A Chilean transplant to New Zealand, Jah Red Lion – flexing irie mic skills in both English and Spanish – makes a timely musical statement on his EP Lion Heart, with bass-heavy productions (and a pair of quality dubs) coming from fellow Kiwis Dub Terminator, High Stakes, and Reality Chant.
Claiming most of the productions, Dub Terminator handles the first few tracks, beginning with the booming hip hop-influenced “Never Leave Me Alone.” Featuring a catchy English chorus and fast-paced verses en Español, Jah Red Lion is clearly confident telling his story in his languages. (more…)
Born in Russia and raised in London, DJ Vadim rose to fame in the mid-90s with his smooth debut ‘Headz Ain’t Ready’ on his own ‘Jazz Fudge’ label. Straight out of the MPC era of hip-hop production, ‘Headz’ had a break-beat/ hip-hop feel which remains as the cornerstone of Vadim’s sound, but his later releases began to feature a fusion of dub, synth, and ethnic influences. His album, ‘USSR: Life From The Other Side’, established him in the American and European market, and his work as DJ for the hip-hop group ‘One Self’ continued to expose him to a wider audience. (more…)
The 7″ debut x2 from Top Smile Records, run by High Smile Hifi, is all about pairing strictly-digital riddims with engaging vocal turns. The clean production is consistent with prior tracks and dubplates from the Swiss trio, whose past collaborations include tunes with Daddy Freddy, General Levy, Ranking Joe, and – for their first (digital-only) release “Another Drive-By Shooting” – Sammy Gold. (more…)
12″ Maxi Single
Early Days Records
Lovers of early digital roots will be well chuffed with the third installment by Early Days Records. This Parisian label run by Mistah P saw its premiere releases last year, with a pair of popular hits packed on a red 12″ by veteran Michael Palmer. This was quickly followed by the second 12″, with lyrical maestro, Trevor Junior’s brilliant ‘Music is Magic’. (more…)
The third compilation LP from this well-known Glaswegian outfit has landed in-stores, and quickly begun to run on sounds all over the UK. And there are plenty of reasons why.
The album opens in true YT style, with a worldly appraisal letting us know we are living in a ‘Serious Time’, over the top of a fresh Mungo’s relick of a classic Studio One riddim. Similarly, Warrior Queen delivers a stellar message on another Studio One reworking, this time Coxsone Dodd’s ‘Run Run’ riddim. Normally found chatting over much darker, bass-heavy tracks, Warrior Queen’s ‘Can’t Stand It’ is one of a handful of standout tunes on this packed LP. It is sure to mash up dancefloors, as I’ve seen it do twice already. (more…)
‘Fyah Level’ fully showcases the combined might of Dub Terminator and Ras Stone, on a journey into New Zealand’s bass and dub scene that has taken several years to come to full fruition.
Featuring Bandulu Dub, opener ‘Babylon Your Days Are Numbered’ mixes a skanking synth with tight bass, while the vocals clearly condemn society’s ills. It is quickly evident: Ras Stone sings best with a purpose, while Dub Terminator shines when the low-end leads and a slight haze creeps in amidst the polished dub effects. (more…)
Reality Chant have scored again! Following the success of their recent riddim ‘You’ve Been Bad’, this local production crew are back with another hot roots riddim to warm the winter months.
‘Fire I Blaze’ was originally produced by Gabriel ‘Messenjah’ Calcott and Paul ‘Nava’ Bimler for Christchurch reggae sound system, Dubwize. This smooth club-friendly riddim was then re-polished, and in 2012, two 7” vinyl cuts (featuring Deadly Hunta, Louie Culture, Hi Kee and version) came out through Reality Chant and Tru Sound Records. It has now been given a fresh, digital release, and features a full set of artists. (more…)
Top Shotta Band are a 10-piece instrumental Rockers & Dub group based in Brooklyn, New York. Drawing their sound from vintage Jamaican reggae bands such as The Upsetters, The Aggrovators and The Revolutionaires, the band brings a slick and authentic sounding roots reggae vibe which is heavy on the bass, horns and percussion.
The band is led by trumpeter/producer djMush1 (formerly of the seminal NY bands Slackers & Murphy’s Law and currently of Tunnel One Radio [WNYU 89.1fm NYC], Al Paragus HQ Studios/When Dance Was Nice, and Hungry March Band) who lends his spicy jazz-like horn techniques to most tracks on the LP. All up, the band is comprised of a 4-piece horn section, organ, guitar, percussion, drums, bass and vocals which gives them everything they need to create some high quality reggae music. (more…)
(image courtesy of Jamaica Observer)
Dancehall pioneer Wayne Smith passed away recently at age 48. Smith was admitted to Kingston Public Hospital complaining of stomach pains and despite his health briefly improving, he died shortly after noon on Monday 17 February 2014.
While he sang many great tunes, Smith is best known for his role in producing the infamous ‘Sleng Teng’ riddim, a tune which changed the face of reggae practically overnight. Smith and friend Noel Davey built the riddim using a preset function on a simple Casio MT40 keyboard. With the help of Smith’s producer, King Jammy, the first digital dancehall riddim, the ‘Sleng Teng’ was born. (more…)