Tag Archives: Capleton

Bryan Art repackages debut album

bryanart-album2013Jamaican singer and musician Bryan Art’s new self-titled album is an odd one since eleven of its 13 tracks are lifted directly from his excellent debut album 20ten, released three years ago.

The new album is put out on a different label and only includes two new tracks – the hip-hop flavored Capleton combination Dem Fass and the haunting Warrior King duet New Day. Both are however also previously available, Dem Fass as a single and New Day on the Reggaeville riddim compilation.

This repackaging is a dirty and sneaky way of getting exposure of already available material and it would have been better if the label and its marketers would have been upfront with this. Luckily enough the set is solid, since the cocktail of refurbished vintage riddims and original material is first-rate. So is Bryan Art’s soulful and husky voice.

He’s also a prolific songwriter and has penned for acclaimed artists such as Luciano and Etana. He’s also an accomplished guitarist, member of the Firehouse Crew and leader of Bushman’s backing band the Grass Roots Band. In other words – he knows what he’s doing.

However, some of the strongest songs are left out this time, and the weakest one by far – the flat house influenced No Malice – is annoyingly still around.

The best way to learn more about Bryan Art’s tasteful sounds is to get the debut album and the two singles. That’s all you need for now.

Bryan Art is now available on CD and digital download.

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Strong line-up on Special Delivery’s anniversary compilation

About a year ago I wrote a piece on the vibrating French reggae scene. One of the interviewees was Pierre Bost, producer and co-founder of Special Delivery Music, a label that last year celebrated its tenth anniversary.

As a celebration Special Delivery now drops the 14 track compilation The 1st Decade 2001-2011.The compilation highlights some the most popular tracks recorded over the past ten years in Jamaica, the UK and France.

The compilation takes off in fine style with Morgan Heritage’s acoustic version of Have no Fear recorded in 2006 in Kingston and ends with upcoming super talent ChronixxBeat & A Mic and an exclusive track from Gappy Ranks recorded last year in London.  All three tracks were produced and mixed by Bost & Bim, a duo responsible for nine cuts on the album.

Michael Rose was the first international artist to be put out on the label, and his Never Take it for Granted, recorded in 2002, is naturally included. Backing vocals on this song is provided by Trinibagoan singer and deejay Queen Omega. She also shares microphone duties with the incarcerated Buju Banton on Perfection.

The impressive line-up on the album also includes Sizzla’s Good over Evil, voiced on joyous version of the Itals’ classic Ina Dis Ya Time, the haunting Dem Doom by Capleton and J Boog’s So Far Gone, a tune released in 2010 but still remains in the top 200 on the U.S. iTunes chart and has become one of his biggest songs.

Special Delivery – the 1st Decade 2001-2011 drops as digital download on September 21 and includes no dull moments and perfectly showcases why many Jamaican artists look to Europe for well-produced and melodic one drop and dancehall riddims.

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I want to be yelled at

Do you remember how it felt when your parents shouted at you when you were a kid? You broke a vase or wanted to stay up way too late and they raised their voice and maybe shouted angrily at you. That’s the same feeling I get when listening to old material from some of the greatest Jamaican deejays of all time.

When my parents shouted at me, I hated it. But when I hear Sizzla, Capleton, Burro Banton or Buju Banton from the 90’s and early 2000’s I love it.

Unfortunately three of these have changed their style during the past couple of years, and turned to a more melodic singing style rather than gruff voiced deejaying.

Sizzla has never had the depth or “rock stoneness” that Capleton and Buju and Burro Banton possess. But on the other hand – he has a faster rather than heavy delivery. Sometimes he spits out his lyrics rather than grunts them. Either style is compelling and has me craving for more.

Burro Banton has however been true to his style and has if anything gotten even heavier during the years. On his 83’debut album Buro – which deserves a proper reissue – his flow is melodic and there is hardly a trace of the Burro Banton that dropped the aggressive Da Original Banton twelve years later.

And he has continued to record in the rock stone mode, and some of the latest examples being Sound Exterminator for Maximum Sound, No Fake Friend for Weedy G Soundforce and Defend My Own for Massive B.

I have nothing against deejays turning singers and I really rate Sizzla’s latest album effort, a set on which he sings more than ever before. But I don’t want to see the rock stone voices extinct and the regrowth is far from satisfying, even though UK’s premier grunter Blackout JA keeps the flag flying high.

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A journey to Zion

I don’t know where to begin. I lack words to describe my feelings, but I’ve an urge to at least try to convey my emotions when listening to Takana Zion’s third full length album Rasta Government.

Joy, pride and euphoria are words that run through my mind when writing this. But also thoughtfulness and honesty, because the lyrics on Rasta Government is a cultural affair and deals with injustice, inequality, love and unity. Song writers such as Winston Rodney and Bob Marley spring to mind.

Takana Zion has outperformed himself this time. His first and second albums were highly impressive efforts, but the third one takes things just a little bit further.

Rasta Government is uncompromising roots reggae in a 70’s style. Takana Zion has toned down the African influences to a minimum and sings mostly in English, whereas his previous albums have included at least four different languages. This makes his new effort his most accessible album yet.

He has previously been described as an African version of Sizzla. Sure, Takana Zion is a singjay sensation from Guinea, but his voice has matured and on Rasta Government his singing is better than ever. You can hear a resemblance to both Garnett Silk and Culture’s late lead singer Joseph Hill. But Takana Zion has a modern edge. His raspy, angry and desperate tone has an uplifting sincerity.

I sometimes complain that contemporary reggae albums contain too many tunes. This time it’s the opposite. Ten tracks are just not enough. Luckily though, Takana Zion is just 24 years old, so he has plenty of time recording another set of classics.

The music that was created in Harry J’s studio in Jamaica by producers Sam Clayton and Stephen Stewart as well as musicians such as Sly Dunbar when recording Rasta Government is bliss. This is the best album I’ve heard so far this year.

I hope that these words have got through and that you understand how I feel. Because this is not a review, this is a love letter.

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Half year report – best albums and tunes yet

Six months of 2010 has passed and we’ve been treated lots of great albums, songs and rhythms.

It has been both known and unknown artists. For example, veterans such as Sizzla, Junior Kelly and Capleton released albums of varying quality. Unfortunately, their albums were somewhat disappointing, particularly Capleton and his I-Ternal Fire, which was too soft for my taste.

However, new and upcoming stars have done impressive efforts. Both Chezidek and Natty King have released fantastic albums. Similarly, album debutants Romain Virgo and Naptali also provided great records. It was also a great relief that the cooperation between the distant relatives Nas and Damian ”Jr Gong” Marley worked out so well.

It has also been plenty of great rhythms. Two Jamaican producers scored big time – Zion Gate provided by John John and Major & Minor Riddim from Don Corleon are two of the strongest rhythms this year. In Europe, Curtis Lynch has had his flag flying high. He released his first very own rhythm – the great Jam1 – and  updated – once more – Police in Helicopter Riddim with a particularly lethal cut by Maikal X.

Going forward, there are lots of exciting releases to look out for in the coming months. For example, veteran Luciano releases his United States of Africa in July, a month in which Busy Signal and Gyptian also are expected to drop their new albums. In August, we will be treated albums from Etana, Gappy Ranks and Toussaint. Three really interesting records are expected later this fall – Franz Job, Protoje and Mellow Baku.

Until then, check out some of this year’s best albums and tunes yet.

Five best albums so far (no particular order):
Feel Your Presence –  NiyoRah
Distant Relatives – Nas & Damian Marley
Judgement Time – Chezidek
Born to be Free – Natty King
Romain Virgo – Romain Virgo

Ten of the best tunes so far (no particular order):
Nine Lives – Mavado
Music in My Soul – Sizzla
Live Mi Life – Romain Virgo
J.A – Protoje
Live and Learn – Chezidek
Tell Me Your Name – Jimmy Riley & Fantan Mojah
Hold Yuh – Gyptian
Nah Trust Dem – Kali Blaxx
As We Enter – Nas & Damian Marley
Wildfire – Tarrus Riley

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Capletons eld brinner ut

För ett år sedan skrev jag krönikan ”Unga arga män, gamla lugna gubbar”. Tesen var ungefär ju äldre desto mjäkigare.

Det stämmer in på fyrtioplussaren Capleton. Nya plattan I-Ternal Fire – den första på sex år – är lugnare än någonsin. För de som följt honom har utvecklingen kanske varit naturlig – han har blivit lugnare och lugnare för varje platta under 2000-talet. Men I-ternal Fire är dessvärre provocerande mjäkig. På Reign of Fire från 2004 fanns tendenser till en velourfarsa, men jag trodde inte att det skulle gå så här långt. Borta är högoktaniga dancehallpärlor som Real Hot och tunga rootsdängor som That Day Will Come.

Visst, det finns bra låtar på I-Ternal Fire, men det är långt mellan guldklimparna. Acres, på rytmen Indescretions producerad av Shane C. Brown, släpptes förra året och är plattans starkaste spår. Them Get Corel blandar spansk gitarr med nyabinghi och funkar faktiskt ganska bra. When I Come To Town har bra verser, men brister i refrängen eftersom Capleton envisas med att sjunga. Det här är ett problem på flera låtar. Han är en tung deejay med en stenbrottsröst av det elakare slaget när han tar i. Men sjunga kan han inte.

De största problemen finns i balladerna. Och de är alldeles för många. Mammahyllningen Mama You Strong, med sina plastiga syntar, är ingen av hans bättre låtar i karriären.

Faktum är att han inte ens lyckas göra en särskilt bra version av Kemar ”Flava” McGregors monsterrytm Rub A Dub från 2008.

Capleton har gått från att hälla bensin på en majbrasa till att lägga pinnar på en lägereld. Han måste få bättre fjutt på glöden. More fire!

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Gratisskivor som räddar helgen

Januari är ingen rolig månad för plånboken. Jul, semester och nyår. Och sen de vanliga räkningarna. För att klara årets fattigaste helg har Reggaemani hittat två gratisplattor som räddar både för- och efterfesten.

Skivkoll skrev härom veckan om en gratis mixplatta från amerikanska producentduon South Rakkas Crew, som bland annat ligger bakom hårda rytmer som Clappas och Red Alert.  Mixen innehåller sexton separata låtar med exempelvis Capleton och Blackout JA. Plattan är ett måste för dig som gillar stenhård dancehall med house-influenser och behöver komma igång inför en kväll på stan.

Reggaecommunityn Dub Vibrations har satt ihop en platta med bidrag från medlemmarna. Skivan innehåller 20 låtar från dubproducenter världen över. Många av låtarna är lugna och nästan meditativa. Passar perfekt att koppla av till efter en tuff kväll.

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Godbitar ur vårens skivflod

Reggaemani har spanat in vad skivbolagen VP, Greensleeves och 17 North Parade har på gång i vår. Och det är mycket som händer. Exempelvis nya plattor från världsstjärnor som Busy Signal och Capleton.

Skivbolaget VP, med dotterbolagen Greensleeves och 17 North Parade, är störst i världen på reggae. Bolaget har anor som spänner över hela 40 år och är nog mest känt för att ha lanserat Sean Paul.

Varje år släpper VP ungefär 60 plattor, och i vinter och vår väntar plattor från några av bolagets riktiga storsäljare.

Året inleds med Reggae Legends-samlingar från Shabba Ranks och Sugar Minott samt en samling låtar på Ghetto riddim. I januari släpper skivbolaget även Sizzlas Crucial Times och Alborosies singel Steppin’ Out.

I februari kommer en samlingsplatta många säkert ser fram emot – Volcano Eruption med material från Henry ”Junjo” Lawes. Men det är kanske inte de 40 låtarna som lockar mest. Snarare är det den tillhörande dvd:n med en dokumentär om Henry Lawes och hans soundsystem Volcano. Februari bjuder dessutom på ytterligare nytt material från Alborosie – ep:n Kingdom of Zion och den samlingsliknande plattan Escape From Babylon To Kingdom of Zion.

Den 30 mars kommer Busy Signals nya platta D.O.B, något som många dancehall-fans säkert ser fram emot. Mars bjuder även på en samling med Chukki Star och en med King Jammy-material.

För lovers-fansen blir april en bra månad. Då släpps dels samlingsplattan This Is Lovers Rock vol. 2, dels Beres Hammonds Just A Man, som förmodligen kommer vara i samma lugna och sköna stil som vanligt. Lite ösigare blir Junior Kellys nya platta Red Pond som producerats av Fire House Crew.

Lagom till sommaren släpper stjärnskottet Romain Virgo sin självbetitlade debut. Men mer intressant är Capletons I-Ternal Fire som når skivbutikerna den fjärde maj. Capleton är med reggaemått inte särskilt produktiv, så det blir riktigt spännande att höra vad han kokat ihop. Maj bjuder även på två nya samlingar med discomixar från Joe Gibbs.

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