Killing Joke have always shown glimpses of their dub-loving heritage. Change, Follow the Leaders, Kings and Queens, Blue Feather, A New Day, America and Ghosts of Ladbroke Grove have all received the dub treatment, although the tracks have largely been restricted to B-sides and EP tracks.
And on Chaos for Breakfast, there’s the 19 minute dub-workout “Killer Dub (AKA Bread and Jam)” (confusingly not the version on here); and of course Turn to Red (the whole EP really), Madness and Brilliant are dub tracks.
So the other day the YouTube video (below) popped up containing the audio of four very old, un-released KJ songs. These tracks are all dub, and there is no singing, only spoken word over the top of dubby drum/bass grooves. At times it reminds me of trip-hop in the way it is layered and constructed. And, is you like that side of KJ, this is definitiely worth a listen.
1. The Last Laugh – this is a short live track with a gnarly bass.
2. Killer Dub – sounds like a demo (but not fantastic quality), spoken vocals, lots of familiar KJ synth (Jaz was using an Oberheim OBX, the same sound as all over the early singles and eponymous debut). I really like this track, especially the bass. (And it definitely has a bit of Kings and Queens in it, on the rising sections.)
3. W1 Chant – this is entitled “WW1 Blues” on the video, but other bootlegs list this as “W1 Chant”. In terms of sound quality, this is the jewel of the piece really – obviously a studio demo (recorded in 1978 according to other bootlegs). I am surprised it hasn’t already surfaced on any compilations.
4. You’re an animal – interesting track. It has been edited together “from old demos and soundchecks (but every sound in this track is Killing Joke)” by the person who posted the video. Unfortunately the source is low-quality, the same ballpark as the first track the Last Laugh.