So it has finally happened.
This song. This tune. THE last tune ‘par excellence’ has been released on 12″. What had become the all-time classic dubplate for any Aba Shanti or Dubkasm dance is now available (well, ‘was’ as it has already sold out).
But who cares – Victory is ours! (excuse the pun). I’ll be honest, I bought a copy at 1am this morning, in part so as to be sure not to have to face the words “out of stock”. But mainly because this is the song that properly got me hooked to reggae and sound system culture. To this day, even if I listen to it on low quality laptop speakers, it still gives me the chills.
Personally, I regard this dubplate as the signature tune of a perfect roots dance. Roots sessions are on a whole different level from dancehall or even more steppa nights, of the likes of Iration Steppas and OBF, where your senses are obliterated by the sub-frequencies; where the only thing you can do is jump with the thumping bass line; your eardrums nearly torn off by the treble… And don’t get me wrong – I love those nights, and a good half of my record collection consists of steppa tunes.
But roots. Roots doesn’t obliterate your senses, instead it taps into them. The bass rocks you, with all its power, but in an incredibly gentle way. You sway along with the waves of bass to a beat that feeds you back to Africa.
I remember the first proper sound system dance I went to was an Aba Shanti session in London. I had been to several small dances in France, as friends had begun to build their own systems. But the University of Dub was a completely different experience. Roots and culture, all night long, on three systems.
From 10pm until 4am, I did not leave the dance – I couldn’t. The speakers towering above you; flags from all over the world hanging from the ceiling; a poster of Haile Selassie I in the middle; the only light emanating from behind the control towers… Awesome.
And then, Aba plays it. “Victory” – such a perfect name.
During the few seconds of build-up, everyone holds their breath until the horns kick in. Then the rhythm begins – the trumpet and saxophone reaching to the higher levels.
And Aba finally releases the bass. At that point, nothing else matters. For the remainder of the dance, Babylon is no more. The sound system is victorious.
Dubkasm – Victory 12″
A: Victory! ft. Galgo (Horns) + Digistep (Sax)
B: Verse II
C: Verse III
D: Verse IV (Raw Piece)
(was) Available at http://rwdfwd.com/products/dubkasm-victory/
(edit: Dubkasm have said they are going to keep repressing this record as long as there is demand)