Dubtribe Soundsystem "Baggage" (Imperial Dub)

Given that the backdrop to the creation of this album involves disappointment and disillusionment with the music and party scene, [read more about the making of the album here] it’s amazing that the overall feeling of Baggage is hopeful and inspiring. Sunshine and Moonbeam of Dubtribe Soundsystem are veterans of the house music scene and are renowned for their deeply sincere and organic approach to creating intimate settings and communities in which to enjoy the music. Sunshine and Moonbeam’s longevity in the scene, and as a couple has no doubt informed the sound of this album which is altogether a mature and sophisticated offering.

Baggage is full of beautifully lush but crisp deep house beats that uplift without laying it on thick. The variety of moods and nuances on this album suggest that this is deep house for adults – a collection for the dancefloor as well as the dinner party or Sunday afternoon chill out. With a longstanding love for dancing to house music on California beaches until dawn, Dubtribe’s music is imbued with the unique emotional rush that such scenes inspire. Typified by the album opener “Shakertrance“, their sound sparkles with melodious backdrops, full basslines and irresistible beats. The soundscapes are diverse; there’s the dub influences of “Raggatronique“, while “Nothing Is Impossible” combines deeper garage-y elements with tribal afro-brazilian vocals and beats. Both female and male vocals are utilized, and while the alternation provides variety, the vocals are probably the least distinctive part of the album. The climax and masterpiece of Baggage is the closing, 12 minute opus “Do It Now” which is a sublime work that subtly builds and builds throughout.

Remarkably for a house album, Baggage works best when taken as a whole, drawing you into its various rhythms and emotional patterns that displays their skill in creating moods and not just pounding feel good anthems. Real song structures help shape the album and the tracks are given room to breathe making the high moments feel more sublime, and the more reflective moments are a welcome dip in the pace. Baggage sounds vital throughout and holds up well to repeated listenings, giving you that fresh feeling every time the laser hits the cd. This is house music with real substance – a rare find.

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