Full in both sound and message, “One Love” strikes an excellent balance of power between the Shofar Allstars’s crisp-yet-deep horns and Skari’s positive lyrics. (more…)
Randy Valentine has been a name I’ve been hearing about for a few years now. I must admit I had passed him over a little at first, but did find myself checking riddims to see if it was him killing it on the version.
Jamaican-born Randy now resides in the UK and is gaining popularity at an alarming rate. This could be due to his versatility as a singer as well as a deejay (dancehall MC). (more…)
Opinions about the reissue releases from Blood and Fire, Pressure Sounds, Soul Jazz etc are mixed. Sometimes facts and details are incorrect, sometimes the selections are a bit baffling. One thing they did do, was to force re-issue LPs to up their games presentation wise.
That is the first thing that hits you with this release. This package consists of 3 CDs with 56 tracks, a very nice fold-out CD box with some nice label scans (I do love a label scan!), and a 27-page booklet with interviews and discography. Very impressive. (more…)
Continuing to cultivate both their polished digital sound and their stable of vocalists, Top Smile Records returns for its third collection of 7″ vinyl releases. It seems Switzerland is starting to become a reliable source for digital reggae, as High Smile HiFi continues to focus on quality productions rather than worrying about any hype or (mis)perceptions. These three slabs of wax present just as many riddims, although with four featured vocalists – including the increasingly resurgent Little Harry – only two of the versions are included. (more…)
Classified as digital reggae, Soom T & Monkey Marc’s collaborative Bullets Over Babylon is much more apocalyptic bass manifesto than celebratory ragga dancehall. Soom T nods to plenty yet has a voice all her own; Monkey Marc nods to plenty yet crafts beats all his own. Both partners bring swagger and style to sustain such an ambitious dystopian statement. (more…)
Cubiculo Records returns to its digital roots with a fresh 7″. Featuring South London’s Jah Screechy, back on the case once again, alongside Cubiculo’s own Dub Unit, pairing up with fellow Iberian producer KnD. (more…)
As frequent partners on sound systems and in the studio, Mungo’s Hi Fi & Charlie P‘s You See Me Star is a celebratory tour through riddims and across styles. Technically it’s the former featuring the latter, but in reality this album allows the comforts of collaboration to show, with the well-regarded Scottish crew bringing ten varied cuts to showcase the young UK vocalist. (more…)
Beam Up’s album Innerstand steps strongly through a range of modern dub while also infusing tracks with wider influences. “I Must Be Dreaming” is a prime example: at 120bpm and full of reverb, it features an unexpectedly self-deprecating and romantic R&B-tinged vocal from Terrence Alfonso Bowry, rather than the expected lyrical content.
Haunting and heartfelt, “Be Wise” finds Putus Roots singing with conviction over a subtle acoustic track. Putus, also known as Delroy Williams, is one of the sons of Count Ossie – the famed Jamaican bandleader and Nyabinghi drummer who fused African musical traditions with Rastafarian beliefs, beginning in the late 1950s up until his death in 1976. Early recordings included the Folkes Brothers’ “Oh Carolina” (produced by Prince Buster), which had a definite influence on the formation of what would become ska music, though it’s Ossie’s later group, the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, that is most well-known. (more…)