Featured Artists: Radikal Dub Kolektiv – Dub Activism

Radikal Dub Kolektiv invigorated instrumental dub music with their uplifting beats, their DIY ethics and dub activism. We wish them to come back into action!

Full-band live dub is a favourite type of music here in Freegan Kolektiva. With this article I also want to praise the unforgettable experience of seeing Radikal Dub Kolektiv in Berlin (Germany) and Arnhem (the Netherlands) back in 2007. It was such a delightful feeling to arrive at a squat (next to the squat party we were heading to) and see the full band delivering spaced-out dub.  We were slapping along from place to place after a reggae party the night before and while arriving outside the door of the place the party was supposed to be we were dragged away following the familiar sounds of the bass. That happened subconsciously considering that we were all dubheads. So we turned up unexpectedly  in a different place where Radikal Dub Kolektiv was playing; this only in Berlin can happen!

Anyway, Radikal Dub Kolektiv (RDK) play full-band live dub and hail from Croatia (quite unexpectedly). They were keeping up with frequent live performances all around central Europe in the period between 2002 to 2010. Some members (Vanja-melodica,vocals/ Vrki-fx operator/ Jadranko-live mix) were also active with RDK soundssystem, which sound is closer to the UK dub tradition.

My only musical references to their style back in the day were only, apart from King Tubby, Scientist and the Jamaican dub originators, the gigs of Direct Connection (Greece), Attiko Minus (Greece) and High Tone (France). Although RDK have released two very good full-length albums, this type of music takes full shape only in live performances. Given the fact that they are not so active lately, we hope that they get back on track soon, so that you can all enjoy them (again).

Their self-titled debut album (2004) was more psychedelic, varied and inventive (with rock, ska, ska-punk, French dub, reggae sounds with a progressive aesthetic). For instance, songs like ‘S.O.S’ and ‘Dubterranean’ are expedient unbound musical adventures.  The album presented a band that embodies a ska-punk band, a live dub band and a psychedelic rock band all at once. RDK made heavy use of bass and electronics. I need to mention the presence of  Vanja with the characteristic vocals and the melodica which is cult (Augustus Pablo style).

It was a groundbreaking release, especially considering the origin of the band. To make parallels with other dub bands, especially the French sound (High Tone, Kaly Live Dub, Brain Damage etc.) is inevitable. We can just add that RDK are more firmly rooted in the traditional dub/reggae sound in comparison. That became more evident with their second full-length amptly titled ‘Bass Matters’.

Radikal Dub Kolektiv_Bass Matters (2007)

‘Bass Matters’, released in 2007, was more monolithic, less ‘flexible’ album which was establishing the reggae/dub aesthetic of the band rather than their earlier explorations. The basslines became even more solid while the progressive rock quests were already over. Their upbeat live dub sound was consolidated. Tracks like ‘U.N.I.T.Y.’ (feat. Omar Perry), ‘Gyaku Zuki’, ‘Through The Woods’, ‘Sach’kaj’ are prime examples of activist dub, of dub getting you off your chair, your T.V. (or any other brainwashing machine you are attached to) and bringing you to the streets for any act of revolution while stil tripping on the intensive dubs.  While the progress was noticeable, the earlier material had its own charm – so to make both albums claim their own integrity.

What keeps Radikal Dub Kolektiv close to my heart is the fact that they were pioneers in live dub music in the Balkans and mostly because they kept a DIY spirit all those years, playing in squats, running underground labels/distros and setting up parties and concerts. In few words: keeping up a scene! They also inspired the second half of our name i.e. to follow the spelling of the word ‘collective’ in our native language.

They animated dub music with the activist spirit: from being a laidback genre it was invigorated as a upbeat trigger for action! A vehicle for dissenting voices and positive alternatives!  Dub became music of squats, music for direct action!

Dub + Activism!

Rise Up!






2 thoughts on “Featured Artists: Radikal Dub Kolektiv – Dub Activism

  1. thank you for these beautiful words:) its really a great feeling to be perceived in the way you wished for and to bring the power of music to the people on the same frequency, to have that ‘soulgathering’… love&respect,

    • I like to see everybody first as people. We all have our own initiatives, but I do not like ti hide behind them – instead I appreciate everyone that puts his soul in his words, music, drawing etc.! Thus, I want to communicate like this to everyone person to person.
      Be blessed!

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