Genre: 1980s Dancehall / Reggae / Rub-A-Dub
Region: Poland / England / France etc.
Artists’ Website: Dreadsquad’s soundcloud
Label: Superfly Studios
Release Date: February 22, 2013
In 2012 Dreadsquad, the dynamic producer duo from Poland (Marek Bogdanski & Lukasz Rodziewicz) scored an album in Freegan Kolektiva’s top 10 for the year (The Riddim Machine). Without wasting any time they released this one riddim album entitled Digital Rules featuring more than a handful of stunning vocal performances.
[Read Freegan Kolektiva’s Top 10 albums for 2012]
Firstly, the riddim itself has the positive reggae vibes as heard in the 1980s early digital dancehall scene – especially Sammy Gold’s version “Me Only Cry Fe The Sufferer” sounds like an authentic piece of that era. The production is outspoken digital, clean and crisp while the uncomplicated riddim provides the space for versatile vocal arrangements. Drawing parallels with other likeminded production boards like Mungo’s Hi Fi, Jahtari or Riddim Tuffa Sound is inevitable – the difference is that Dreadsquad’s tunes are more polished and palatable.
The tracks flow pleasantly with carefully-carved, super-memorable vocal melodies mainly delivering conscious messages, praising soundsystem culture and the healing capacities of music. No version is bad or average here but alongside Sammy Gold’s cut I need to highlight Tomawok’s rapid fire ragga-jungle tinged mastery (“Pull It Up”), the anthemic uplifting “Rocking Time” with Longfingah, the Babylon-basher “Leave This Place” featuring Marky Lyrical (reminding the golden era of Beres Hammond) and the self-empowering “Appreciate Your Freedom” with silk-voiced talent Kashia Malenda. El Fata’s characteristic style shines in “Dancehall Melody” while Doubla J’s singjaying is loud and forceful on “Full Time”. With tracks like these no dancefloor can slow down – Dreadsquad have managed to maintain a high standard throughout their releases!
Review by DJ Life Fabrik
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