Jamaican-born and UK-raised singer Randy Valentine has teamed up with Mad Professor’s son Joe Ariwa for another strong EP.
Still Pushing is just like its predecessor Break the Chain released via Hemp Higher and it offers more of the same rootsy reggae with a contemporary flavour. This new set might however be a bit more on the dubby side of reggae.
Randy Valentine is one the best – if not the best – European singers right now. He has a great energy and melody in his voice and he can probably make any track interesting.
Still Pushing comes with eight tracks, of which one is a dub version and one is a mighty fine slice of a cappella where Randy Valentine gets the chance to showcase his strong and emotional vocals.
This is another beautiful set from Randy Valentine and after two EP’s and several strong singles and one riddim album cuts I’m definitely ready for his debut album.
Last year veteran UK deejay Brother Culture teamed up with producer and mixing engineer Joe Ariwa, son of the legendary Mad Professor. Together they dropped a set titled The Secret Files, an album where Brother Culture targets Big Brother, state control and invasion of personal privacy. It’s certainly a current issue thanks to the disclosures made by Edward Snowden.
As usual with albums coming from Ariwa this is showcase effort and each of the six vocal cuts are directly followed by their dub counterpart.
And over a heavy and equally steady riddim Brother Culture chats “the most camera is found in the UK. The film you in the cinema, they film you in the bar, they even film you when you are walking in the park. They say it’s part of the war on terror, but soon every man a gonna need a barrister”. A telling verse of how it is in many countries today. Big Brother is watching every step you take; whether you are outside in the streets or at home in front of your computer.
An important album targeting a critical question, and hopefully it might raise awareness around Big Brother surveillance.
On Luciano’s third album in 2014 he has once again joined forces with UK dub legend and mixing maestro Mad Professor. Their Deliverance effort from last year was a strong set and its follow-up Luciano at Ariwa is yet another solid slice of rootsy reggae and smooth lovers rock, recorded with live instrumentation, including horns by no other than veteran saxophone player Dean Fraser.
And just as Deliverance this set comes in a showcase format, i.e. each of the six vocal cuts – seven if you get the digital copy which includes a remix with U Roy – are followed by their dub counterparts, where Mad Professor and his sons Joe and Kamal turn up the bass and treats the mixing board as an instruments of its own.
Luciano has always been heavily inspired by the late and great Dennis Brown, and that influence is just as prominent on this set as it was on Deliverance, especially on a version of Dennis Brown’s Have No Fear. Luciano also covers John McLean & Dego Ranks’ slick Special Kind of Love and For the Love of Money. On the latter Luciano also showcases his deejay skills.
Luciano is an extremely productive singer and it’s not unusual for him to drop two or three albums each year, but they rarely have the same high quality as the two albums now released by Mad Professor.