Dubokaj is a part-time Swiss highlander and a full-time Dub practitioner. The Bern based artist describes "Alpine Dub", his first solo LP, as "unfinished Pop music that was sent through a bunch of effects". These effects are, of course, a whole array of analog machines, all of them vintage, most of them as good as new, some of them almost fully dysfunctional, yet because of their glitchy nature they are truly unique voices in it of themselves. This btw. might be the reason why this record sounds like no other.
The finished piece took about 4 years to make. It was distilled from over 30 compositions that were worked, reworked and re-edited hundreds of times into what finally became sizzling, crackling, warm perfection. "Alpine Dub" is a wild exploration of Dub as technique and methodology. It's an experiment that was embarked on without a fixed road-map or any pre-meditated results in mind. The mission was to create honest music and to allow it to tell its own story. There are no genre templates here, either, in fact, some of these tracks change their genre references several times as they unfold. And this is what makes this record so thoroughly modern – its ability to flow freely from a hint of Funk, to dashes of Tropicalia, and then still take a bold, unpredictable turn into something that sounds like it could've been cut in the heart of Jamaica. Ultimately though, "Alpine Dub" is a brain child of an adamant music lover who not only found his voice, but also mastered unique ways of expressing it.
The majority of the record could be dubbed instrumental music, however Dubokaj's jungle sound vocalizations can be heard throughout, mostly added to individual songs as an extra color, texture or an idiosyncratic, percussive detail – less so the main vocal line. There are, however, a few stunning appearances on songs by vocalist, song-writer Joana Aderi – and these are the pieces that could easily contend with any "left of field" Pop singles out there, as far as Pop arrangements are concerned. These are also the tunes that emphasize Dubokaj's matured production craft.
"Alpine Dub" is a personal record. Its strength lies in the ability to precipitate and verbalize the joys and the melancholies of life, not as complementary opposites, but rather two aspects of a single molecule. Most songs here are neither sad nor happy – in a strange way they are both simultaneously. So what is this record really about? In his own words: "I'm still fascinated by the fact that you can travel through the Net and create a story, or even a whole world from the experiences you get from navigating this virtual landscape. I live in both worlds, but this record is about the travels through an analog mind. It's about places I've visited in the past, but have revisited through memory recall while writing this record. It's also about places that I haven't been to simply because some of them don't even exist, yet I can see them vividly in my mind's eye"
Studio nerds will be happy to know that after the writing and recording of this LP was finished, Dubokaj spent another 4 days, 14 hours per session, over a mixing desk and racks full of analog effects, dubbing and de/re/constructing individual tracks in the true spirit of the Dub genre. Everything was done live and in the moment. The mixing board was used not as a mixing tool, but as an actual instrument. This is what gave the whole record its unique "patina" and unified a collection of compositions into one beautiful, cohesive whole.