The UK city of Bristol is probably best known for groundbreaking trippy 90’s bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead. But the reggae scene has also been vital for many years, as shown by the many excellent albums and compilations coming from Bristol Archive Records.
One of the more recent additions on the Bristol reggae scene is Mr Benn, who on his debut album Shake A Leg takes an old school meets new school approach.
The album is an eclectic smorgasbord set with Aswad, The Specials and King Tubby along with various ingredients coming from 90s hip-hop and boom rap, soca, jungle, dancehall, dubstep and bashement.
This vast list of musical influences and guest artists, ranging from UK heavyweighters like Top Cat and Tenor Fly and to newcomers like Eva Lazarus and Nanci Correia, creates a cheerful jump-up vibe directly aimed at setting dance floors worldwide on fire.
And it’s hard to sit still when you play this entertaining album. Your head starts to nod, your feet beings to stomp and suddenly you feel an urge to dim lights, call all your friends and turn up the bass, even if it’s just a boring Thursday afternoon. Then just do it.
And don’ forget to check out the out the free download of a wicked combination with gruff voiced deejay Blackout JA, not included on the album.
Canadian producer Dubmatix offers free download of his debut album Champion Sound Clash for a limited period of time.
Champion Sound Clash was released in 2004 and is a modern dub album with a variety of styles and tempos. It spans from the rootsy Blade & Chalice and the hip-hop-tinged 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Dub to the Hotel Costes styled El Diablo Dub or the Bossa Nova influenced Island Sun with its memorable guitar and flute hook.
If you don’t already have this album you should definitely head over to Dubmatix Souncloud spot and check it out. The free download offer ends at August 6th.
Jahdan Blakkmoore – one of Brooklyn’s finest reggae singers – dropped his sophomore album Babylon Nightmare in December last year, to wide critical acclaim. The album included the sweet single All Comes Back to One.
Now production crews Lustre Kings and LionDub International are releasing a remix EP of All Comes Back to One, which includes versions with influences from dubstep, drum & bass, one drop and nu-soul. The remix duties are handled by Nate Mars, Potential Badboy, LionDub, Nick Fantastic and Ticklah. The funky and soulful version BoBos Remix is available as free download. Check it here.
If that wasn’t enough, DJ Theory has just put out the refreshing Quick Money for free download, a tune full of reggae, hip-hop and soul. It uses a sample from Amadou & Mariam’sSabali – also used by Nas & Damian Marley for the mellow Patience – and comes with a lethal soca version courtesy of So Shifty. Check both tunes here.
Swedish super talent Million Stylez has recently dropped two tunes in a ganja style. In October he released Move From On Ya, a heavy version of Peter Broggs’ classic International Farmer, produced by French label FuryBass.
Now Million Stylez drops a new ganja tune called Dutches, a reworking of RnB singer Chris Brown’s mega hit Deuces. Million Stylez relick is quite close to the original version (different lyrics though) and you can also hear him in a rap mode on this one.
Mixes are such a great way of finding new music. Just let someone else do the hard work of finding the best tunes and then you buy them for yourself.
This year has presented lots of great mixes – ranging from old school reggae and dancehall to lovers rock and contemporary one drop.
A trusted source for many years have been BMC. This year he didn’t produce as many mixes as usual, but one did really make an impression on me and made me reevaluate Tarrus Riley.
There has also been some nice mashups and reggae remixes mixtapes. Max Tannone produced Talib Kweli and Mos Def in a reggae style. Both are wicked efforts. But my favorite this year was Yankees A Yard vol. 3 from French production duo Bost & Bim.
Below are my three favorite mixes this year. I’ve played these many, many times and strongly recommend you to download number three and two and buy the number one.
3. BMC – Tarrus Riley & Friends
I’ve always liked Riley junior. But at the same time I’ve thought that he’s a little too soft. This mix changed my view completely.
As a teaser the producers are now unleashing a goodie to heat things up. And they certainly are.
Feel Up is pure sex. It’s downright filthy. Especially the bass line, which is bad, and I mean really nasty. It’s naughty and makes you want to whine your waist all night long. If Barry White was a bass line he would sound like this.
Listen in the player below and download by clicking the link.
Ziggy Marley – yes, he is Bob Marley’s son – has travelled the same road as his larger than life father. He has recorded since the 70’s and has scored some hit songs during the years. Best known is probably Tomorrow People with his former band The Melody Makers.
His latest album – Family Time – hit the streets in 2009. And now Ziggy Marley drops a single for free download.
A Fire Burns for Freedom is an acoustic, uplifting piece with lyrics that deals with the benefits of marijuana. If you like Bob Marley’s softer tunes, you’ll probably dig this as well.
Listen in the player below and download by clicking the link.
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)
Talib Kweli is one of the most skilled rappers ever and his voice suits these rock hard rhythms perfectly. If you listened to Mos Dub as much as I did, then you must have Dub Kweli as well. Download for free here.