Mavado – Gangsta for Life – The Symphony of David Brooks

Mavado - Gangsta for LifeVP Records (2007)

Gangsta For Life is the first full-length album from up and coming dancehall artist Mavado, a.k.a The Real McKoy. Signed to VP Records alongside the likes of Sanchez, Wayne Wonder and T.O.K., Mavado continues in the vein of slickly produced independent dancehall.

Citing Bounty Killer as his Godfather and mentor, Mavado follows in the Killer’s tracks as a hardline gangsta MC with a ghetto mentality.  Don’t be fooled by the guns and ammo though, Mavado has a sweet and compassionate side too.   (more…)

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Katchafire – Say What You’re Thinking

Say What You're ThinkingEMI (2007)

I was very excited to be asked to review Katchafire’s third studio album, Say What Your Thinking, as I am a big fan of their two previous releases, Revival (2003) (which featured the highest selling NZ single of 2003) and Slow Burning (2005). Both albums gained high praise.

For this release, the seven-piece crew stepped into Auckland’s York Studios at the end of 2006 with a different line-up.  The very talented Thompson Hohepa (guitarist/vocals) left the group as did highly acclaimed NZ bassist, Ara Adams-Tamatea. The bands original bass player, Tere Ngarua, is back on bass duties with Ara continuing on as the groups booking agent.   (more…)

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Shaggy – Intoxication

IntoxicationVP Records (2007)

For those established fans of international ragga-pop star Shaggy, that unique voice is still there. If you have paid little attention since hearing Oh Carolina and Bombastic way back in the 90s, that unique voice is still there. Intoxication has 17 shaggy tracks, including 6 collaborations with other artists which does add welcome diversity to Shaggy’s signature gravel-bass vocals. (more…)

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Dr Das – Emergency Basslines

Emergency Basslines(VU Recordings)

Hard hitting, energetic and vibrant is the only way to describe Emergency Basslines, the debut album by Aniruddha Das aka Dr Das. Dr Das is a veteran of the bass and the sound that can aptly be called Asian Dub, having been a founder band member of the noted Asian Dub Foundation. After leaving the band in 2006 to pursue his own musical journey and concentrate on teaching again, he has brought to us, in Emergency Basslines, a sound that is uniquely and recognizably his. (more…)

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Unity Pacific – Into The Dread

Into the Dread(EMI)

Reggae in Aotearoa is at the strongest its been for years. This is proven and succinctly confirmed in this new, most conscious, release. As a mouthpiece for the quality of Reggae nationwide, the initial song’s (From Street to Sky) main hook proudly proclaims ‘look at me now’, rightfully acknowledging the success of their/our music in this time.

The musicianship is sublime. Extremely tight, well composed and with an audibly high level of production skill, the album is a signpost of the standard expected and delivered. And so consistent are the individual songs, it becomes tricky to pick out highlights. (more…)

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Stephen Marley – Mind Control

Mind ControlMind control, corruption of your thoughts, destruction of your soul, the truth is there for us to see…

It’s hard to believe this is the first solo album from Stephen ‘Raggamuffin’ Marley.   A seasoned performer for the last 27 years, Stephen joined The Melody Makers at age 7 and has been writing, producing and performing ever since. I was stunned to discover Marley has won five Grammy awards for his efforts, more than any reggae artist in history. After co-writing and producing much of brother Damian’s 2005 release, ‘Welcome to Jamrock’, Stephen has been recording and producing his own tracks in his Miami-based Lion’s Den studio.   (more…)

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Mikey Dread – Life is a Stage

Life is a Stage(Dread at the Controls)

Now you are tuned in to the champion sound, A-1 sound, world class sound…we are the champion sound that rule this town!

Mikey Dread isn’t shy about sharing his talents. Since 1976, he has shaped the sound of reggae and delivered it to the world via his renowned radio shows, ‘Dread at the Controls’.  Life is a Stage is the staggering twenty-second release from this legendary radio presenter, TV presenter, producer and musician. (more…)

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Newtown Sound Presents: Ghetto Red Hot: The Mix-CD Vol.2

Ghetto Red Hot Vol. 2Mixed by Art Official

Art Official has really stepped his game up the last couple of years. Between launching Newtown Sound, co-founding NiceUp and DJing regularly on radio and around the country with Yardwise Sound, it’s amazing that the guy can hold down a day job and produce regular radio interviews with well-known Dancehall/Reggae artists. To make matters worse he easily pushes out more mix-tapes/mix-CDs then any other reggae DJ in Wellington.

Ghetto Red Hot: The Mix-CD Vol.2 is his latest – as always the quality has improved exponentially and the level of local content has increased as well. (more…)

Homefire Burning – Fire It Up

Fire It Up(Subculture System)

Homefire Burning are a Roots Rock Reggae band from the Kapiti coast, just north of Wellington city.  If you are a fan of Katchafire, House of Shem, The Black Seeds or Steel Pulse, I suspect you will probably really enjoy Fire It Up.  The group also have a twist, vocally they perform in an equal blend of English and Te Reo.

More or less the story goes, five friends came together on the Kapiti Coast and within a year had performed at the Parihaka Peace Festival, Active89FM’s One Love Concert, toured around the lower North Island and recorded two albums. One in English, one in Te Reo. (more…)

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Conscious Roots 3

Conscious Roots 3(Various Artists / EMI Music NZ)
Compiled by David Allan and Pranja Moodley

It’s always a hard thing to do the third of a series, especially if the previous two have been such killers. The third has the danger of being just more of the same, coasting along on the success of it predecessors, or worse to flop. Sometimes though, the third can be a deeper, more expansive appreciation of the subject, than a compilation of secure hits. Such is the case with CR3.   (more…)

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