San Francisco’s Jef Stott just released his first album in five years, entitled Aslan Dub System Vol. 1. It is out on Embarka Records and distributed by Six Degrees Records. Contributing musicians include Will Magid (trumpet), Morgan Nilsen (clarinet), and Vincent de Jesus (percussion).
The music on Aslan Dub System showcases beefy bass tones hobnobbing with Jamaican dub, electro cumbia, and Balkan brass.
Stott explains the sound of the new album, saying, “I found a renewed passion to create more music with a positive outward looking sound. I am much more interested now in connecting with people globally thru music instead of looking more inward as a studio artist. The sound that is coming out of this new project is sunny, positive and inclusive.”
“Yemaya,” a tune inspired by the Burning Man festival, opens the album with exotic reggae-flavored cumbia music layered in luminous waves of color. There’s a mystical, tribal feel to the tune, as if written and performed by high-flying shamans. Because of its thick numinous flush, this is my favorite tune on the album.
“Soñar,” which means “to dream,” features a buoyantly colored electro cumbia dub tune with a crisp, polyrhythmic beat. The heavy bassline texture provides a sonic mirror for the lighter tones of the synths.
“Balkan Beach” rides a hefty bass groove and blaring brass with Spanish-flavored synths burbling overhead. The music slides into an oriental core radiating accordion-like shimmers of sound. “Jelem Cantina” combines the oozing colors of Balkan brass with a thumping bassline and reggae vocal interjections. Heavy percussion infuses the tune with a potent rhythmic pulse, as psychedelic zaps of sizzling synths zoom across the soundscape.
“Ready for This” is a rootsy drum and bass roller with doses of liquid funk, as well as hints of dance music popping up.
Aslan Dub System is brisk, innovative, and supercharged with energy. Balkan brass, electro cumbia, and Jamaican dub coalesce to form a heady concoction of yummy music.