On 9th May 2011 Dreadzone, the fervently followed British institution and original pioneers of UK bass culture present The Good The Bad And The Dread – a compendium of their excellent musical story so far. Still going strong after seventeen years, Dreadzone have carved a large niche and cult following. Hit records, critical acclaim and a huge, devoted fan base are theirs, due in part to their utterly storming live shows. The all-killer-no-filler 16 tracks collate the many highlights of the Zone’s output to date – a coherent and still fresh-sounding body of work.
Dreadzone deal in accessible yet credible club sounds with pop nous, referencing everyone from Woody Guthrie and Max Romeo to John Holt and classic films. They also like to wander into uncharted territory, melding Celtic, Jamaican and Asian influences to their riddims and samples, thus turning out unique, quirky gems like Captain Dread and Little Britain. The latter track is available here in its more rare vocal incarnation, which wasnt featured on the album Second Light (the instrumental was). Their dubwise beats and bottom end, often adorned with the unmistakably dulcet tones of Earl Sixteen are a product of the cut-and-paste magpie nature of the ever-morphing world of dance music. Other collaborators who’ve passed through the house of dread include cultural figurehead Don Letts, Melanie Blatt and Alison Goldfrapp.
Dreadzone originators Greg Dread and Leo Williams are respectively the drum and bass in seminal post-punk-electro-pop band Big Audio Dynamite. Tim Bran was also a founding father, and is still involved in shaping the Dread sound. Dreadzone was born from the duo’s shared love for reggae, ska, dub, dancehall, hip hop, breakbeat and the burgeoning electronic music scene of the time. Dubstep, UK funky, 2-step, Jungle and the multitude of fangled sub genres have been born post-Dreadzone, and whilst it maybe a sweeping statement to claim they’ve been a direct influence on all such producers, they can definitely stake claim to a very large branch on the family tree of all things dance, quality and of black origin. Dreadzone have released six artist albums: 360, Second Light, Biological Radio, Sound, Once Upon A Time and last year’s Eye On the Horizon. They delivered a storming set on Later with Jools Holland and performed their top-twenty hit Little Britain on Top Of The Pops. That single has since become ubiquitous, due to countless TV program syncs and generally being a much-loved anthem. John Peel was a big fan of the band too. He included five Dreadzone tracks in his festive fifty and chose their 360 LP as one of his top ten albums of all time. Ironically that release hasn’t been available since the closing of Alan McGee’s iconic label Creation records, to which the they were signed. Dreadzone also DJ under the Dreadzone Soundsystem moniker, tearing up dancefloors worldwide in a fashion that’s unmistakably their own.
Dreadzone are: Greg Dread (beats and electronics) Leo Williams (bass) MC Spee (MC), Earl 16 (vocals) Chris Compton (guitar) and Chris Oldfield (technology).
The Best Of Dreadzone: The Good, The Bad & The Dread
Zion Youth (Dreadzone Mix)
Little Britain (Vocal Version)
Captain Dread (Single Edit)
Biological Radio (Edit)
House Of Dread
Life Love & Unity (96 Mix)
Fight The Power (95)
Return Of The Dread
The Good The Bad & The Dread