Dr. Das Bio

Dr Das is a bassist, producer and remixer. He was one of the founder members of Asian Dub Foundation to whom he returned in 2013 after a seven years sabbatical to co-write a new album and augment a fresh live line up.

With his solo ‘dubnoiz’ productions, he positions his emotive bass melodies centre stage, taking his lead from Seventies Jamaican dub, but setting them against shifting layers of bit-crushed percussion. His second solo album “Preparing 4 War” is released January 2015, a follow up to 2006’s “Emergency Basslines”.

He is also a long time producer with independent label Indigenous Resistance (IR), which documents the struggles of Indigenous people worldwide.


Blood Earth

Dr Das observed that the original Blood Earth set felt more like an ‘alternative news broadcast.’ Delhi’s lyrics express indignation and exasperation at a society to which the state’s abhorrent treatment of Adivasis is ultimately justified in the name of so called ‘progress’ and ‘national interest’ and to which therefore, those communities are expendable. Sonic illustrator McGuiness successfully re-created an overwhelming sense of dread and foreboding with his integration of ambient field recordings with menacing electronic drones.

Dr Das was impressed by the honesty and intensity of this music and by the pair’s degree of immersion. For each song, he ended up creating a minimal yet robust funk framework to accommodate the original song arrangement, rather than decimating them, as a remixer might normally do. His usual percussion distortions are understated and sparse, allowing McGuiness’s original colours to bleed through. With his heavy dub hooklines and tightly interlocking drum patterns, Dr Das has attempted to imbue the tracks with greater physical momentum, shifting them deeper into the dancehall, but leaving the original narratives intact.


Back Against the Wall





“I wish we could rise up and come tall again."

Chris McGuinness' composition incorporates the regional Gungunung instrument (a bamboo jaw harp) and samples of a nighttime courting song sung by Kondh females. Their voices are fed into an infinite feedback loop which evolves into a grinding noise that drives the song.Here, a determined bassline leads a surveillance mission into the forest to observe police and army activity. Vigilant hi hats keep watch either side allowing Andolan soldiers to move swiftly through the undergrowth. Jawsharp and the newly enlisted madhol exchange rhythms like jungle communiqués. Delhi’s plea to Bhagawan echoes through the dancehall. Menacing dissonance at the end predicts the inevitability of violent resistance.


Unity






This is the most defiant of the remixes. Dr Das created an almost typical reggae 4/4 drumbeat to envelop the original 6/8 dhol pattern, forming a protective cell in which the dhols can nevertheless express unhindered. This is the key to the remix. It is an alliance of contemporary dub militancy and a more ancient resistance. The uncouth snare is more like a slow sonic protest of dozens of people hitting the company’s perimeter fence in unison. The two note bass hook (to quote Dr Das: “less is just right”) sometimes drops to the lower octave underneath the protesters’ chants to literally add weight to their anger. In the choruses, the bassline, in old school reggae fashion, follows Bhagavan’s vocal melody. The overall weight and solidity of the ‘riddim’ is a metaphor for solidarity in the face of adversity and the slow half time feel evokes the steadfast, unflinching nature of the campaign.


Poison






For this track, Dr Das borrowed the signature framedrum loop from his track “Outsider Dub.” This ominous sound introduces the song and gives way to an equally brooding bassline. As Lima sings of how the community will organize itself against the company, he is backed up by a disciplined rimshot and bass drum syncopation. Delhi’s darker commentary is punctuated by what sounds like the percussive cocking of police rifles and dhol distortion, indicating a growing climate of fear. Towards the end, as Lima speaks of the transformation of ‘immortal nectar into poison’ his voice dissipates into regenerative noise and we hear the sound of distant gunfire.


Go Away






For this remix, Dr Das created some driving Dundka funk where a syncopated bass melody is anchored by an aggressive kick and dirty, redux distorted snare. Some urban tabla is recruited to add yet more propulsion and urgency. McGuiness’s incisive guitar pops up occasionally like a reggae sniper. Salu’s plaintive blues soar effortlessly over the heavy b-line, developing a momentum to match the indignation of Delhi’s lyrics.