Spectre – “Covert Dub”

Spectre was a project of Nick Raphael (aka Manasseh) in the mid 1990s. Is this the same Nick Raphael who is currently the president of Capitol Records in the UK? I can’t find any sources that definitively assert so, but given all the circumstantial evidence (age, ties to BMG…) they certainly appear to be the same person. Interesting.

I snagged Covert Dub while flipping through the new arrivals at Silver Platters yesterday. It said “dub” right on the cover, and for three bucks it was pretty much a no brainer. At six songs its more like an EP than an album, but that didn’t deter me. One cool thing about the length, however, is that since they cut it to play at 33 1/3 most of the music is on the outer 2/3 of the record, leaving a huge runout section – and given that sound quality deteriorates the closer you get to the center of a record, this ensures the highest possible clarity.

Covert Dub certainly has some reggae influence, but to my ears its much more of an electronic album than traditional dub (I’ll be filing it on my shelves under Electronic, not under Reggae/Dub). The three versions of the song “Covert Dub” that comprise side A have much more recognizable reggae sounds than those on the flip side, but it still feels a bit fleeting. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s a criticism, because it’s not – this is a nice chill electronica record that I played twice straight through and that I can guarantee will get more spins.

My favorite cut is “Covert Dub (Experiments That Identify Change)” that closes out side A. I like some vocal sampling in my electronica, and this is the one spot on the record that scratches that itch for me. If you can get your hands on a copy, check it out.

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