German reggae singer Jahcoustix spent his childhood in several different countries in many parts of the world – Mexico, Liberia, the U.S., Kenya, Germany and Egypt. And just like when he was growing up his previous albums have wandered in several different directions, while his latest effort Frequency is a cohesive set following Bob Marley’s roots reggae recipe.
Frequency is Jahcoustix sixth studio album and recorded with a different approach since it’s his first without his band. Instead he worked with Austrian label and producers Irievibrations Records along with a few other producers.
The idea was to get a more diverse sound, but I’d say it’s the opposite. Frequency is straight forward roots reggae with clean grooves, deep bass lines, pumping organ, kicking drums, sweet vocal harmonizing, conscious lyrics, breezy horns and memorable hooks and melodies.
Over the 17 tracks, of which one is a dub version of the excellent Apple Gabriel combination Controller and two are bonus cuts, he doesn’t stray into straight pop, balladeering, dancehall, dance music or hip-hop. Frequency is uplifting and uncompromising roots reggae. Just like it should be.
Available now on CD and digital platforms.
Earlier this year the fruitful relationship between label JahSolidRock and production crew Not Easy At All gave us the acclaimed Judgment Time by Chezidek.
Now they’re at it once again. And this time they’ve laid their hands on veteran Apple Gabriel from legendary trio Israel Vibration, probably best known for their dread 78’ debut The Same Song.
Teach Them Right is Apple Gabriel’s follow-up to his solo debut Another Moses released in 1999. During the past eleven years Apple Gabriel has been living a tough life in the streets of Atlanta, USA.
His struggling is reflected in both the music and the lyrics on Teach Them Right – “To all those homeless people, I know your cry” he sings in the album opener Mr. Conman, a great introduction to this phenomenal and occasionally autobiographical album.
Teach Them Right is produced according to the 12” principle. This is a great Jamaican tradition that offers the listener a dub version to the original tune and makes the music experience very enjoyable.
The arrangements are bluesy and jazzy without ever losing their reggae roots. Apple Gabriel sounds like he did back in the 70’s – hissing, nasal and with a clear vibrato. Sometimes it sounds like his is whispering rather than singing and his delicate voice may seem a bit shaky at times. But that’s all part of his narrative. Don’t be fooled, Apple Gabriel’s voice is very distinct and may take some time to appreciate. But when you come to understand it, you will love it.
In Gifted Ones he pays tribute to great soul singers and plays effectively with melodies to a wicked jazzy backdrop with some major percussion work. In Give Them Love, Apple Gabriel gets political and corrects fellow rasta singers that show intolerance. This tune is based on Chezidek’s Live and Learn, the best tune on his Judgment Time album.
Teach Them Right is quality roots reggae produced in a very careful way. It’s vintage without sounding outdated or dull. And Apple Gabriel’s devotional singing stands in bright opposition to all the auto-tuned crap released these days.
The album is released in Europe and the U.S. on the Heartbeat label on November 15th. Hopefully their wide distribution will give this release the recognition it needs.