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Dub Asylum - EP Review: Time & Space EP

19 Nov 2023 // A review by Callum Wagstaff
Dub Asylum is the musical alias for Peter McLennan, former member of 90's reggae-thrash-punk-ska mutants the Hallelujah Picassos. Now working solo, Peter McLennan's Dub Asylum is a musical mash-up of dub reggae, hip-hop and funk. All genres that weigh heavy on McLennan's ears.

Dub Asylum continues on with many of the musical elements present in the Picassos sound, taking them on a more electronic bent. Mixing up scratchy old hip hop drum loops and samples with dubbed out guitar and keyboards.

After a long string of cover versions, the asylum has come out with new music in the Time & Space EP. McLennan describes it as "Sparse, moody, repetitive dubs to tune in or zone out to. Written over five days in the middle of (NZ) winter, staring towards the future thinking about lux flakes, lost causes and loose units, while watching dem youth make a difference."

Every song is full of mind-stretching delay tails and deep, chesty bass notes that mean you can't help but breathe longer and feel wiser as you zone in your chosen direction. Ebbs in the instrumentation leave you feeling as if you've been thinking deeply, even if you've only n that you haven't moved, let alone thought anything, because the sound of the tracks changing makes you realize yourself again. Touches like the Gregorian-esque chanting in Critic of Clouds leave relaxing footprints in the air that
they travel through to get to your brain.

While centred around meditative motifs, Time & Space EP is like a day spa in purgatory, combining reliable and relaxing rhythms and tones with chaotic intermittent tweaks and musical suggestions. Calming elements like the steel drums in Bass on the Backlash, which alternate between two pairs of pitches that become a hypnotic, semi-regulated frequency, are not so much interrupted as they are assaulted by short contributions from other instruments.

The effect is like being in a damp forest full of birds singing back and forth with each other.
Also like a forest of birdsong, eventually all the components become part of the scene, just long enough to patch into the chaos before it gives way to the next track.

Perhaps the most endearing quality to Time & Space EP is the playfulness of the sound choices. From the soft and cuddly laser beams of the title track to the sinister balloon rubbing sounds and drum attacks so slow they sound like gunshots in Delectable vs ElectableDub Asylum has a quizzical wrinkle of noise set to spring around every corner. Heartbeats, stretchy synth pads and crunchy, possum-in-a-cereal box sounds await you when you make the choice to spend a few minutes in time and space with Dub Asylum and the Time & Space EP.

About Dub Asylum

Dub Asylum is the latest musical alias for Peter McLennan, member of 90's reggae-thrash-punk-ska mutants the Hallelujah Picassos. Dub Asylum is a musical mash-up of dub reggae, hip hop and funk, genres that weigh heavy on Peter's ears. "I like a tune that throws sweet melodies in your earholes and shakes your ass at the same time," he explains.

Dub Asylum continues on with many of the musical elements present in the Picassos sound, taking them on a more electronic bent. Mixing up scratchy old hip hop drum loops and samples with dubbed out guitar and keyboards, Dub Asylum cook it all up in a massive sonic stew that is guaranteed one hundred per cent cholesterol-free, and full of your daily vitamin requirements.

Peter was in the Picassos from 1988 til 1995, when he left the band. They released two albums, Hateman in Love and Drinking with Judas, an EP and a bunch of singles. Peter also directed several music videos for the Picassos. He has been playing music since high school, starting out in a band called The Worst. "Well, the name was apt", he muses. Hindsight, aint it grand?

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dub Asylum


Time & Space
Year: 2023
Type: EP
Beg, Steel or Borrow
Year: 2022
Type: Album
She Dubs Me Remix
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Stereo Freeze
Year: 2011
Type: EP
Ba Ba Boom!
Year: 2008
Type: EP
She Dubs Me, She Dubs Me Not
Year: 2002
Type: Album
Dub Never Sleeps
Year: 1999
Type: EP

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