Review: The Montpellier-based crew behind new roots reggae label Samuel have a slightly different take on the sound than some of their contemporaries, with some of the tracks on this fine, compilation style debut EP drawing inspiration from other musical styles. So while Benjamin's vocal opener "Give Thanks" is a deliciously chunky slab of soulful reggae rich in hazy organs and dub style bass, Armel Courree, Pascal Bouvier and Corentin Lehembre's "Ethio Roots Theme" brilliant combines dub-wise reggae rhythms with duelling horn solos more akin to Ethio-jazz. The crew's global influences come the fore on the flip, where Lone Ark dubs out "Give Thanks" - with some subtle nods towards Turkish psych-funk, and Hoarang turns "Ethio Roots Theme" into a Binghi percussion workout with added hazy horns.
Review: Al Campbell and Trinity's "Respect" is now available on 12" for the first time thanks Greensleeves. Campbell provides the vocal work, which is aloof and detached on "respect", with dreamy trumpets somewhere off in the distance as the rhythm section rolls on with real warmth. Trinity's production is fully on point throughout. The flip is more direct, with heavier beats and more reverb underlining the crisp Al Campbell, and it also features an exclusive dub mix of the same tune that is scorching hot and carries serious weight.
Ode To Joy (Babylon Can't Control I) (Ojah remix) (5:02)
Ode To Joy (Babylon Can't Control I) (Ojah remix dub) (5:02)
Ode To Joy (Babylon Can't Control I) (Ruv Bytes mix) (5:02)
Ode To Joy (instrumental - Ojah mix) (5:01)
Review: Alchemy Dubs hits fantastic number five with new versions of this real reggae anthem. "Ode To Joy (Babylon Can't Control I)" by Cornell Campbell and Soothsayers first appeared on "Nothing Can Stop Us" back in 2013 on Strut and now gets remixed and re-dubbed by Ojah and Ruv Bytes. Breezy, sweet rolling grooves with jangling pianos and warm hearted vocal deliveries are all tethered to planet earth by some brilliantly fat bass.
Review: Four years ago Ethio-jazz elder Mulato Astatke came good on a promise he made way back in 2009 and joined forces with Australian collective Black Jesus experience to record a collaborative album. That album, "Cradle of Humanity", did a good job in fusing traditional Ethiopian songs and musical sounds with heady dancefloor grooves rooted in soul, funk and jazz. "To Know Without Knowing" takes a similar approach, balancing certified dancefloor workouts (see the fiery Ethio-funk-meets-Latin jazz flex of "Mascaram Setaba", bustling "Kulun Mankwaleshi" and breezy soul-jazz number "To Know Without Knowing") with deeper, more downtempo excursions that are every bit as alluring.
Ric Carbi & Dohlance - "Smoking The Highest" (3:44)
Salute - "Smoking Riddim" (4:21)
Review: This is a classic riddim from the hard working folk at Room In The Sky with a new vocal on top, available for the first time on vinyl. Produced by Lewis M, lead tune 'Smoking The Highest' teases and toys with you until it eventually drops into a big, happy, horn lead groove. The vocals are clean and crisp on top, paying love and respect to the smoke as the drums wiggle and horns continue to reach for the skies. Salute takes care of the remix on the flip and ups the ante, with fat bottomed bass and a more noodling lead all vying for your attention.
Review: Another carefully considered reissue from Wackie's tackles two of Kingston born John Clarke's tracks from 1978. They first landed on the Jumbo Caribbean Disco label (which was actually based in Brooklyn) and here are just some of the tens of gems he recorded for the imprint. Both tracks are super hazy dubs with the clipped rhythms of "Big Leg Mary" and burrowing lead coming on heavy, while "Wasn't It You" is a smooth and deadly jam. This one has been known to fetch upwards of 100 quid on second hand markets, so move fast to secure yourself a sure fire winner.
Review: Mister Tipsy's next dub diamond is an old treasure from Johnny Clarke, who put out "You I Love" in 1986 at the height of the roots and reggae and dub crossover. The rhythm is by Tyrone Evans from his tune "How Sweet It Is" and here gets repacked with fresh words from Clarke. It's a breezy, romantic tune with claps you soon went on to hear in early house music. The flip is a super deep cut jam, with cavernous and pillow bass and endless echo to die for. Add in the loopy lead which melts to nothing over and over again and you have a real classic.
Review: Jamaican label Mister Tipsy have dug out two previously unreleased gems from Culture, the roots reggae group founded in 1976. They were recorded in the mid eighties with JA producer Blackbeard and roll nice and deep. "Wah Fi We" has pixelated chords that take you straight back to the era over meandering bass and drums. Acoustic guitar riffs and ticking hi hats all flesh out the groove, while the flip side is a rough version that sounds even more lived in and frayed and authentic.