Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds - "Place In Dub" (3:39)
Chazbo - "Zion Is Home" (3:40)
Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds - "Dub In Zion" (3:38)
Review: There's much to set the pulse racing on Indica Sounds' latest ten-inch, not least a first label appearance for rising star Eva Keyes, whose previous releases on Partial Records were all nigh on essential. 'A Place Called Home' is another brilliant soul-fired digital reggae excursion from the singer, with her trademark vocal lilt sounding more haunting than ever. Indica Dubs and Conscious Sounds make the most of selected vocal snippets on their accompanying dub mix, which naturally boasts tougher production and even weighty bass. Melodica maestro Chazbo gets to chance to do his thing over the same riddim on the flip ('Zion Is Home'), before Indica Dubs and Conscious Sounds successfully turn his take into a heavy steppers style workout ('Dub in Zion').
Review: The vast vaults of Lee "Scratch" Perry seemingly know no end as this newest compilation serves up a superb collection of rare 7" singles that he recorded at his own legendary studio, The Black Ark. Plenty of mainstays featuring including the likes of Prince Jazzbo, Twin Roots, Max Romeo and Junior Byles, all of whom recorded these tunes between 1973 and 1979. Two of the rarest come from Leo Graham and James Booms. The former's "Doctor Demand" is natty indeed, with fizzing mixing desk tricks and an acrobatic vocal making it an experimental sounding dub, while the latter's "Psalms Twenty" is a deep cut riddim with earthy guitars and nice swaggering drums.
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.
Something Special (feat Vin Gordon & Alan Weekes) (3:49)
Eggs Ben Boogaloo (feat Alex White) (4:05)
Lesean (feat Ray Carless) (4:23)
The Dolphin (feat Alan Weekes & Kevin Davy) (3:56)
Afras (feat Abdul Tee-Jay) (2:49)
Review: Earlier in the year, the Inn House Crew - a reggae supergroup featuring a wealth of legendary Jamaican players - provided the musical backing on vocalist Winston Ready's excellent Black Pearl album. Here they get a chance to showcase their undisputed musical skills under the watchful eye of producer Lewis Murtagh, on watch should be considered their debut album. It's a hugely entertaining affair that sees them embellish their usual reggae rhythms and basslines with everything from glistening jazz guitar solos and squelchy synthesizer lines, to samba-style acoustic guitars, calypso melodies and Ebo Taylor style solos. As a result, the album is surprisingly stylistically varied, but always rooted in reggae, roots and dub.
Review: I Love Sound prove it again with this four track 12" of goodness. Junior Roy's "Please Tell Me" offers a digital dub down low, with fresh, bright chords over the top and some complex vocal work that is diynamic and direct yet stuffed with realness. The version from King Kong - "Time Is Changing" - is laden with more effects but still brings plenty of crisp contemporary vibes. Claire Angel then takes the same production but serve sup her own vocal, with crystal clear soul and impassioned delivery making it an even more modern sounding gem, then a subtly tweaked mellow vibes mix focusses purely on the dub.
Review: Although the titular track might have been somewhat spoiled by a certain TV advert, the rest of Gregory Isaacs' most well known album still stands up. Lazy reggae rhythms are permeated by sparkly synth work from Wally Badarou, which at the time was a brave and progressive move away from traditional reggae and toward the ensuing sound of dancehall. Isaac's own buttery, laid back musings are front and centre, crystal clear and delicate throughout, always complimented by dainty piano chords that sink you deep into a dreamworld. The production throughout is first class, too, making this a true classic.
Review: Rising Sun from 1986 was something of the start of a new chapter for Augustus Pablo. It was the point at which his Rockers Revolution was eased into he new digital age fo the times. He said himself that the music on the album "mixed up the vibes a little" and touched on a wider array of sounds than usual. There are high quality hot steppers like "Pipers of Zion" next to deep cut and heavy rolling gems like "The Day Before The Riot" while revivalist reggae sounds come to the fore on "African Frontline." Of course, ti was originally recorded at Channel One some comes with plenty of the sonic hallmarks of that legendary studio.
Review: With "Frontin & My Adidas" Taggy Matcher returns with another soul/rap/reggae mash-up. This time round it's Pharell's "Frontin" acappella dropped over a deep dub beat - all the way to Kingston. On the flip side they feature a rocksteady version of a true hip-hop/electro classic! "My Adidas" is a great reworking of the RUN DMC tune, with a dub-like rhythm to it and a really classic sound overall. Stix present these two top-notch party pieces.
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.
Ras Ranger & The Inn House Crew - "Message In The Music" (3:41)
The Inn House Crew - "The Uproar Riddim" (3:49)
Review: Roll up, roll up, because here comes a fantastic new roots steppers from The Inn House Crew. The acclaimed instrumentalists and dub connoisseurs here link up with Japanese saxophonist Megumi Mesaku, as well as MC Was Ranger. "Message In The Music" is a happy dub with neon chords and a bright, sunny disposition that is accompanied by Ranger's complex delivery. On the flip, some prog guitars are layered into "The Uproar Riddim" dub. Both tunes are classy bits of lovers rock with a nice futuristic edge that makes them all the more fresh.
Review: The vital Only Roots label turns to Nyah Hunter for a previously unreleased b-side. Now pressed up onto its own 7", complete with a dub, the song appeared for the first time in 1973 on the compilation "Pipeline". It was recorded at Federal Records Studios in the early seventies and was produced by Alvin Ranglin. It exudes all the earthy vibes you'd expect of that period, the rumbling drums, fat bass and aloof vocals. It's as sweet as chocolate and smooth as silk.
Hardcore steppers crew unite: King Alpha and Fikir Amlak come together for a big one here that features the rib-rattling "Lalibela" on the A-side. It's got steel plated drums and deadly bass, as well as plenty of swagger and brightly lit synths. The vocal toasts add further weight and a touch of exotica, while two dub versions pare things back to the core and crucial elements. "Addis Ababa" is a more freaky cut with modern effects and twisted synths adding elements of industrialism. Two more dubs take the tune in more summery, airy directions, and both are utterly essential.
Review: Get yourself onto a higher plane with this classic slice of higher regions roots from 1978. Walyn Rickets is now known as Pacey and back in 1978 when he lay this one down was a man in fine form. "Jah Is My Light" is a joyous ode to Jah, creation and the motherland with sunshine keys and rickety drums that are loose, organic, authentic. The version pulls things apart even more and reconstructs a wobbly dub that will rattle your joints loose. Timeless and warm, these two heaters are perfect material for the high summer.