their hand). Quite a few of those were musicians that didn’t even set their foot on Jamaican ground, watching young kids stick their behind to the bass part of the speakers set in the street or even entered one of Daddy Kool shops in London. Still, they were blasted away, by the rhythmic patterns and indescribable pull of what were actually backing studio tracks.
Geneva Switzerland duo diatribes, or more precisely, Cyril Bondi (drums, keyboards) and d’incise (samples, delay, melodica), are by the judging of their second album Echoes & Sirens, no exception. Not even in the sense that they are in the experimentalist, avant-garde music camp that borders classical minimalism and jazz improvisation. Even more so, the correlations and possibilities of such a combination seem to be limitless, and this album is further proof to this.
Joined here by Raphael Ortis on bass (a prerequisite dub instrument) and a four man-strong horn section, diatribes, s they say themselves try to cover the ground from King Tubby to Jah Shaka and tie them at the same time to Steve Reich and Sun Ra at the same time. Quite a reach essentially, where if your nose is too stuck into the rarified air of the Swiss mountains, or you are trying to be too smart for your own good, you will fall flat on your behind. No matter whether your behind was stuck to that bass speaker or not.
Luckily, for their sake and that of their listeners, diatribes actually do a good job. The four ten minute or so tracks do exactly as the duo promises – they take all the essential elements of characteristic dub sound to slice them up and then sequence them into a minimalistic compositional structure with quite an interesting listening effect. The incidental dancehall sounds and all. Particularly effective is the closer “Continually” with its use of the echo chamber effects and Ornate Coleman in a dub horn section, while the rest of the tracks actually follow quite closely in quality.
Like quite a number of mountain roads, diatribe’s dub to the avant-garde trip was riddled with possible potholes, but these guys effectively escape them quite admirably.