It’s not often you get two albums released by the same artist on two different labels ate the same time, but Mikuś has just done this with his Rememberance Dubs, out on Planet Terror Records and Brass Islands of Dub, out on his own new label, Terra Incognita, which he has just set up with Sixty Six North.
Mikuś says Remebrance Dubs is “dedicated to the loving memories of Mirka Gorecka, Alicia Wisdom, Eileen Davies and all those no longer with us who live on in our hearts”.
It’s a delicate “nighttime” album, beginning with Dub For Alicia, which is a slow organ-infused groove, bringing calm, whatever chaos prevailed beforehand. A sad solo trumpet takes the lead in Lament, and again in Ephemeral Dub before we encounter the drums and pipes of Tian Tan Dub, influenced presumably by the Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong. This album will leave you calm at the end of a stressful day.
In contrast, Brass Islands of Dub explores slightly different territory, primarily thanks to the trumpet and flugelhorn talents of Kevin Robinson (Jazz Jamaica All-Stars/Jazz Warrior/Incognito), who features prominently on all the tracks.
The album starts with Heavy Load, which is a slow lament that could have featured on Remebrance Dubs, but with a more stepper beat. This leads into Isla La Juventud, which has a more latin (Cuban) feel which should get you swaying nicely, before the Way Things Used To Be will have you dancing for sure. The last track, Highlands, goes back to a Jamaican style that will keep you on the dancefloor for just a bit longer.
Although there’s always been brass in reggae and dub, it’s particularly nice to hear the real thing make a resurgence, rather than the synthesized versions that I’ve heard rather too much of these days. Both these albums celebrate the brass sound in different ways. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.