I’ve recently spent some time listening to The Courtney John Project’s hard-hitting debut album Future. And if someone told me that this album was the work of smooth falsetto singer Courtney John and lovers rock giant Beres Hammond’s daughter The Wizard, I’d tell him or her to get the hell out of here. But this dubstep-flavored album is made by these two masterminds together with Grammy Award winning instrumentalist Steven “Lenky” Marsden, the one responsible for the ground-breaking Diwali riddim a few years back.
This hypnotic album showcases what the members describe as a brand new genre called rootstronic. It’s a little bit of everything with pounding drums and heavy bass lines – dub, roots, electronica, grime and hip-hop.
Future sounds like it has been produced and recorded in an abandoned industrial building in central Kingston. The beats are grim and intense with bodybuilders beating the drums and hitting the bass with sheer power. It’s the evil and lost soundtrack to movies such as The Matrix and Blade Runner. It is the future.
The ethereal voices of Courtney John and The Wizard echo between the thick walls of sound. Their version of Errol Dunkley’s Black Cinderella is a stroke of genius and so are the two cuts that use the haunting organ from the immortal Truths and Rights riddim and the schizophrenic Very Special with its bombastic tom-tom drums taken from the battlefields in Lord of the Rings.
Think that there isn’t any experimental and innovative music coming from Jamaica anymore? That all music from Jamaica is about chanting down Babylon or showing off a brand new Benz or Beamer? Think again. When you’ve listened to Future you’ll feel like you’ve been run over by a train.
To be honest, it wasn’t instant love for me. But then again, the future is usually intimidating. You need to get acclimatized and then you’ll learn to understand its beauty and truly appreciate it.