In parts of Dubs, a retrospective compiled by Ecstatic's Alessio Natalizia from three numbered cassettes released in 2015 and 2016, the results sound fairly conventional. "Definition Dub" and "Sieben Dub" send skanking piano, guitar, horn snippets and smoky bass through a labyrinth of delay FX. There's something quite dub techno to "Disappointed Dub"'s dappled chord textures and floaty melancholy. But even these tracks, looped assemblages of echo, emptiness and halting rhythm, have a certain ambiguity that suggests something fresh is going on here. (A quality that Papadatos shares with other regulars on the Bokeh Version label.)
This freshness gets easier to pinpoint as the sound palette broadens. On "Magazine Dub" and "Detremental Dub," brasher synth patches give the music a striking computerised feel (it can be hard to resist the temptation to cloak dub-related music in "authentic" hiss and crackle). The scratchy bass guitar loop in "Depression Dub" nods to post-punk. At the other end of the spectrum, Papadatos goes full-on ambient downtempo in closer "Late Dub," whose serene surface gets ever more watery and clouded as it goes, until, in the final minute, an entirely different instrumental emerges bizarrely from the swirl.
As these moments suggest, Dubs is diverse, but its defining mood is a kind of rainy melancholy. It's there in the ultra-deep "Hilton Dub," the stormier "Perfumed Dub" (the comp's only brand new cut), and in "Daria Dub," with its soaring shoegaze melodies. It's also there in Papadatos' drum parts, which often emerge suddenly and disappear just as fast, drenching the mix in a hailstorm of echo and boom. These moments can be unsettling, and the dark, minimalistic, 82-minute Dubs does make demands on the listener. But it's the most comprehensive introduction yet to Jay Glass Dubs' world—and this is a world you should be getting to know.