Friday, March 6, 2009

Grace Cale's Dubset - Hittites & Kassites, 1983

Grace Cale's Dubset - Hittites & Kassites, 1983

This is a bizarre record. If you look carefully at the inner rectangular design on the front, where the letters are, well, I recall seeing a record in cutout or used bins several times back in the day that had that exact design but enlarged. Looking around online, I believe what I saw was their second album from 1984 entitled "Flesh Made Word". But I would always look at that record in the shop and maybe pick it up and turn it around only to wonder "what the fuck is this? Oh well..."

The thing is, even now having finally heard what they sound like, I'm STILL thinking, "what the fuck is this?"

It starts out with an Arabic feel to the vocals and there's African drumming at times. Adding a saxophone to that is a bit weird and unsettling, but that's just what happens. Then the next song throws all that out the window and goes straight for dub reggae, in a funky stylee. Picture THE most dubby Cabaret Voltaire stuff without the electronics, and add some occasional echoing samples of some Jamaican vocals, and you're there.

Next song is kindof like...oh I don't know. 1000 Mexicans? Anyone remember them? Or Hula. Yeah it's a bit like Hula, this one.

I think people who like The Pop Group or This Heat would probably appreciate this record more than I do.

Track 5 is just out-and-out arty. Almost too smarty arty pants for its own good. The only people who can be that arty and really get away with it are Wire, in my opinion.

Track 6 is what used to be called "World Music" in the 80's/early 90's. I don't know if it still is. Not my thing, really, although I did dabble in this sort of stuff back in the day.

Then this record suddenly gets jazzier and goes into a long stretch of purely jazz instrumentals that are not pleasing to me. I like jazzy pop or funky jazz or even other kinds of jazz at times, but this just doesn't have anything I like about jazz, even though it goes on for several songs in the jazz vein. It's a total shock. If the band was this much about jazz, why didn't they let us know in the beginning?

I don't have a need for this record in my life, but it definitely is bizarre and genre-defying and I guess I'll give it points for that.

Side note: Notice the little red thing on the left of the back sleeve? It says "religion". I told you, this record is weird.

They also released a 12" entitled "Flesh Beat Fever" and it appears that after the album posted here, they changed their name to simply Dubset.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this looks real interesting.
thanx for sharing!