Big up NiceUp whanau for the opportunity to pick my Crucial Selection. It’s a tough call to select just one but I’m finally committing to Zen Bow – Impressions. “An obscure singer, whose entire recording career consists of three songs, on a never-heard-of-it-label straight outta Connecticut” (Seb Carayol, Reel Heavy).

This tune was one of the few that hooked me into the 80s-digi era. This later developed into an obsession along with an unaffordable and elusive wish list of records. Sigh.

Originally pressed on his own label Gramps Productions, this ’86 killer got repressed in 2012, thanks to an eager journalist from France. The journalist was Seb Carayol hunting for Zen Bow in the flesh. And not only did he find him, he was given permission to repress the tune by Zen Bow aka Zenbar Barrett himself and was hooked up with the original tapes, his personal copies of the 12″ and an in-depth interview.

Because of this, I own a repressed copy of this once rare and well sought after tune that is being sold for hundreds over the Internet. Also bonus on having a remixed dub on the B-side that is exclusive to the repress only. So I give thanks and count my lucky stars I can cross this one off my wish list.

The tune itself boasts huge 80s digi vibes entering with a simmons-drum roll, filled with quirky synths and Zen Bow laying down conscious lyrics, “sounding like a hybrid of Patrick Andy and a gimmick-less Eek-A-Mouse for the singjay side of his delivery”. The upbeat tempo gets the dancefloor going, is packed for all gigs and always on high rotation.

The front cover artwork pays homage to the condition and original box the master-tape arrived in, while the back cover gives you the story of Zenbar, the tune and the journey of its repress. Inspired by a gun incident that occurred in his hometown in Connecticut US, Impressions was recorded “commenting the bad image Jamaican Immigrants involuntarily earned” (Seb Carayol).

It’s a force to be reckoned with – you either love it or hate it. I love the unusual fun quirks all over it, the style and consciousness Zen Bow executes, as well as an upbeat tempo to step to.

Pull it up!

More info:
Interview with Zen Bow on Reel Heavy Music