Multi-facetted Virgin Islands born singer and singjay Pressure is back with a new album following Coming Back for You, produced by Dean Pond and released in 2009.
On The Sound he has teamed up with the mighty Zion I Kings, a trio of producers including Tippy I, who also hails from the Virgin Islands.
The Sound is Pressure’s fourth album and is his best to date. It includes the usual sweet arrangements and backing provided by Zion I Kings, but a few of the cuts are dark and edgy, for example Herbsman Town, Serious About It and Who You Are, a track that also offers a taste of wobbling dubstep.
The Sound is a family affair and a host of Pressure’s fellow countrymen flex their skills on a number of songs. Ras Batch and NiyoRah show up on Cry for Humanity and Volcano shares vocal duties with Pressure on Herbsman Town. And no other than Midnite’s lead singer Vaughn Benjamin can be heard on Nothing No Wrong.
A majority of the album was also recorded in St. Croix, for example the uplifting Virgin Islands Nice, a cut that is now an official tourist board anthem. Maybe no surprise when listening to the chorus – “so nice, so nice, sweet, sweet St. Thomas nice, so nice, so nice, St. Croix full of pure vibes, so nice, so nice, St. John a real paradise, so nice, so nice.”
The Sound exemplifies the strong roots and culture scene active in the Virgin Islands and even though Pressure delivered a strong set together with Don Corleon in 2007, The Sound outshines his previous material and will hopefully strengthen his fan base.
Music writers – myself included – usually like to label an artist to a specific genre. This is however a difficult task for German singer and songwriter Patrice and his new album The Rising of the Son. This set is far from cohesive and mixes a variety of different genres, some more bass heavy than others.
Patrice has described the album as a rebirth. And it certainly is. It doesn’t sound anything like his previously roots reggae oriented efforts. With The Rising of the Son he embarks on a new journey.
Patrice’s captivating voice and singing style owes quite a lot to Bob Marley. He often has the same intonation and phrasing. The music is nowadays far from this reggae icon.
On the lead single Cry Cry he forays into rebellious punky reggae heavily inspired by The Clash, while One Day, which features Jamaican super producer Don Corleon, boasts a pulsating Sly & Robbie groove. 1 in 7 is Eastern European flavoured ska and God Bless You La La La, with Cody Chesnutt singing the chorus, is more or less straight up rock.
The Rising of the Son sounds like a major label release. Most of the radio friendly tracks have serious hit potential and will probably appeal to fans of Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars, although this is a little edgier.
Jamaican singjay Protoje’s second album The 8 Year Affair is – just like its predecessor – a mix of previously released masterpieces and fresh gems. And just like last time most of the set is produced by his cousin Don Corleon.
The 8 Year Affair collects sweet and tender ballads where Protoje longs for his special queen, but it also, and more importantly, contains several dark minor key masterpieces, showcasing a new, deeper and more melancholic side of Protoje and beat maker Don Corleon. And I like it. A lot actually. Some of the bass lines presented on this album will make your living room start humming.
Don Corleon has glanced at some of the key dancehall producers from the early 80’s and it’s not only Kingston Be Wise that echoes vintage Sly & Robbie. What he has added is a touch of hip-hop and a ton of energy. A few surprises also turns up and most unexpected is the affectionate violin in Come My Way.
Protoje has obviously matured over the two years since his debut set and I hope he’ll stay on this path and not start to stray.
Professor is a popular title in the reggae industry. You have Mad Professor and Professor Grizzly. But also three artists with just the title. Or almost anyway.
Groundation’s lead vocalist Harrison Stafford has an alter ego called Professor and in the 70’s and 80’s there was an Jamaican engineer who also went by the name. The latest addition is Da Professor, who was born and raised in Kingston, but has also spent time in Florida and New York.
His debut album The Laboratory is produced by Don Corleon – one of Jamaica’s most prominent contemporary producers, and well-known for his slick, polished and stylish productions, usually with a tasty feel for pop melodies and memorable hooks.
And Da Professor’s debut set is no exception. It’s smooth journey into Don Corleon’s blend of one drop reggae, dancehall and R&B.
His production is spiced up by Da Professor’s interesting vocal style, or styles. He can switch from soul-styled singing to gritty deejaying in a jiffy.
Even though the album boasts three duets – J Boog, Ken Boothe and Protoje – you can easily be fooled that it’s one more singer on board on several songs. When I listened to tunes such as By My Side or the upbeat Party Non Stop I could swear that another one singer handled the chorus and another the verses. But no. It is Da Professor all along.
It must have been a great chemistry in the studio when this album was recorded, because The Laboratory is yet another strong effort from the Don Corleon camp.
Jamaican producer Don Corleon – famous for mellow riddims such as Changes and Seasons – has just put out hard hitting dub album consisting of ten tunes.
The selection ranges from the tough Ghetto Life in Dub on a relick of the Baltimore riddim to the softer Drop Leaf riddim.
The Don has ripped apart the tunes, put emphasis on the bass and the drums and then put them together again. His usual polished style is nowhere to be found and this album certainly showcases a brand new sound from this acclaimed producer.
Dub in HD, as the album is titled, has a contemporary sound and Don Corleon has stated that he used Pro Tools when mixing the tunes. He has managed to put a whole new level of energy in the songs, something that gives them new character and new life.
Jamaica has not been in the forefront when it comes to dub in the last ten years or so. It would be great if other young Jamaican producers took interest in one of the foundational reggae genres, and a genre that has influenced several artists in other genres, most notably in the house and electronica vein.
Please let this album be the beginning of a new trend.
It is not often these days that you hear dub music produced and mixed in Jamaica. Last year Alborosie put out Dub Clash, a limited edition project where he had dubbed some of his own material, as well as other well know reggae tunes, in a vintage dub style.
Now it is happily enough time again for a Jamaican dub album.
In February a Youtube clip of Jamaican producer Don Corleon dubbing in his studio started circling around. Soon it was made official that he was working on a dub album titled Dub in HD.
The album presents ten dub versions of riddims such as Drop Leaf, Major and Seasons, but also individual tunes, like Protoje’sWrong Side of the Law. The former was actually the first tune that you could hear the Don experimenting with dub.
Reggaemani now has the opportunity to present a sample of one full track from the album. Below you can listen to Natural Black’s Far From Reality on the Seasons riddim.
This is a wonderful initiative from a young Jamaican producer, and I certainly hope that others will follow in his footsteps.
Dub in HD is available for digital download on June 21.
Last year Jamaican singer/singjay Protoje came to prominence with his debut single Arguments, produced by his cousin Don Corleon.
Now Protoje is about to release his debut album 7 Year Itch, also produced by Don Corleon. The release has been preceded by a well orchestrated marketing campaign – free download of single J.A, a documentary called The 7 Year Wish, an album sampler, and last but not least, a bunch of strong singles, all included on the album.
The songs on 7 Year Itch have been written over seven years and Protoje sings about this process in the percussion driven title track and album opener. The album is characterized by strong pop melodies and a vintage reggae feeling on most of the tracks. The only exception is the electric contemporary dancehall in Overtime.
Bob Marley’s spirit rests heavily on several of the songs and sometimes it sounds like The I-Threes are signing the background vocals.
Protoje has also invited three guest artists – well known singers Ky-Mani Marley and Gentleman as well as upcoming female singer Jah9, whose jazz-tinged and Erykah Badu-esque voice beautifully suits Protoje’s patois heavy delivery.
I’ve been looking forward to the 7 Year Itch album for a long time and I’m very happy to say that it fulfilled my expectations. Protoje has obviously had a great mentor when making this album and it’s an itch that I’m glad to have experienced.
The album is due on January 25 and will be available digitally as well as physically.
So far 2010 seem like a pretty decent reggae year. I collected some of my favorite tunes on a roots mix presented in April. And now it’s time to drop a new continuous mix with some wicked tunes from producers around the globe.
Starting off in the U.S. with producers Philadub and three licks of their pulsating Repeat rhythm, and then moving over the Atlantic to the UK and producer Frenchie and his skankin’ version of the Creation Rebel rhythm, this one originally recorded by Bunny “Striker” Lee.
Next is another relick. Boops rhythm was originally produced by Winston Riley and provided the backing for Supercat’s hit song with the same name. This new version is produced by Shane C. Brown and I’ve used deejay cuts from Busy Signal and Chino as well as a straight singing version from Romain Virgo.
French crew Irie Ites is represented with two rhythms – Take A Lick and Party Time. The former is a fresh original with a nice xylophone and the latter is a re-cut of the classic Party Time rhythm from Studio One.
If you’ve been following reggae this summer you’ve probably stumbled upon the Major rhythm from Jamaican producer Don Corleon. There are eleven cuts of this rhythm and nearly all of them are above par. I’ve chosen Tarrus Riley and Wayne Marshall, but thought about including J Boog and Jah Vinci as well.
A Pleasant Roots Mix Vol. 1 consists of 16 tunes and some added sound effects. Most of the tracks are available as legal download or cd. If you like what you hear, please support the artists, producers and labels and buy them. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do.
1. Lukie D – My Type (Philadub – Repeat)
2. Spectacular – Hotter Than Lava (Philadub – Repeat)
3. Lutan Fyah – Show Me Some Dub (Philadub – Repeat)
4. Johnny Clarke & Fantan Mojah – Rebel With A Cause (Maximum Sound – Rebellion 2010)
5. Tarrus Riley – Poverty Nuh Inna Fashion (Maximum Sound – Rebellion 2010)
6. Busy Signal – Government Gone Luu (Jukeboxx – Boops)
7. Chino – Phone Gallis (Jukeboxx – Boops)
8. Romain Virgo – Live Mi Life (Jukeboxx – Boops)
9. Sena – Heavens Gate (Irie Ites – Take A Lick)
10. Lutan Fyah – Take A Lick (Irie Ites – Take A Lick)
11. Mafia & Fluxy – Take A Lick version (Irie Ites – Take A Lick)
12. Tarrus Riley – Wildfire (Don Corleon – Major)
13. Wayne Marshall – Work Hard (Don Corleon – Major)
14. Leroy Sibbles – Party Time (Irie Ites – Party Time)
15. Natty King & Spectuclar – Sweet Jamaica (Irie Ites – Party Time)
16. Mafia & Fluxy – Party time version (Irie Ites – Party Time)
And one thing is certain with Maikal X – he is a gifted singer with a good voice that is reminiscent of the late and great Dennis Brown as well as his adepts Frankie Paul, Luciano and Bushman. And he manages his voice well on this 14 track set with mainly one drop rhythms on live instrumentation.
Maikal X has already released one of the best tunes this year – Get Away – produced by Curtis Lynch on an updated version of the Police in Helicopter rhythm. This tune is unfortunately not included on Genesis. However, included are singles The Best in You and Here She Comes, a reggae version of Daryl Hall and John Oates 80’s classic Maneater. A nice version that will surely appeal even to the more inexperienced reggae listener.
The production is mainly done by Berteaut “Mr Rude” Fleming. It is smooth and polished and reminds of Don Corleon and Kemar “Flava” McGregor. And it’s probably no coincidence that the great Don Corleon has handled the production duties on The Best In You.
Lies borrow heavily from Coxsone Dodd’s classic rhythm Breaking Up and Born To Die is based on the powerful Collie Weed rhythm, released earlier this year.
Maikal X has also included three strong combinations – Peetah Morgan, Luciano and Irie Love. The duet with Luciano is a surely a nice tune, but the vocals are too similar. Perhaps it would have been better to include a singer with a different expression. The combo with Irie Love is bouncy thing with a 80’s flavour and the tune with the Morgan sibling is the albums strongest and well in line with Get Away.