Monthly Archives: April 2012

Jahtarian Dubbers Vol. 3

On first encountering Jahtari back in 2008 before having even listened to any of their music, I was sure I had stumbled upon something pretty good. The name alone was sheer brilliance, as were the low pixal-rate Atari style graphics on their website.

Sure enough upon hearing their anomalous laptop-crafted dubs, released on free Net 7″s, I became enamoured with what was at the time an obscure online label run by a couple of Germans from Leipzig named Disrupt and Rootah.

These were chaps from a techno music background who had a strange obsession with 80s video games. They had only recently begun dabbling with reggae after discovering the joys of dubwise music through Berlin-based Rhythm and Sound. Their early riddims weren’t flawless, they had a distinct bedroom producer feel about them. But the ethos behind their sound grabbed me.

In contrast to so many tacky contemporary productions doing a sub-par job of faking a live roots sound, it was something of a revelation to hear unequivocal reggae music that proudly embraced its computerised mode of production. Jahtari were the original purveyors of the ‘digital laptop reggae’ sound. (more…)

Scratch Famous Top Ten – April 2012

Selector Scratch Famous of Deadly Dragon Sound System used to be a very smart guy about a whole range of subjects. He could wake up in the morning, write a thesis paper about Walter Benjamin, cook an experimental ‘futurist’ lunch, build a prototype engine for a manned space mission to Mars, translate the Yiddish works of Sholem Aleichem into Hopi, train German draft horses to waltz, prepare a 12 course classical French banquet service after Escoffier, train a bit with his break dancing crew, juggle cats and finally end the evening in deep astral projection based on an intensive study of the Theravada school of Thai Buddhism.

Then in the mid-90s he helped to found Deadly Dragon Sound-System and he left behind all foolish things, focusing on the most important thing of all: reggae music.  (more…)

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Harmonic Culture

Harmonic Culture posterWhen: Friday 27 April, 9pm till late

Where: Medusa – 154 Vivian Street

All Tribes Welcome, Royal Behaviour, One Love

Redemption Sound & NiceUp present Harmonic Culture – a night of heavy roots reggae and dub inna sound system style.

Tomo (Redemption Sound/Shiloh Ites) From Japan
Conviction Roots
Hawk i & MC Ras Stone – live act
Rootsman Pat

Born and raised in Buraku district (a segregated area), Japan, Tomo’s first exposure to Reggae was seeing Bob Marley’s video ‘Time Will Tell’ as a teenager. Inspired by the message, he started playing Roots Reggae in so-called King David style in early 2000, playing under the name ‘Redemption Sound’, choosing this name to clarify the concept of his music and to differentiate Roots Reggae (Rastafarian music) from Dancehall and other related genres.

In 2001 Tomo started his own session in Kyoto, Japan, ‘Harmonic Culture’. It featured legendary local guests as well as prominent international artists, including Al Campbell (JA), and in 2008 he ran a Japanese tour with the Shiloh-Ites and Lion Youths Sound System (Sweden). He has also played alongside artists such as Twilight Circus (The Netherlands), Zion Train, Russ Disciples and Jonah Dan, and Aba Shanti (UK).

In 2005 Tomo relocated to Melbourne, where he worked with top crews such as Chant Down, Heartical Hi Fi, Agency Dub Collective and The Red Eyes. He has played across Australia, including Sydney and Canberra, and also in Canada and Sweden. In Sweden he played sessions with Lion Youths and Rootsteppaz Sound Systems. He is also a worldwide representative of the Swedish label, Shiloh-Ites.

Taking inspiration from Jah Shaka, Aba Shanti – I (UK) and Shandi – I (Japan), in his own high-energy sets, expect to hear heavy Roots Reggae and Dub as well as exclusive dubplates from Shiloh-Ites (SE), Lion Youths (SE) and Roots Tribe (NL). You will also hear Tomo’s unique chanting and dub-mixing!

Tomo has a goal to educate people about the meaning and message behind deep Roots Reggae music, a universal message, promoting equality and justice that can be shared by all, regardless of race, cultural background or creed. No ‘ism and ‘skism! Tomo wants to get people off the couch, increasing involvement, promoting shows and supporting the Roots movement.

Tomo says, ‘Rise up people. As it was in the beginning so shall it be in the end – One love, Rastafari.’

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Aio EP

Aio EP coverāio – 1.(stative) be calm, at peace. 2.(noun) calm conditions (weather), peace.

Formed in 2010, Āio are a homegrown four-piece formed by (mostly) music students from Whitireia Polytechnic in Wellington. The self titled EP is their debut release, recorded at York St Studios in Auckland.

On first listening, I heard aspects of early Trinity Roots and Kora mixed with an organic blend of male and female vocals. There are heavy roots and soul influences, but this EP has a very earthy Aotearoan style that grounds it as the music sashays between acoustic, jazz, soul, and rock styles and indigenous Maori instruments. The lyrics switch between English and Te Reo, adding further layers to Āio, creating quite a beautiful and original auditory journey. (more…)

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DJ Grassroots – This Time

Right now is an exciting time for New Zealand dancehall. The quality of the local sound is on the rise and becoming noticed here and abroad.

With the likes of local MCs such as Silva, Jah Red Lion and Israel Star bringing the sound to the masses over top-notch beats and riddims produced in our own backyard (check out local heavy hitters ‘High Stakes’ who reached no.1 in Jamaica), things are beginning to hot up big style.

‘This Time’ is the love child of mainstay and boss of the mighty ‘Back-a-Yard Sound System, Jules Longdon-Prisk AKA DJ Grassroots. This full-length, self-released album was the product of several years of blood, sweat, tears and ramen noodles, as Grassroots put his working life on hold to get this labor of passion out to the public.

With a few favors called in and a massive chunk of savings, Grassroots dropped ‘This Time’ in mid-2011. It is a journey through a few sound-scapes and genres, but always has the sound Grassroots holds so dear at the root of each chat and verse. (more…)

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