The worlds of dub and jazz collide when Prince Fatty meets Nostalgia 77 ‘In The Kingdom Of Dub’; this intriguing collaborative album, out 22nd September on Tru Thoughts, sees two like minded musical explorers joining forces to illuminate the shared roots and spirit of rebellion at the heart of these two genres. Early tastemaker support includes confirmed reviews in The Wire, Clash, Q, DJ Mag and Blues & Soul, and radio play from Jamie Cullum (BBC R2).
Prince Fatty – maverick producer of Hollie Cook and countless pop and reggae legends alongside his own Soundsystem projects – puts his spin on the music of bluesy jazz wunderkind Nostalgia 77, for a full set of exclusive new versions of tracks from across the latter’s prolific career, including collaborations with Alice Russell, Keith and Julie Tippett and Beth Rowley. The result is a deep, energetic and transporting listen, with an intense flavour that celebrates and builds upon the sonic and cultural beauty of both jazz and dub.
Preceding the album, 18th August saw the digital double A-side single, “Medicine Chest Dub”/“Seven Nation Army Dub feat. Dennis Alcapone”, premiered via tastemaker blog Earmilk. The “Medicine Chest” original, featuring Josa Peit’s sultry vocals, is one of the most popular songs from Nostalgia 77’s latest album ‘A Journey Too Far’, which came out in February to support including heavy BBC 6Music play; Prince Fatty’s dub makeover injects a playful power while amping
up its bluesy roots for an explosive jam. Nostalgia 77’s gutsy “Seven Nation Army” cover featuring Alice Russell, on the other hand, was released almost ten years ago on his second solo LP ‘The Garden’; this new reggae version of the still in-demand classic - boasting the additional talents of Jamaican great Dennis Alcapone - simply nails it once again, reaching a new level of genre-defying heaviness.
Over the course of ‘In The Kingdom Of Dub’, Prince Fatty works his magic on a diverse repertoire that spans a decade and has been lauded by everyone from Gilles Peterson to Cerys Matthews to The Guardian. The spiritual Afro-jazz of “Positive Force”, “Marathon Man” and “Skeletons”, all from instrumental side-project Skeletons (2012), sits alongside the coolly subversive, rhythm & blues inflected “Rainclouds”, voiced by ‘60s icon Julie Tippett (née Driscoll), from 2009’s ‘Nostalgia 77 Sessions’. Another current track from ‘A Journey Too Far’ - psychedelic folk wig-out “An Angel With No Halo” - is joined by classic Nostalgia 77 cuts in the shape of delicate, Balearic trip-hop lullabies “Little Steps” and “Quiet Dawn”, both bearing the spun-sugar vocals of a pre-stardom Beth Rowley and taken from 2007’s ‘Everything Under The Sun’ album.
Much of the source material for this record was in fact originally engineered and mixed at Prince Fatty’s famous Ironworks studio in Brighton, where Benedic Lamdin (aka Nostalgia 77) has spent a lot of time over the years since meeting Mike Pelanconi (Prince Fatty) in the mid-noughties. While all the above mentioned reworks were created especially for this release, the bonus track - a dub of “Zombie Dance Parts 1 & 2” by the live outfit Nostalgia 77 Octet - has been unearthed from the band’s first ever live recording session, which was helmed by Pelanconi, and planted the seed for this entire album. “It showed us that the worlds of dub and jazz could clash with powerful results”, says Lamdin of the incendiary piece which still sounds fresh and vital today.
In addition to out-there album artwork by JAKe, Prince Fatty’s go-to designer, the CD comes with heartwarming and entertaining liner notes by Lamdin telling the story of his and Pelanconi’s shared history and ideals - copied in full overleaf if you would like a lovely read. Look out also for a great video interview with the pair, filmed in the recording geek’s mecca that is the Ironworks studio.