If you like music that’s beat-driven and bass-heavy, then chances are you already like dub even if you don’t know it yet. Growing out of late 1960s and early 1970s Jamaican reggae, dub stripped away the extraneous and focused on the essential, bringing bass and drums to the forefront to showcase the primal elements of music that make you want to shake your ass and move your feet. It was also the first genre to make the producer the star – with the in-studio manipulations of pioneers like King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry laying the foundation for genres ranging from hip-hop to house.
Fast forward 30 years and 5,000 miles across the Atlantic, and we come to Ambient Warrior and their project Dub Journey’s. A side project of producers Andreas Terrano and Ronnie Lion, Ambient Warrior originally released Dub Journey’s on Lion’s cult UK label Lion Inc in 1995. From there, the LP languished in relative obscurity until being recently unearthed and reissued by Isle of Jura. It’s not the first time we’ve sung Isle of Jura’s praises here at EC and it certainly won’t be the last, as they once again prove they can’t miss by bringing another essential lost gem to the light.
Andreas Terrano was a talented guitar and piano player, a session musician for acts like Basement Jaxx, and his virtuosity helped guide a band of musicians from a variety of nationalities and genres. Terrano was also of Italian, Armenian and Russian heritage, and his background comes through clearly on the LP. Dub and reggae provide the backbone, but you also hear tango and bossa nova style creeping through, along with just the right amount of ‘90s new age ambient cheesiness.
Their Ambient Warrior project was used as an outlet for Terrano and Lion to explore their diverse musical influences, and while Dub Journey’s keeps the foundation laid by King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry intact and at the forefront of their 10-track dub excursion, it’s also injected with elements from a smattering of other electronic and world music influences. This juxtaposition makes for a fun, quirky listen and helps bring things full circle both musically and geographically.