Following the overwhelming success of his 2008 release, Chinese Dub, Jah Wobble – creatively adventurous music-maker and master of the cross-cultural collaboration – turns his attention to Japan, releasing a ten track album featuring himself alongside Joji Hirota (vocals, taiko drums), Keiko Kitamura (vocals, shamisen, koto), Clive Bell (shakahatchi) and Robin Thompson (hikaritchi, sho, shamisen) as the Nippon Dub Ensemble. The background to Japanese Dub is best explained by Wobble himself: For some time I’ve fancied having a crack at merging Japanese music with dub. I was very happy with the Chinese Dub album that I put together a couple of years ago, and was confident that I could do a similar job with Japanese styles. It can t be denied that traditional Japanese music is heavily influenced by Chinese music. However, paradoxically, there is something unique and unmistakable about Japanese music. To an extent this is due to their distinctive chromatic modes, but above all the Japanese are incredible reductionists. Somehow they take other cultures stuff, and in their own respectful way, rationalise it, reduce it, and thereby make it their own. I knew I wanted a selection of folk songs on this album, and I also wanted Japan s famous taiko drums to be represented (my bass with taiko drums is a marriage made in heaven). Luckily I know a man called Joji Hirota who has a great knowledge of Japanese culture generally, is an expert taiko drummer and sings like a Japanese Van Morrison.
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