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CD REVIEW: Alific - Dub in the District

By: Cyrus Rhodes

 

 

 

 

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Artist: Alific (Brendan Dane)
Album: Dub in the District
Label: Independent Artist
Website:
http://www.alific.com/

Genre: Reggae, Chill, Dub, Ambient Jazz-Pop

Sounds Like: Slightly Stupid, Stick Figure, Sublime, Rebelution, 10Ft Ganja Plant
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: The Dubbal Vision, Full Moon Ride, Poons
Weakness: Genera Identity Crisis, Marketability

 

CD REVIEW:


Washington DC based Reggae band/project Alific releases their latest CD entitled Dub in the District in 2012. Reading from the bio”
Alific is the product of mostly one man: Brendan Dane that uses all influences from life to create music. Meshing all genres and styles of music. Other band members/contributors include Brandan Dane (Instruments, Vocals, Lyrics), Todd Smith (Drums), (Andy Schmidtt (Vocals, Lyrics) and Dr. Peter Dane.  

The CD quickly takes to flight with “Full Moon Ride” an intoxicating intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition. This first piece serves up impressive Reggae-driven groove against sonic-jazz soundscapes of impressive piano and bass ambience. The CD makes a great first impression and literally grabs your attention with its smooth as silk musical flow. Track 2 “The Dubbal Vision” keeps things moving in the full tilt direction with Hammond organ chops, well placed percussive accents against dynamic rhythms. Track 3 “No Workin” a more marketable piece that serves up easy flowing rhythm section, against mesmerizing vocal melody against hooky bass line. The CD makes a great first impression providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. Musical textures reminiscent of classic Slightly Stupid, Stick Figure, Sublime, Rebelution, 10Ft Ganja Plant. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are very smooth and easy flowing in nature, with crystal clear high-end clarity and solid low end feel. The music itself goes down clean and fills the sonic space with what I would describe as peaceful tranquility with all the qualities of smooth jazz and even elements of dub, chill, ambient jazz and ambient pop. Alific clearly has a keen musical instinct thorough his conservative writing and playing. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments showcasing impressive programming, sampling, songwriting, rhythm chops, dynamic grooves all rich in melody and flavor. What’s even more impressive is how well all the instruments share the sonic space together. I was entertained the entire time.  Another impressive aspect of this CD is how unselfishly Alific and company plays his parts avoiding any showboating of any kind. They clearly knows how to play instruments the way it is meant to be played. Alific is no slouch and has some solid production instincts. In he pocket. From mesmerizing “Sun Roots” to slamming “Campfire” to infectious “Looking Back” to grooving "Poons” and Tribal Root Seed Dub Drop this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with the title track the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

The CD is marketable to in its own right – when presented within the Chill or Dub genera. However if more vocals and lyrical content were added within the songs - it would have twice the potential. This would make it more marketable in the Ambient Pop Sense but would also have a greater impact with listeners. It’s also fair to say Dane doesn’t have the greatest vocal ability in the world.  So with these last comments together - I recommend Dane team-up with a talented vocalist to collaborate with on future projects. This would be a very, very, very lethal combination indeed - amazing songs with a singer that has mojo. At the end of the day this CD suffers from a mild case of genera identity crisis. Some of the aforementioned issues do effect the CD's overall Marketability

Dub in the District is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The songs are infectious and catchy. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Last but not least - the playing, writing and production abilities of one Brendan Dane and company are amazing. Dane cleanly has musical talent and his productions strokes (including mixing) are masterful. Trust me when I say Dub in the District will suck you in and never let you go.   

Cyrus Rhodes