I’ve been waiting for this 12″ to drop since first seeing clips of Dougie Wardrop in the studio, as it brings together Foundation Sound, Wardrop (Conscious Sounds) and vocalist Dark Angel, each of whom in their own right rate highly in the UK scene.
Foundation Sound, founded by Tony Roots, are Ed Foundation (sound system operator / selector / record label manager), Papa Barn (sound system operator / selector), King Sammy (producer), Tony Roots (singer / percussionist), Jimmy Ranks (singjay / MC), Darien Prophecy (singer), and Guvnor (tech crew), plus nuff extended family, including all the singers on the label, guest selectors, producers and mix engineers. They are based out of Norwich, and the sound has been running for over twenty years. More recently the record label associated with the sound has begun releasing tunes.
The 2009 release, ‘Spreading Jah Love’ on the ‘Priceless’ EP, impressed me. This year they have continued with the recently released ‘Happens Everyday’ 10″ (Reality Souljahs), and this, their first 12″ release, Dark Anglel’s ‘Lay Down my Burdens’.
Dougie Wardrop needs little introduction, he has been mixing and producing heavyweight sounds since the early 90s. I often recommend the Conscious Sounds Singles Collections or his album with King General, ‘Broke Again’, as a good start when people ask about ‘UK Steppers/Roots’. And when Shaka runs someone’s debut release it should be obvious they have got some skills.
I think Dark Angel is an exciting UK vocalist. His previous releases such as ‘Free Da Minds’ or ‘People Come To’ were excellent, he is versatile, and is also great at delivering conscious lyrics over heavy riddims. After seeing him perform live at a Roots Garden Showcase last year in Brighton, I thought he and Bob Skeng were the standout vocalists of the night by a long way.
‘Lay Down My Burdens’ is a cut of Ini Kamoze’s classic ‘Trouble You Trouble Me’. Produced by King Sammy with Dougie Conscious on mixing duties, the riddim has been updated nicely, staying true to the original, but putting a personal stamp on it, producing a heavy digital version with a distinctive clap. Dark Angel continues his good form, and supposedly the vocals have been around for a while but have only now been used. If Foundation Sound are sitting on other material like this it bodes well for strong future releases.
On the 12″ you get the vocal and a dub, and on the flip an additional two remixes. In terms of the additional remixes I’m not generally a big dubstep fan, but I really like TMSV’s remix, the slow brooding b-line is a worthy and welcome addition to the 12″.