French label and production house 149 Records deserves wide attention. Their riddims Datta, Speaker and Brighter Day have all left me stunned.
The label’s first compilation titled #1 compiles 20, of which twelve are previously unreleased, modern roots scorchers from both well-known and upcoming singers and deejays. The melodic one drop riddims are skillfully executed by the Babyclone Band.
Apart from the three riddims mentioned above five others are also included. All of the same high quality.
It’s rare to find a compilation where almost every track is a winner, but this is actually the case with this album.
Trinibagoan singer and deejay Queen Omega impresses as usual. Same goes for Ras Mac Bean, Juleen, Mark Wonder and Carl Meeks with his particularly delicious Jah is Alive on the Speaker riddim.
The only disappointment is French singer Ti Rat with his Never Let Us Down. Not a bad tune at all, but it should have been sung in his native language instead of English.
#1 is a fitting title on this compilation, and I hope more people discover this small French label making big music.
Available on CD from the label and out on digital download in late March.
Digitaldubs fourth album opens with nyabinghi flavored digital drums and a slow and heavy bass line. After almost a minute a melancholic melodica kicks in. The mood is wet, warm and thick. It almost feels like I’m walking through a moist jungle.
That’s the atmosphere when Brazil meets Jamaica in a studio that could have been Lee Perry’s Black Ark.
On #1 Digitaldubs have invited renowned reggae legends Ranking Joe, Earl Sixteen and Brinsley Forde as well as local Brazilian artists Dada Yute, Jeru Banto and Tiano Bless. These are artists sing intense and earnest about justice, love and spirituality in English and Portugese.
That’s the same recipe as on some of their one riddim albums. On Diáspora riddim, for example, they voiced Lone Ranger and Sylvia Tella alongside Ras Bernardo and others.
On top of the vocal cuts there are of course also heavy roots and steppers instrumentals where the dub effects are very much present. Dub Echoes Theme with its hypnotic bass line and flyers style cymbals is a great example.
Digitaldubs has on #1 created a rich album with crisp production, but without sounding polished.
I’m thankful to ROIR for picking up this release from its Brazilian obscurity. If you like Zion Train and Dubkasm this album is a must-have.
#1 is available as CD, LP and digital download.