Bush Chemists is Dougie Wardrop and Paul Davey. In 1988, Dougie opened his dub store in a closet-sized space in Camden Market, London. It was called "The Dub Shack" and out of it Dougie sold the best new and old dub plates on the planet. In 1989, Dougie started creating his own dubs with a borrowed 4-track in his attic. Shortly thereafter, he started his Conscious Sounds imprint, through which he released some classic 10"s and full-lengths by Bush Chemists and like minded UK dub heads. In the early 90's, Bush Chemists came to the attention of Wordsound founder Skiz Fernando, who was putting together a UK Dub compilation for ROIR. Needless to say, they ended up on the disc and since then, Bush Chemists have gone on to release some stunning 10"s and a handful of full lengths (one of which, Dub Outernational, was released on ROIR). Raw Raw Dub is their first ROIR release in almost 10 years!
So what have the Bush Chemists been up to? Well, along with peers Jah Shaka, Alpha & Omega, Zion Train, they've been consistently churning out inspired dubs, and seemed to have convergently evolved with the UK's current hot export: Grime. The similarities go beyond simple geography to production methods, overall sound & more-i.e. where Grime posterboy Dizzie Rascal famously used his Sony Playstation on "Boy in Da Corner," Dougie Wardrop used his Atari computer. Furthermore, like grime is to its forefather hip-hop, Bush Chemists brand of UK dub is decidedly based in drum machines and synthesizers whereas the genre from which it sprung relied on source material (the remixing of reggae session tracks). Bush Chemists, instead of trying to approximate King Tubby's direct-from-tape analog warmth, embrace their digitality. The resulting sound is spacey but more severe, sharper and more regimented but playful. If King Tubby is "2001: A Space Odyssey" then Bush Chemists are "Star Wars" (and we're talking "Empire Strikes Back" here).
Raw Raw Dub specifically is filled with tension-tension between the natural warmth inherent in all dub and the colder elements of digital machines. Tension between Eastern and Western music ("Oriental Dub"). Tension between rhythms and tempos where high-paced dancehall riddims clash with old-time dub grooves. Tension between stellar vocal tracks (provided by Ras Mcbean & Pablo Diamond) and deep instrumentals. Tension between the bustling urban metropolis where this dub was created, and the third world shantytowns & rural Jamaican setting from which dub was originally born.
Slap on a pair of headphones or set yourself in front of some great speakers, turn up the bass and listen to Bush Chemists fight a cold war on the astral planes of Raw Raw Dub-it's the best battle you'll ever hear.
This is dub for dub's sake, the way King Tubby made dub-relentless, and experimental (with emphasis on Perry and mental) and full of trance-inducing movement and depth. -THE BEAT
The deepest, most crucial dub reggae we've heard in many a moon...the Bush Chemists are taking music further out so the listener can go further in. -CMJ
Taking UK digital dub into the next century. -NY POST
Be it their knack for wicked rhythms, culture-conscious themes and their off-beat sound-space alterations, the vibes are consistently strong throughout this disc...leaves you dancing in a sweat with your jaw hanging low. -EXCLAIM!
Bush Chemists do it well, this is music that hits the head as much as the heart, tossing you about on a sonic sea before delivering you to dry land, all through the power of Jah...Righteous. -ALTERNATIVE PRESS
The most distinctive voice in contemporary British dub. -CMJ
ROIR [Reach Out International Records] USA
Raw Raw Dub
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