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‘Dub to the Bone’ Super Hi-Fi

Long before there was dubstep, there was dub. Although dubstep evolved from dub (sort of), the two genres frequently have the opposite effect on listeners – the former can be a wildly aggressive rush of electronica while the latter tends to be an especially hypnotic form of reggae, often a song stripped to its (sometimes modulated) rhythm.

The Brooklyn-based Super Hi-Fi pays loving homage to the older genre with an unexpected twist: trombones. And not trombones as an enhancement, but trombones as a centerpiece.

Two of the five members of the band (Alex Asher and Ryan Snow) are trombonists, and the group’s debut, “Dub to the Bone,” also features a guest trombonist (Adam Dotson) on opening track “Washingtonian.” The brass instrument is even central to the cover art of the release.

Super Hi-Fi’s approach pays off: The trombone’s ambient tone is a natural fit for dub atmosphere, especially when two are played in tandem and processed with vintage tape delays.

Meanwhile, bandleader/bassist Ezra Gale and drummer Madhu Siddappa turn out tasty, reggae-rich rhythms while guitarist Will Graefe patches through what could have been tedious stretches (an unfortunate dub trademark).

– Chuck Campbell, Scripps Howard News Service

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