Voodoo Dred – Racine

As I type these words I’m listening to a lossless audio version of Voodoo Dred’s debut album Racine through some relatively high spec headphones with absolutely no distractions whatsoever. Whilst this might seem to be pretty unremarkable to you readers, sitting at home with your amazing 5.1 surround sound high fidelity stereo and surgically enhanced ears, this fact is pretty significant considering today’s first attempt at listening to the tracks; specifically an attempt that took place in my car (which has shit speakers), through an FM transmitter plugged into the cigarette lighter socket (which tends to make everything sound shit) in the form of 320 mp3’s which I converted myself through a questionable program that I got free off the internet (I can’t vouch for the effect that this had, but it probably made everything sound incrementally shitter).

Don’t hate me, I had good reasons for this aberration; I only managed to get the tracks downloaded late last night because the internet in Australia is rubbish and at the time of writing the album is due to drop in approximately 48 hours, 20 of which I intend to spend sleeping. So I took a shortcut or two, no harm in that, usually anyway. Then as I sat listening to the flat, compressed noise that reverberated tinnily around the spartan interior of my rapidly depreciating Honda Jazz I had a revelation; music of this calibre deserves better.

So here we are, and may I say by the way of a proper opening statement – this album is awesome. After the first Voodoo Dred E.P I was expecting big things, but by that I was thinking dancefloor moves, heavy hitters, balls out shit. You know, using the momentum of the first E.P to launch a full on assault on the waiting listeners in the style of a rookie of the year who comes out all guns blazing in the first round of his sophomore season in whatever nondescript sport this analogy seems to be referencing, much to the delight of sportscasters and fans who will brand him as the next Joe DiMaggio, or Michael Schumacher or Ronaldo or whatever. I think that made sense, anyway the point is that Voodoo Dred has taken an altogether different path. The beats here are incredibly refined and indicative of massive amounts of love, care and attention. The congas, tribal riddims and womping bass of the original release are still present but there’s a subtle, elegant craft to each of the productions that give them so much more impact than the ten tonne heavy approach ever could.

I didn’t even bother to look up what individual tracks were called whilst listening through this time around, it’s that tasty. Sometimes an album will catch you like that, leave you spellbound and content without making you go “awwww sheeeeeeeeeeit, puuuuuuulll uuuuup, Reeeeewind” etc, because you’re enjoying the experience so much that there may as well be no track markings at all (incidentally I rarely actually shout any of those things, but will admit to thinking them quite a lot). Anyway for this reason exactly I’m not going to spoil any of the tracks for you by trying to paint a vivid word picture or analogise them to ‘smoking a bowl with a troupe of monkey’s riding elephants into a strangely pixelated sunset’ or something similarly overhyped, because I probably won’t do them justice and if I’m honest this is the sort of album that should be sat down to and digested in its entirety. Like a fine meal, rather than chopped up into a subjective highlights reel.

So that’s it, go get this album, download it right now and find some time to listen to it where it won’t be prey to interference or degradation. I’m not saying that a casual listen won’t be gratifying, by all means chat or smoke or drive or do whatever you please over the top of it, but both it and you deserve some alone time together, so make sure you make the time and I promise you won’t regret it.

Racine is out now on Dub Temple Records
Artwork By Warren Handley