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Dub Sultan | Dub Sultan

album review by John Powell

Dub Sultan | Dub Sultan

Although their sound comes straight from the Middle East, Dub Sultan is actually from Montana. Using “classic” Middle Eastern instruments such as the oud and n’goni, Dub Sultan has prepared a tasty tour of vibes- only don’t let the name fool you: there’s very little that’s “dub” here, in the reggae sense. At times they find a one-drop groove, and certainly accentuate bass appropriately, but there’s very little reggae here.

More so, Dub Sultan has a jammy, near-jazz sensuality combined with rock grooves. Addition of saxophone makes for an interesting splitting of sounds, but the sax fits in wonderfully with the lead guitar, which often shares the same notation line as sax. Hand percussion, drums, and others formalize the make-up of this altogether excellent album.

The minute-and-a-half opener, Taqism, sets up the underlining emotion, a slow, dessert storm-type of mystism, a sort of spiritual welcome to the album, which is appreciated. Dub Sultan, more than anything on this all-instrumental album, created coherency. The album has a beginning, middle, and end, meant to take you for a ride.

“Yalla Ya Habibi” has that jazz element, building off of one slick line that guitarist Gave Lavin holds down tightly. When the groove breaks out it’s pretty righteous. Thematically, the tempos and rhythms are very much Middle Eastern, somewhere between African afrobeat-ism and Egyptian DJ music. “Yalla Ya Habibi” showcases all talents, especially saxophonist Tom Wright, who manages to restrain the horn from entering cheese territory and keeping it rocking.

“Flow” is much different- almost like Egyptian Tool. Drummer Sam Krutch feeds off a classic punk beat and Gabe’s guitar and oud begin to shred and don’t stop for two more minutes.

“Tom’s Dub” follows, now like a Moe. outtake, romping fun with funk undertones, matched nicely with “Cardoso”, complete with handclaps and tambourine. “Nomad Nighclub” returns to jazz, but this is to say groove-wise and sax-oriented soloing. In reality, the other instruments are so rounded out and heavy that there’s nothing jazzy about their sounds- it’s the compositions that give the impression.

Like the opener, there are two other “Taqism” songs on this self-titled release. Number two is a whirling, city-dweller, hot and humid solo, and number three teases Mozart (yup, you heard me).

With that in mind, Dub Sultan has a lot of fun on this record. There’s nothing artsy-fartsy about it, even though it’s a bunch of Mid Westerners playing Middle Eastern music. The album is excellently mixed. The dub effects on “Salmin Dub” shine through without being overbearing- and yes, here’s one point where they live up to their name.

More reggae-ness would help Dub Sultan. They slam home every time they do it, and the other songs can begin to feel like one jam following another without promoting the emotion that “Salmin Dub” and “Tom’s Dub” do. “The Jinn” features more guitar than your average listener can handle (although I like it), and other songs hang on sax solos over sax being a part of the band.

Generally speaking, however, Dub Sultan is a unique experience for those that enjoy jams, rock music flavored worldly, and the otherwise curious music-seekers. Anyone interested in this sound remotely will find a friend in Dub Sultan.

Bottom line: More dub needed, but otherwise Dub Sultan’s self-titled is a strong set of originals.


+2 # zahra 2012-08-31 12:42
great job ,,, go ahead
+3 # majed 2012-08-31 12:51
yl3an 3omri ana
+3 # aboody 2012-08-31 13:02
nice job MR Sultan
+2 # woroud 2012-08-31 13:09
Very ni!ce
+2 # fatema 2012-08-31 13:13
:lol: i love it ,,,, keep going
+2 # Ahmed 2012-08-31 13:14
amazing album
+1 # zahraa 2012-09-01 00:05
I am so proud ov u my brother Gabreal Lavin ,,, keep going


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