Have you heard this one? Q: How do you make a trombone sound better? A: Run it over with a lawnmower.
There are a few instruments that are consistently the butt of jokes. There's viola, for one: Q: What's the difference between a viola and an onion? A: No one cries when you cut up a viola. There's the bassoon, for another: Q: What is better, bassoon or oboe? A: Bassoon, you can use it as a toilet plunger.
And most definitely the trombone: Q: What is the dynamic range of a bass trombone? A: On or off.
Yet the Brooklyn Afro-Dub band Super Hi-Fi is hardly concerned with trombone take-downs. The group, led by songwriter-producer-bassist Ezra Gale -- previously of the band Aphrodesia -- features two full time trombone players in Alex Asher and Ryan Snow. And their debut album Dub To The Bone, (out Dec. 4) is pretty consistently on.
The album is a highly textured affair, full of warm analog sounds and classic dub tape delay. But where dub was born out of instrumental remixes of previously existing recordings, the compositions here are all original and demonstrate a deep knowledge of the genre, both its roots and branches.
The opening track, "Washingtonian," bears hints of ska, while the song "Tri Tro Tro" pushes guitarist Will Grafe's gentle strumming to the forefront (though the trombones are never far behind). And the at-times menacing "Neolithic" treads ever so slightly into the realm of spy music. And, in a further nod to the traditions of the genre, Dub To The Bone features several remixes, from the likes of Prince Polo, Victor Rice and Subatomic Soundsystem.
Dub To The Bone makes a convincing case to spare the trombone the fate of lawnmower, instead feeding it straight into the Echoplex and to all the spacey realms beyond.
Audio is no longer available for this feature. But you can listen to an album sampler of Super Hi-Fi's Dub To the Bone, below.