Tag Archives: Jr Blender

Yet another fine EP from Clay

Clay_List_Cover_Ansichten_IUK-based singer and songwriter Clay dropped his debut EP last year and was soon picked up by one of Germany’s premier production crews – Silly Walks Discotheque. Their first collaboration was Only Love on Silly Walks’ Clock Tower riddim and now they’ve dropped an EP together, a set that’s also produced in collaboration with Jr. Blender and Bigdreams Production.

Clay:List collects five tracks and collects a number of tasty relicks, for example a version of Bob Marley’s So Much Trouble and the classic Stars riddim.

Clay is an emotional singer with a deep feel for catchy melodies and infectious choruses, which was showcased already on his debut. And Clay:List continues in the same vein.

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays

This is where I’m supposed to write my top ten reggae Christmas tunes, but truth is there is too few of them to make a real list, even though there is a truckload of Christmas tunes done in a reggae style and fashion.

Unfortunately about 99 percent of them are crap. Just listen to the Trojan Christmas Box Set where artists such as John Holt, Freddie McGregor and Yellowman humiliate themselves trying to provide a soundtrack for the holidays.

There is however one Christmas album that is pretty decent. On Natty Christmas the late Jacob Miller teamed up with deejay Ray I for nine versions of classic Christmas songs, including Wish You A Merry Christmas and On the Twelve Day of Ismas.

German producer Jr Blender has also tried his hands on making a delightful reggae Christmas by producing a sweet mash-up – Jackson 5’s Santa Claus is Coming To Town.

Covers have been an important part of the reggae repertoire, but I think the artists and musicians should stick to soul and R&B, even though the songs mentioned above certainly outperform the originals.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays and keep the reggae music playing, whether it’s Christmas cover versions or some of the best sounds of 2012.

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Mashing up Christmas

Last summer Reggaemani did a special on mash-ups and interviewed Bost & Bim, Max Tannone and Al Fingers. I also wanted to interview Jr. Blender of German Supersonic Sound, but didn’t get an answer on my interview request.

Jr. Blender has made some of the best reggae mash-ups around, and his mashing of Bounty Killer and Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy is insane.

He latest mash-up is a reggae version of Jackson 5’s Christmas soul classic Santa Claus is Coming To Town. Listen below, and download via a Soundcloud link. Merry Christmas!

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Reggaemani’s top ten mash-ups

Mashing genres has been a favourite topic on Reggaemani lately. Dancehall star Busy Signal goes beyond his genre and Toussaint successfully combines soul and reggae. Another way of mixing genres is through mash-ups – taking bits of songs to make a new tune. This is a nice way of introducing genres to a new audience and has been made popular by Mark Vidler and others.

It starts with the unmistakable organ of Take A Ride rhythm. But something is different. The tempo is a bit higher. Then Marvin Gaye starts singing “Mother, Mother”, the first words in his classic What’s Going On. This is certainly not Truths & Rights by Johnny Osbourne. It’s something new, something fresh.

And this is what a mash-up is all about. “Presenting the songs in a new light”, as DJ and producer Al Fingers put it in an interview earlier this summer with Reggaemani.

A mash-up is at its best when it adds something new and when it reinvents the tunes used. It has to be unique, but at the same time well executed. The best mash-ups are often those that follow the chord progression, are in the same key and don’t mess with the pitch too much.

Many DJs and producers that make mash-ups seem to have no musical boundaries. Max Tannone, for example, said in an interview with Reggaemani that he recommends trying whatever sounds good.

I think the weirdest combinations are usually the best, like Jr Blender’s brilliant mashing of hardcore deejay Bounty Killer with 80’s British synthpop trio Bronski Beat.

I’ve collected mash-ups for some time and can easily say that they’re usually fillers on the dance floor and have also lured one or two of my friends into reggae music. It can just as easily go the other way, like when Bost & Bim have introduced Usher and other hip-hop/soul artists to a reggae crowd.

Below I’ve compiled my ten favourite reggae mash-ups. These gems certainly present the tunes in a new light and give them a new dimension.

Producer – song title (original performers)

10. Nuff Wish Crew – Hammy’s Theme (Anthony Hamilton vs. G Corp)
9. DJ Shepdog – No, No, No (Mama Don’t Like You) (Dawn Penn vs. Alborosie & I Eye)
8. Max Tannone – Mr. Universe (Mos Def vs. Observer All Stars)
7. Nuff Wish Crew – African Billie (Michael Jackson vs. Joe Gibbs)
6. Al Fingers – What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye vs. Johnny Osbourne)
5. Nuff Wish Crew – Sensi Spice (Alozade, Mr. Easy & Richie Spice vs. Dr Dre)
4. Jr Blender – Ghetto Gladiator (Bounty Killer vs. Bronski Beat)
3. Max Tannone – In My Math (Mos Def vs. Michael Prophet)
2. J Star – No Diggity (Blackstar vs. Sound Dimension)
1. Jr Blender – Rougher RMX (Cocoa Tea, Home T & Cutty Ranks vs. Black Eyed Peas)

Many thanks to DJ Axxel of Axxionpack Sound for introducing me to the great works of Jr Blender.

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