Tag Archives: Italy

Electronic and dubwise on Pressure Dub Sound’s debut

FrontPressure Dub Sound out of Italy is a connection between soundmen and musicians, and the nucleus is Mr. Dill Lion Warriah on the microphone, The Bassliner on bass, D-Mass on drums and GJ at the mixing board. Their sound lean heavily towards Zion Train and other heavy UK dub outfits like Alpha & Omega and Vibronics.

Their new self-titled album collects previously released vinyl singles along with new material recorded in collaboration with Zion Train, Addis Pablo, Madaski and Gary Clunk. It comes in a showcase style with six vocal cuts and their dub versions.

It’s electronic and organic, it’s roots reggae with digital and dubwise influences. Especially tasty are the dub versions with their pounding percussion, ethereal use of effects, vocal snippets dropping in and out and the bright horns clashing with the often dark and melancholic mood.

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Seriously deadly vibes on Lion D’s third album

liond-bringbackthevibesItalian/Nigerian singer and singjay Lion D’s third and latest album Bring Back the Vibes is a perfect example of how great contemporary European reggae can sound. It has the usual blend of one drop riddims, hip-hop, soul and dancehall, but this album also incorporates gospel and blues, mostly in the form of a sweet harmonica provided by Lee Jaffe, who played with Bob Marley and The Wailers.

The album aims to bring roots reggae and dancehall from the 80’s and 90’s into the spotlight. And the result is very successful, even though Bring Back the Vibes has a very contemporary feel with its high energy and hip-hop flavored beats.

It’s positive and conscious and Lion D deals with spirituality, romance, unity, equality, struggle for work – something German roots reggae singer Uwe Banton also did on his latest album Mental War – and self-respect, as in one of the album’s several highlights – No Bleaching Cream.

The tasty and tight riddims are mostly supplied by the Livity Band and composed by Magista. Onboard is also talented Jamaican singer Nikki Burt, who provides excellent harmonies on several songs, and a number of guest artists – Ras Tewelde, Gappy Ranks, Skarra Mucci and Blacky Grace.

The album collects 18 songs, of which two are short interludes from the cult motion picture Rockers and one a cappella intro and one acoustic outro. There are actually several acoustic efforts, and the ukulele-led So Beautiful sounds like someone has put Bruno Mars in a studio in Kingston.

The set mixes unreleased and already released material as well as relicks and fresh originals. A lethal hip-hop fueled version of Inner Circle’s monster hit Sweat (A La La La Long) turns up surprisingly, whereas versions of Carl Meeks’ Weh Dem Fah, Eek-A-Mouse’s Wa-Do-Dem, The Techniques You Don’t Care and Jackie Mitto’s Mission Impossible are more expected choices.

Lion D’s deep voice and phrasing sounds a bit like dancehall superstar Busy Signal, and where he uses the catchphrase “hotter” Lion D favors “wah dis” in a similar manner. Lion D is also – just as Busy Signal – a versatile performer that can go from singing to gruff deejaying in just a few.

The press release describes Lion D as one of the most promising talents on the international reggae scene. Not sure that’s true, but he’s definitely – along with artists like Skarra Mucci and Gappy Ranks – one of Europe’s most interesting individual artists and one to keep an eye on.

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Alborosie craves revolution

Alborosie is back with his upcoming album 2 Times Revolution, the follow-up to his acclaimed Escape From Babylon set released in 2009. This Italian-born Jamaican resident uses his music to start not one, but two, revolutions. To Reggaemani he reveals why, and also makes a public announcement.

Alborosie's new album drops on June 20 in Europe and June 21 in the U.S.

Alberto D’ Ascola was born in Messina on the Italian island of Sicily 33 years ago. In the year 2000 he decided to take the next step in life and move to Jamaica.

“I needed something different. I came here because I was sick of Italy. I did not come here to be an artist. I could have been a fisherman, It just happened that I started at Geejam,” says Alborosie on the phone from Kingston, and continues:

“Jamaica is the place to be, and I have lived here for eleven years now. First time I visited was in 94’. From then on I went three times a year. Jamaica is my home. You will never bring me back to Europe. This is me right now. I have a house, a studio. This is where I belong, even though I have strong Italian roots.”

Alborosie is relaxed, laughs a lot and speaks excellent patois. It is actually hard to hear that he originates from Italy. Now that the album is about to be put out he is preparing for the usual European tour, as he puts it.

New influences
He says that 2 Times Revolution describes his reggae journey so far.

“It has some latin and hip-hop ingredients. Not very different from my other albums,” he explains, and continues:

“I have always been influenced by latin music. This is just my first tribute. I was like, let’s do it this time. I have wanted to do it for a long time. Latin is magic. Latin music is great, and I have it in me.”

Need a change
Alborosie is a rebel, and does things his own way and in his own style. The title of the new album gives a rather straightforward message.

“We need a revolution,” he says, and explains:

“We need a spiritual revolution and a musical revolution. We need to fight back. People are not happy. Revolution is evolution. The music is suffering, especially reggae. Now it is hype music, music that is not long lasting. We need to bring back the sound from whence it came.”

It is obvious that Alborosie has given this a lot of thought, and he wants to see a change in the direction of reggae music.

“There is the new Jamaican music that the young people want. But it is not the only way. I guarantee that on Sunday, they will play old school roots and culture here.”

He sometimes gives the impression that he is preaching when we speak. He has his arguments and the goal is set – reggae needs its roots.

“I am on a mission. It is me. I am a vintage guy. I am an old man in a young man’s body, he chuckles, and adds:

“The Hennessy hype is not for me. I am not saying that people should not enjoy the hype, but let’s not lose the foundation.”

Does most by himself
In the press release of the new album, Alborosie says that he is not thinking about himself as doing reggae anymore – he is doing Jahspel.

“Christians do gospel. I’m a revolutionary Christian so I do Jahspel,” he explains like it is the most obvious thing in the world.

Alborosie is a multi-faceted musician. He is usually credited for production, engineering, composing and arranging as well as for playing a number of instruments. He has also built his own guitar, shown on the album cover.

“I am going to build a keyboard and drums next,” he chuckles.

He also has his own studio. He is like the essence of the DIY-movement.

“I have always done everything by myself. I am in the studio for six to seven months, so Specialist comes to the studio and checks the production. I lose perception, and it is difficult. That is why I have a split personality – Alberto D’Ascola, the producer, and Alborosie, the artist,” he laughs.

No expectations
Even though Alborosie’s last album was a success and his concerts are well attended, he explains that he does not have any expectations on 2 Times Revolution.

“If I like the music, I am good with it. It is success for me. It is a celebration for reggae. I do not care for money, f*** money. I work with the Most High. I never have any expectations in life. Time will tell.”

Alborosie has in his career put out loads of duets with both familiar artists as well as lesser known ones. Last year he even put out the two disc duet compilation Alborosie & Friends.

Public announcement
On the new album he teams up with Junior Reid and Etana, both artists with whom he has worked with previously. When I ask what artist he would like to get the opportunity to work with he is silent for a few seconds, and then fires off in a serious tone.

“I am going to make a public announcement. I want to work with Bob Marley. Let me do one song with him, please. Give me one a capella. I want to do a form of remix. One day, one day,” he dreams.

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