Release Date: Feb 19, 2013
Record label: Big Dada
Genre(s): Electronic, Rap, Club/Dance
With a past that involves work with Soul II Soul, Tricky, and Rodney P., U.K. producer Anthony Alexander Campbell, aka Dobie, has a pedigree that is as tasteful as it is stellar, but don't let those trench coat-wearing, half-tempo, and hip-hop names fool you. Even if his second full-length is as smoky, deep, urban, and rich as the above names imply, We Will Not Harm You is welcoming and attractive, bubbling with plenty of house beats that are big room instead of back room, and sharing a cheeky sense of spirit with another one of Dobie's cohorts, Howie B.
Dobie has been a significant figure in UK underground electronic music for over 30 years, first as a skateboarder and photographer in the 1980s, and then as a producer and remixer working with artists like Soul II Soul, Massive Attack and Tricky in the ’90s. His own musical career though has been strangely unfulfilled, with only one album released since his debut, 1997’s The Sound Of One Hand Clapping. This decade, Dobie has released two EPs of excellent hip-hop influenced electronica for Big Dada.
Last summer, I went to Outlook, a bass festival in Croatia. At some point during the blur of the weekend, I picked up a 'No bass, no fun' sticker, which managed to permeate into my heat-bass-booze addled mind and resonated with me deeply. I plastered it to myself; delighted to parade my new-found life philosophy before everyone I met (thankfully there wasn’t a tattoo parlour to hand).
Another quality release from the always reliable Ninja Tune, this time from sub-label Big Dada, which has a penchant for scooping up legendary UK artists who can never seem to find any major label love, but are pushing the limits of what we like to call "bass music. " Dobie is one such artist. A constant on the London urban scene almost from its inception, he's carved a niche for himself away from the UK hip-hop and skateboarding communities that initially brought him to attention with an oeuvre that takes its cues from the sampling culture of early house and hip-hop, which inspired him, but has a sound all of its own.
If you have no clue as to whom UK bass legend Dobie is, chances are you aren’t into electronic and hip-hop. Even if you are, you might be forgiven for glazing over him entirely. You see, Dobie, whose real name is Anthony Campbell, is a guy who generally doesn’t usually step out onto his own and covet the limelight. He’s only released one bona-fide full-length album before now in the past 15 years, 1998’s The Sound of One Hand Clapping.
London producer coaxes new flavour from familiar ingredients. Chris Power 2013 Dobie was a skateboarder and photographer in the 1980s, before his involvement with Soul II Soul led to work with Massive Attack, and remixing duties for Tricky, Björk, Warren G, Neneh Cherry and Bomb the Bass. His first album, which emerged in 1998 at the back end of the trip hop wave, comprised passable hip hop and forgettable chill out ballads, while 2004’s The Sound of One Hand Clapping Version 2.5 was somewhere between a re-release and a remix album.