Music

Tricky Meets South Rakkas Crew

Tricky meets South Rakkas Crew album coverTricky, aka Adrian Thaws, was a key figure in the Bristol trip-hop scene that burned brightly in the early-to-mid 90s before quickly fading away into the shadows of the underground.  

After initally garnering a following by whispering vocals with Massive Attack (on the track Karma Coma for instance), Tricky shot to fame with the release of his debut solo album Maxinquaye in 1995. But like his contemporaries Portishead, Tricky was ill at ease in the limelight and despite releasing a steady flow of albums, he seemed to deliberately eschew mainstream popularity by pursuing a darker and less accessible sound.   (more…)

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Salmonella Dub – Freak Controller

Freak Controller album coverThe ten- track album starts off with Restless Soul – a five and a half long drum n base track with minimal lyrics and nice use of a guitar strum over the top – classic Sal Dub dnb sound. Up & Running featuring MC Mana is one of my favourites on the album – the lyrical content is conscious and can be easily related to (for any gardeners out there). The album progresses through dub, drum n bass and electronic styles. The track Freak Local (which was released on the Freak Local E.P. in July) has many elements of the early Sal Dub sound and is quite experimental.

Walk Into Your Mind brings together drum n bass, rock guitar and the lyrical styles of MC Mana. Bombastic and Untangling feature very nice horn sections. The album finishes with a seven-minute deep dub track titled Deep in Southland. 

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Elephant Wise – The Reasoning

The Reasoning album coverThe Reasoning is a refreshing full length offering from Kenyan-born, Queensland-based Elephant Wise.  The debut album has a good balance of contemporary roots and dancehall, with a conscious message underlying the songs. Rastafarian ideology prevails, making this a real reggae culture album from our very own South Pacific.

Elephant Wise worked hard to make connections with New Zealand producers, and the result of this is two killer tracks, Belly a di Beast and Sugar Nancy over two of Reality Chant’s riddims; and Burning Slow care of Auckland’s High Stakes.  There is more from Holland’s Not Easy At All Productions.  Elephant Wise has not been shy of vocal collaborations either; making his album international with appearances by Deadly Hunta (UK) and Amsie Brown (Africa) alongside Australian vocalists Lnx Dread and Elijah. (more…)

Rod Taylor – Where Is Your Love Mankind

Where Is Your Love Mankind album coverTo judge this album outside of the era it was produced in is foolish. First released in 1980, it has all the elements of a legend in the making; mixed by Scientist and produced by Henry Junjo Lawes (famous for his work with on Papa Michigan & General Smiley’s Diseases among other classic recordings), with backing from the legendary Roots Radics: Sly Dunbar (of Sly and Robbie, need I say it), Ansel Collins (of Double Barrel fame), Style Scott (Dub Syndicate), Errol Flabba Holt (Channel One), and others. And it is a legendary album – the hype surrounding it’s re-release from Greensleeves celebrating 30 years in 2007 was massive.

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Sweet & Irie – Localize It

Localize It album coverWhile Big Youth was in Aotearoa, at Soundsplash ’06, he stated that “Reggae is a seed that we planted and now this tree is bearing fruit.” Here in the Pacific and specifically Aotearoa this fruit is bands like House Of Shem, Unity Pacific, Katchafire and Sweet & Irie to name a very few. 

The album is cleverly named Localize It, a word play on Peter Tosh’s 1976 album Legalize It. In the same vein as Peter Tosh’s No Nuclear War album, Sweet & Irie sing the lyrics ‘sending French letters with reggae sounds,’ in tribute to Aotearoa’s own Herbs. This reference shows that the fruit never falls far from the tree. (more…)

Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do

Guns Don't Kill People Lazers Do album coverMajor Lazer is a red-beret wearing, microphone-ammo-belt sporting, rocket-powered hover-board riding Jamaican commando who lost his right forearm in a secret zombie war back in 1984; his arm has since been replaced by a state of the art laser-gun and he is here, in the dancehall, to fight the never ending battle against mummies, pimps, zombies, vampires and all other evil types, so we may party safely…at least for tonight. I smell a comic/cartoon series, merch, ring tones, figurines, applications, adventure game etc. 

As usual, Diplo does the expectedly unexpected. Teaming up once again with Switch after collaborating with M.I.A and Santagold, they hit Jamaica and into Tuff Gong Studios to work with some of J.A.’s hottest artist (as well as a couple of US female rappers, Amanda Blank and Mapei who truly hold their own alongside some heavyweights) and what can I say, just the idea of it, ya’ nu they’re gonna burn the spot like a laser copier, an’ make ya dancehall vibrate like a nokia… (more…)

Johnny Ringo – Dancehall Legend

Dancehall Legend album coverBradley Miller, aka Johnny Ringo, was one of many talented deejays to rise to prominence during the dancehall revolution that swept over Kingston’s sound systems in the early 80s. Ironically though (seeing as he took his name from a legendary outlaw from the old west) he was one of the only top-ranking deejays to emerge from the city’s east side. 

Dancehall Legend, released on Musical Ambassador, is essentially a rehash of Ringo’s 1982 Cool Profile LP, which featured Ringo toasting over impeccable Roots Radics riddims largely sourced from the Edi Fitzroy’s classic Youthman Penitentiary. With riddims of this quality it’s hard to go wrong, and for the most part he doesn’t.   (more…)

Salmonella Dub – Freak Local EP

Freak Local EP coverAfter a small ripple of apprehension I was relatively relieved when I imported this bad boy into my i-Tunes library to the sound of familiar horn instruments and the groovy backing beat of the opening track, creatively titled Freak Local Radio Cut.

It’s fair to say I was surprised and drawn in by what I heard in the opener but to no avail, more generic New Zealand dub was to follow, the next two tracks drifted off into the liquid void of my brain finding themselves among thousands of other nameless dance tracks that feature soft drums, some form of ethical instrument and dull hooks.   (more…)

Reality Chant – Natty King & High Kee – Fyah Bed & Goodness Gracious (singles)

Natty King and Hi KeeThe single releases of Fyah Bed and Goodness Gracious are a little teaser of what’s coming-up next from Reality Chant Productions. The versions will feature on the upcoming King’s Highway compilation album from Christchurch-based Reality Chant Productions.

Best known for his work with Dubwize Soundsystem and Snypa Levi, producer Messenjah has firmed up the international connections yet again for Kings Highway. 

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Ashtech & Polcari – Meditronica

MeditronicaMeditronica is a dub project by Ashtech and Polcari and features the talents of Dub Gabriel and Eraldo Bernocchi along with vocalists Raiz and Poppy Kinlogh. The album is due for release in June 2009 on the new London-based record label RareNoise. First a little bit about the album itself.

On my first listening, I was surprised at the eclectic soundscape which ranges from being heavy dub to ambient with a strong bassline underscoring the entire album. The most striking feature of this album is the blend of the Mediterranean with electronica and dub. I particularly liked the combination of a global sound interwoven throughout the album, which was fairly subtle and did not take away from its primary genre of dub-electronica. (more…)