1/  Dungeon of Dub                             (The Eye)                     5.43
        WordSound I-Powa
  2/  Operation Duppy Conquerer                  (spectre,Shehab,Laswell)      5.54
  3/  Born God                                   (Special Dark,Brother J)      7.37
  4/  Mayday/Nightstalker                        (spectre)                     5.05
  5/  Forward Roots                              (The Eye)                     5.52
        Roots Control
  6/  Revelations                                (spectre)                     3.18
  7/  One                                        (Special Dark)                3.31
  8/  Closed Door                                (Harris)                      9.38
        The Weakener
  9/  High                                       (The Eye)                     3.35
  10/ Crooklyn Dub Syndicate                     (Laswell,Scott)               8.03
        Bill Laswell & Style Scott
  11/ Fall of the Towers of Convention           (Jadoo,The Mystic)            7.36
  12/ Stolen Moments                             (The Eye)                     6.19
        The Eye

          Recorded at various locations in Brooklyn, New York
          Track 8 recorded at the Box, Birmingham, England
          Overseen by The Eye
          Mastered by Mike Fossenkemper at Turtle Tone Studios, New Jersey(?)
(2) Spectre: sounds; Psycho Priest: sounds; Bill Laswell: bass; (10) Bill Laswell: bass; Lincoln “Style” Scott: drums.

          2001 - ROIR (USA), RUSCD8273 (CD)


WordSound, purveyors of Crooklyn dub for some seven years, has, over that time, developed an anti-commercial ethic that's kept the sounds real, but has kept a fair amount of the possibly interested public from knowing anything about them. With ROIR's somewhat better developed distribution position, some of that will change, hopefully. I really don't think that just a bit more success will spoil the Crooklyn dub posse, and while I understand honcho Skiz Fernando, Jr.'s desire to keep the art up front and the business considerations nearly invisible, it would be a good thing all around if more people heard what the WordSound acts have been up to.

So what have they been up to? Pulling together some of the darkest, psycho-warp, lost and found sound laden, hip hoppin' dub music you can imagine. In fact, until you hear it, you probably can't imagine it, unless you're the one doing it. Pump up the bass, turn up the volume and drop down below the radar. It's a solid sound. Word.

Shaun Dale (courtesy of Cosmik Debris Magazine website)


The label ROIR started in 1979 as a cassette-only label, specializing in hardcore, punk, reggae, ska, dub and world music. Now, twenty years later the company realizes that the cassettes are becoming 'artifacts' and 'collector's items' and started re-releasing the best of their back catalog on cd, completely digitally remastered - as well as new, never before released albums from cutting-edge artists.

This release features the works of Skiz Fernando Jr. who has assembled his best underground Dub, an evil stew that bubbles up from your gut from the 50 albums he has released internationally in the last 6 years. His label has never been a record label in the traditional sense. A lot of his productions have escaped detection by the general public due to the lack of proper dustribution and promotion. The kind of dub music he produces is a minimalised style of dub and is regarded as some of the boldest and imaginative music ever released. The music found here is more a feeling than a sound, it must be experienced through subwoofers, not dull theocratic prose. A desription of the music would come to something like this : "a neo-industrial carpet of extra-terrestial sounds with tons of effects and distortion". This album is only for those who dare to listen and are willing to enter the world of Wordsound.

4 out of 5

Teacher and Mr. T (courtesy of the Reggae Vibes website)


Laswell the bassist is heard profoundly stomping out two cuts on the deep, dark dub compilation Below The Radar: Best of WordSound Dub from ROIR-USA. ROIR was formed about twenty years ago by Neil Cooper as a cassette-only label and though it has only recently abandoned that charter to release CDs, it has remained true to its purpose of slicing the sometimes painful cutting edge of industrial, punk, psychedelic, hardcore, and dub music. (Landmarks in their genre such as Flipper’s Blow’n Chunks, the Germs’ Germicide: Live At the Whiskey, the New York Dolls’ Lipstick Killers and the Dub Syndicate’s One Way System were first available only as ROIR cassettes.) Below The Radar mixes bone-chilling space-age terror together with ancient Rasta trance mysticism like an electronic yet rootsy salad compilation tossed from the fifty electronic/dub albums produced for the label by Skiz Fernando over the past seven years, plus one previously unreleased track.

You’re not sure exactly what 'dub' is? That’s okay - you’ve probably heard at least one reggae song, right? Cue up that reggae song in the mixing board of your imagination. To make dub, first strip everything off of the top of the mix all the keyboards, all the guitars, all the vocals, everything. Leave only the bass and drum track (keep the percussion, too). Cut the treble all the way back. Crank the bass up loud. Now crank it up louder. Does it seem too loud and bass heavy? Good - turn the bass up even more. Now slow the rhythm down, way down to half speed, then past half speed. Does it seem too slow and trance-like? Good - slow it down even more. And turn up the bass. Randomly divebomb warped vocals and other sound effects - thunder, gongs, moans, looped and echoed chords - into that space where the guitars, keyboards and vocals used to be. Now dunk the whole thing in steamy echo like a donut in hot chocolate. Voila! You’ve made hot, fudgy, sticky, dub!

For most Jazz fans, Below the Radar will be one step beyond if not even farther out. Laswell bootstomps with the aptly named Dubadelic through "Operation Duppy Conquerer 2001" and pays tribute to his twisted musical roots with 'Crooklyn Dub Syndicate', bass- and drum-heavy rocksteady in tandem with drummer Style Scott. 'Dungeon of Dub' (from WordSound I-Powa) and 'Crooklyn Dub Syndicate' sound at least peripherally attached to reggae standards; in other cases, the music doesn’t flow to you in notes or lines or waves so much as it comes crashing down in huge concrete slabs like you’re standing in the middle of an aflame, collapsing building. Such musique concrete includes two tracks by Slotek ('Born God,' a menacing arrhythmic track clouded with static and the groans of an unseen monstrous beast dying, slowly and loudly, in the distance, plus 'One,' which suggests a tent revival baptism held in the midst of a nightmare). Mick Harris’ 'Closed Door' and 'Fall of the Towers of Convention' by Scarab brandish edgy, industrial rhythms and whirlpools of crackling sound.

Below the Radar ends with the previously unreleased track 'Stolen Moments' by The Eye - most assuredly not the nimble John Coltrane classic - in an echoing chamber that resounds with ancient sounding African chants and percussion, heavy and heady bass, and futuristic electronic sounds and shrieks.

Chris M. Slawecki (courtesy of All About Jazz website)