Kalbata & Mixmonster have with their debut album Congo Beat the Drum put out an album that builds on classic Jamaican reggae, while also adding contemporary aesthetics, making it both vintage sounding, yet progressive.
This Israeli production duo is probably not particularly well-known among reggae aficionados, since Kalbata is a house producer and Mixmonster has worked with funk band The Apples.
But for this album they went into their home studio in Tel Aviv with the aim of recording a 100 percent analogue dub and early dancehall album in the spirit of reggae greats such as King Tubby, Scientist and Henry “Junjo” Lawes. Their main instruments were a 16-track tape machine and a vintage analogue mixing desk. These were used when recording the live played and extremely tight riddims.
They brought their music to Kingston where they managed to voice some of their favourite singers and deejays – Puddy Roots, Little John, Major Mackerel, Tullo T, Mutabaruka, Trinity, Jah Thomas, Echo Minott and Prince Jazzbo, who made his last recording for this set.
Congo Beat the Drum is a grim, sparse and relentless eleven track set collecting two interludes, one instrumental and eight vocals. The title track is amazing tom-tom driven mayhem with Major Mackerel showcasing his eccentric delivery and on Amazing the under-recorded Tullo T gets in a fast-rapping groove. Truly remarkable.
Congo Beat the Drum is a dark and at times original sound system destroyer available on CD, LP and digital download.