Scotland’s own Mungo’s Hi Fi have remixed five Major Lazer tunes. They have re-shaped them, re-structured them, re-built them and now released them for free over at Soundcloud.
The results are smashing, intoxicating and very enjoyable. Just listen to the ska version of Busy Signal’s energetic Watch Out For This (Bumaye), the digi-reggae version of Get Free, featuring Amber from U.S. rockers Dirty Projectors, or the rocksteady-tinged Smooth Sailing with Mr. Williamz carrying the swing.
Wouter Rosseel – guitarist in Lee Perry-influenced Belgian reggae band Pura Vida – has another project, a project with hardly any Lee Perry influences. The members of Jamaican Jazz Orchestra are instead worshipping The Skatalites and the early sounds of Jamaica led by Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook and others.
And this ten piece band has recently dropped a self-titled six track EP free for download over at Soundcloud.
When listening to it my foot starts tapping and my head starts nodding reflexively. They have a tasteful mix of reggae and ska rhythms spiced with a jazzy brass section and a groove-oriented organ player.
It’s loose, funky and fun and well-worth checking out, even though I could have made it without the rapping on G13.
Never Stray is one of the strongest cuts on Jah Sun’s excllent album Rise as One. It’s a combination with Gappy Ranks, and it was great news when I found out that the label behind the production – Italy’s Bizzarri Records – had put out a one riddim album based on that particular riddim.
Natural Thing riddim follows the label’s Laba Laba riddim and comes with ten cuts and two versions, one reggae and one dancehall. Apart from Jah Sun and Gappy Ranks, the riddim features four Italian artists – Raina, Lion D, Miss Linda and Brusco.
Ths riddim is pure niceness and is currently only available via Reggaerecord, but hits other digital platforms on January 19, 2014. Between December 19 and January you can get the dancehall version of Sun’s & Gappy’s Never Stray for free via Reggaerecord.
The UK city of Bristol is probably best known for groundbreaking trippy 90’s bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead. But the reggae scene has also been vital for many years, as shown by the many excellent albums and compilations coming from Bristol Archive Records.
One of the more recent additions on the Bristol reggae scene is Mr Benn, who on his debut album Shake A Leg takes an old school meets new school approach.
The album is an eclectic smorgasbord set with Aswad, The Specials and King Tubby along with various ingredients coming from 90s hip-hop and boom rap, soca, jungle, dancehall, dubstep and bashement.
This vast list of musical influences and guest artists, ranging from UK heavyweighters like Top Cat and Tenor Fly and to newcomers like Eva Lazarus and Nanci Correia, creates a cheerful jump-up vibe directly aimed at setting dance floors worldwide on fire.
And it’s hard to sit still when you play this entertaining album. Your head starts to nod, your feet beings to stomp and suddenly you feel an urge to dim lights, call all your friends and turn up the bass, even if it’s just a boring Thursday afternoon. Then just do it.
And don’ forget to check out the out the free download of a wicked combination with gruff voiced deejay Blackout JA, not included on the album.
Canadian producer Dubmatix offers free download of his debut album Champion Sound Clash for a limited period of time.
Champion Sound Clash was released in 2004 and is a modern dub album with a variety of styles and tempos. It spans from the rootsy Blade & Chalice and the hip-hop-tinged 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Dub to the Hotel Costes styled El Diablo Dub or the Bossa Nova influenced Island Sun with its memorable guitar and flute hook.
If you don’t already have this album you should definitely head over to Dubmatix Souncloud spot and check it out. The free download offer ends at August 6th.
Jahdan Blakkmoore – one of Brooklyn’s finest reggae singers – dropped his sophomore album Babylon Nightmare in December last year, to wide critical acclaim. The album included the sweet single All Comes Back to One.
Now production crews Lustre Kings and LionDub International are releasing a remix EP of All Comes Back to One, which includes versions with influences from dubstep, drum & bass, one drop and nu-soul. The remix duties are handled by Nate Mars, Potential Badboy, LionDub, Nick Fantastic and Ticklah. The funky and soulful version BoBos Remix is available as free download. Check it here.
If that wasn’t enough, DJ Theory has just put out the refreshing Quick Money for free download, a tune full of reggae, hip-hop and soul. It uses a sample from Amadou & Mariam’sSabali – also used by Nas & Damian Marley for the mellow Patience – and comes with a lethal soca version courtesy of So Shifty. Check both tunes here.
Swedish super talent Million Stylez has recently dropped two tunes in a ganja style. In October he released Move From On Ya, a heavy version of Peter Broggs’ classic International Farmer, produced by French label FuryBass.
Now Million Stylez drops a new ganja tune called Dutches, a reworking of RnB singer Chris Brown’s mega hit Deuces. Million Stylez relick is quite close to the original version (different lyrics though) and you can also hear him in a rap mode on this one.
Mixes are such a great way of finding new music. Just let someone else do the hard work of finding the best tunes and then you buy them for yourself.
This year has presented lots of great mixes – ranging from old school reggae and dancehall to lovers rock and contemporary one drop.
A trusted source for many years have been BMC. This year he didn’t produce as many mixes as usual, but one did really make an impression on me and made me reevaluate Tarrus Riley.
There has also been some nice mashups and reggae remixes mixtapes. Max Tannone produced Talib Kweli and Mos Def in a reggae style. Both are wicked efforts. But my favorite this year was Yankees A Yard vol. 3 from French production duo Bost & Bim.
Below are my three favorite mixes this year. I’ve played these many, many times and strongly recommend you to download number three and two and buy the number one.
3. BMC – Tarrus Riley & Friends
I’ve always liked Riley junior. But at the same time I’ve thought that he’s a little too soft. This mix changed my view completely.