On Matisyahu’s new album he has a new style. Photo by Mark Squires.
In mid 2012 U.S. Chassidic reggae and dancehall superstar Matisyahu dropped his fourth studio set Spark Seeker. About a month ago it reached the European market and it showed a new direction. Goodbye reggae riddims, hello electro beats.
Matisyahu emerged on the scene in 2004 rocking a thick beard, black suit and broad-brimmed hat. He sung about his religious beliefs and eventually received Grammy nominations, gold records and a huge audience, particularly in his homeland. His change of direction has also meant a new style. Goodbye Chassidic locks, hello a more pop-oriented look.
I had a chat with him a few hours before he hit the stage in London. We talked about hair, his new album and why his new sound isn’t necessarily for the future. Check the full story over at United Reggae.
U.S. Chassidic pop reggae superstar Matisyahu has taken a new direction on his fourth studio album Spark Seeker, now released in Europe. Gone are the locks, the black suit, the broad-brimmed black hat and the untrimmed thick beard as well as most of the reggae and dancehall riddims.
Instead Matisyahu has put out a pop album with apparent hip-hop influences. The reggae influences are not totally abandoned though, and can beard heard in tunes such as I Believe in Love.
Responsible for this change of direction is, of course, Matisyahu himself, but also producer Kool Kojak, who has previously worked with million selling artists such as Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj.
The 13 track Spark Seeker – 20 if you include the seven acoustic versions – was recorded in Los Angeles, New York and Israel and some traditional sounds from Israel can be heard throughout the album. Some parts of the set are an eclectic mix of ancient sounds and futuristic electro beats.
Matisyahu has sometimes been described as somewhat of a reggae novelty act, even if that’s true or not, no one can dismiss his feel for excellent melodies, memorable hooks and sing-a-long choruses. The first single Sunshine rocks a pretty uplifting groove. So does Searchin and Buffalo Soldier, which bears no resemblance with the Bob Marley song of the same name.
I can’t say I’ve heard much of Matisyahu prior to this album and I didn’t think I’d like this album. But I was pleasantly surprised. Even though Spark Seeker should not be confused for a reggae album.
Spark Seeker is now available on digital platforms. The physical version hits the European streets in about a week.