On Greek producer Professor Skank’s second album Digital Revolution old meets new and traditional goes progressive. Reggae, particularly the heavyweight UK dubwise kind, is mixed with traditional Greek instrumentation and melodies.
Professor Skank started his career with a four track studio in the early 90s and later worked with Mad Professor at his Ariwa studio in London. Zion Train, Max Romeo and Aswad where some of the artists he had the opportunity to record together with.
The skills he acquired working with Mad Professor where later utilized on his debut set Industrial Democracy and now he has taken his sound one step further. His Greece roots are showcased throughout the twelve tracks, especially on highlights such as Revolution, where a bouzouki is thrown in the mix with great effect, and the rolling Radio Freedom, a track with a wicked hip-hop inspired break.
Digital Revolution is mostly instrumental, even though MC J Fyah shows up dropping lines on two cuts and Earl 16 sings on the pulsating Money Pressure. Most of the vocals is however sampled, for example a dramatic speech on Greece’s financial troubles.
The experimental side of Professor Skank is also presented via tracks such as Jamming With a Hippie and Another Kind. The booming Champion Dub and album opener Positive Image, which uses the tough Kunta Kinta riddim, are also a bit radical.
This album is not a reggae meets zorba set. And the only glass that will be smashed is thanks to some of the ultra-heavy bass lines.
Steely & Clevie are two of the most gifted musicians and producers coming from Jamaica. They are responsible for numerous hits spanning over three decades and their musicianship has been utilized by producers such as King Jammy and Augustus “Gussie” Clarke.
Now VP Records has bestowed them with a three disc compilation containing 42 of their own productions and a DVD with almost two hours of material.
Steely, who sadly passed away in June 2009, and Clevie, have been in the music business since the 70’s. Their first recording together was Hugh Mundell’s classic Africa Must be Free (by 1983) produced by Augustus Pablo.
Afterwards, Steely & Clevie went different ways – Steely joined the famous Roots Radics band and Clevie joined In Crowd, led by producer, singer and song writer Fil Callender.
They met up again in the mid 80’s and from then on they’ve played on countless of hit songs coming out of Jamaica – both as session musicians at King Jammy’s studio as well as on their own after they opened their own facilities in 1988.
The 42 songs on Digital Revolution showcase an era in reggae, an era when technology and computers reigned in the studio and in the dancehalls. And Steely & Clevie were masters of handling drum machines and keyboards. Their innovative style paved the way for digital, percussion driven and groundbreaking riddims such as Punany, Duck and Cat’s Paw.
Digital Revolution includes plentiful of hits spanning over growling deejay Tiger’s When and soulful singer Garnett Silk’s Love is the Answer to more contemporary sounds in Sean Paul & Mr. Vegas’ smash hit Haffi Get da Gal Yah (Hot Gal Today).
Steely & Clevie’s importance in reggae music cannot be exaggerated and this anthology certainly shows the minds of geniuses.