Easter holiday

Reggaemani will be quite for about a week. A well-deserved holiday is starting today. Reggaemani will be back on track on April 25.

In the meantime, feel free to browse the 967 articles, including interviews, reviews and news.

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The soothing sound of Pressure

The SoundMulti-facetted Virgin Islands born singer and singjay Pressure is back with a new album following Coming Back for You, produced by Dean Pond and released in 2009.

On The Sound he has teamed up with the mighty Zion I Kings, a trio of producers including Tippy I, who also hails from the Virgin Islands.

The Sound is Pressure’s fourth album and is his best to date. It includes the usual sweet arrangements and backing provided by Zion I Kings, but a few of the cuts are dark and edgy, for example Herbsman Town, Serious About It and Who You Are, a track that also offers a taste of wobbling dubstep.

The Sound is a family affair and a host of Pressure’s fellow countrymen flex their skills on a number of songs. Ras Batch and NiyoRah show up on Cry for Humanity and Volcano shares vocal duties with Pressure on Herbsman Town. And no other than Midnite’s lead singer Vaughn Benjamin can be heard on Nothing No Wrong.

A majority of the album was also recorded in St. Croix, for example the uplifting Virgin Islands Nice, a cut that is now an official tourist board anthem. Maybe no surprise when listening to the chorus – “so nice, so nice, sweet, sweet St. Thomas nice, so nice, so nice, St. Croix full of pure vibes, so nice, so nice, St. John a real paradise, so nice, so nice.”

The Sound exemplifies the strong roots and culture scene active in the Virgin Islands and even though Pressure delivered a strong set together with Don Corleon in 2007, The Sound outshines his previous material and will hopefully strengthen his fan base.

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First single off Ras Mc Bean’s new album

One of the best album releases in 2004 was Ras Mc Bean’s Pack Up and Leave, produced by the very reliable Irie Ites from France.

During the past ten years the versatile Ras Mc Bean has regularly been dropping singles for a variety of producers, including Dub Akom and 149 Records. And finally he has a new album ready to drop and its first single Inlightment – produced by Fireman Crew – is already available on Youtube.

The album has no title yet, but is scheduled for release in June.

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U Black carries the swing

u-black-westbound-thing-a-swing-third-world-buyreggae-lp-26890-pGermany’s Buyreggae has recently re-released another essential piece of reggae history. U Black’s Westbound Thing a Swing is a slice of mid 70s roots produced by Prince Jammy and mixed at King Tubby’s, and it collects deejay versions to Black Uhuru’s stellar debut album Love Crisis and The Travellers’ Black Black Minds.

The set was originally issued in 1977 on Third World and is pretty rare these days, even though I saw the original in a record store about a month ago. That copy went for about $65.

U Black definitely carried the swing back in the days. His style is similar to more well-known deejays such as Dillinger and U Brown and he rides the dubby and skanking riddims with ease and grace.

There are several strong cuts on this set. Honourable mentions goes out to King of All Time, a cut of Black Uhuru’s excellent I Love King Selassie, and Ride Into Zion, a wicked version of Black Uhuru’s African Love.

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Tiken Jah Fakoly’s last call

disc-3155-tiken-jah-fakoly-dernier-appelThe outspoken and controversial Tiken Jah Fakoly is on June 2 back with a new album titled Dernier appel, in English Last Call. He was born in Côte d’Ivoire and has been the victim of censorship, persecution and exile thanks to his confrontational style forthright lyrics.

The main theme on Dernier appel is whether Africa as a continent will take off and increase growth or if the countries will be characterized by misery, chaos and war, as shown by the recent conflicts in Mali and South Sudan.

Dernier appel offers ballads, roots reggae and Curtis Mayfield styled soul. It was recored in Bamako and Paris with production helmed by Jonathan Quarmby, who has previously worked with Tiken Jah Fakoly, but also Ziggy Marley, Finley Quaye and rock band Del Amitri. Guest artists include Patrice and Alpha Blondy.

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Dark and experimental from Moonshine Recordings

If UK dubwise roots and steppers are your thing you ought to check out Moonshine Recordings’ new 15 track compilation Steppin’ Forward. It’s a melting pot of most genres with a love for ridiculous loud bass and pounding drums.

It collects only heavy as lead and unreleased material from a number of exciting upcoming producers as well as experienced veterans, such as Zion Train, Kalbata, Hylu & Jago and RSD.

When listening through the 15 tracks you are sure to get overwhelmed by the versatility and the ability and will to experiment and take the music forward into new dimensions and create new and dramatic soundscapes.

The set is mostly instrumental, even though Ranking Joe, Wayne Jarrett, Cian Finn, Sleepy Ghost, Jazzmin Tatum and Kinetical drop verses and choruses on six cuts.

Moonshine Recordings has put out a tough compilation where Vibration Lab’s dreamy and ethereal Buy You Gold neighbours with 6Blocc’s driving Sweet Dub, a track sounding almost like a version of Ranking Dread’s Fattie Boom Boom, and where Kalbata’s experimental Man God shares bed with Tuff, Powa & Kinetic’s deejay explosion Outlaw Music.

A compilation for those who like their dubwise reggae served with a high dose of epic bass and slices of innovative and futuristic arrangements.

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Hollie Cook returns with Twice in May

Acclaimed UK singer Hollie Cook drops her second album Twice on June 10, it’s the follow-up to her widely celebrated debut album released in 2011. Her debut album was in 2012 followed by its dub counterpart where ingenious producer and mixing engineer Prince Fatty twisted and turned the knobs.

On Twice Prince Fatty and Hollie Cook team up once again. And together they create reggae with  grand strings arrangements, Brazilian percussion, dark disco and pop a ’la German/Italian super producer Giorgio Moroder. The pair has also invited Dennis Bovell, Omar, George Dekker and Winston Francis.

The album will be available in various formats including LP, a collection of 7” singles, cassette, USB stick and a number of special additions.

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A potent potion from Luciano and Mad Professor

luciano-deliveranceIt’s no secret that Jamaican vocalist Luciano is heavily inspired by the late and great Dennis Brown. And on Luciano’s new album Deliverance he sounds almost like a reincarnation of the Crown Prince of Reggae. The similarities are especially clear on the two Dennis Brown covers – Deliverance aka Deliverance Will Come and Three Meals a Day. Both excellent, just as the remaining 13 tracks on this Mad Professor produced album.

Deliverance is a showcase set where Luciano mixes lovers and culture material, just as Dennis Brown did with great success. The vocal cuts are followed by its dub counterpart, and the mixing is sublime. Not much effects or sonic wizardry. Just the bare riddims with vocal snippets and instrumental parts dropping in and out.

This is a highly consistent album with way more than two handfuls of highlights, but standout tracks include a stellar and clever nyabinghi-driven version of the mighty Stalag riddim and the roaring Show a Sign with its driving percussion.

Luciano has over the past 20 years or so been one of the most prolific Jamaican artists. He usually drops at least one album a year, and he has now been on something of a creative high for four consecutive years and he shows no sign of slowing down.

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Five reggae superstars in a box

Dennis Brown  & Superstar Friends - Reggae Legends - artworkDennis Brown was on top of his game in the mid to late 70s and he put out more than a handful of excellent albums, including Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours, Words of Wisdom and Visions of Dennis Brown.

But this esteemed singer also dropped great material in the 80s and 90s, as shown on the brand new four disc box set Dennis Brown & Superstar Friends. It collects four original combination albums released between 1984 and 1993 – Judge Not and No Contest with Gregory Isaacs, Legit with Freddie McGregor and Cocoa Tea and Hotter Flames with Frankie Paul.

Augustus “Gussie” Clarke was responsible for production on Judge Not, No Contest and Legit. These collect solo and duo tracks as well as several discomixes, discomixes that showcase the crisp and sharp hi-tech riddims that became Gussie Clarke’s trademark.

Hotter Flames – produced by Patrick Roberts and Andre Tyrell aka Shocking Vibes – is rawer and more rugged compared to Gussie Clarke’s slick, yet with an edge, style.

Included is no less than 38 tracks, and highlights include the massive Gregory Isaacs combination Let off the Supm, To the Foundation, No Camouflage, Big All Around, Bone Lies and a nice take of Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic.

This set is a proper showdown where the Crown Prince of Reggae teams up with four of his superstar friends to make music for your ears and listening pleasure.

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Gregory Isaacs’ in a late 80s style

Gregory Isaacs - Reggae Legends vol.2 - artworkThe late Gregory Isaacs is one of Jamaica’s most beloved singers, equally at home with both lovers and cultural material, even though his silky side is most well-known.

Over the years his material has been compiled over and over, and now it’s time again. But this new compilation is a bit different since it’s a box set that compiles four original albums with their original sleeves.

Two of the albums – Private Beach Party and Red Rose for Gregory – were smashes at the time of release, and collects game-changers such as Rumours and Mind Yu Dis. The two others – I.O.U and Victim – were also successful, especially I.O.U and the single Report to Me.

Three of the discs were produced by Augustus “Gussie” Clarke and singles such as the epochal Rumours and the smooth Let Off the Supm helped to revitalize their respective career. Hugh “Redman” James and Roots Radics were responsible for the underrated Victim, an effort that includes massive cuts like Rosie, Mr. Music Man and the title track.

Together these four albums give an extensive overview of Gregory Isaacs’ career in the late 80s and many of the tracks became stables in the Cool Ruler’s live set at the end of the decade.

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