Tag Archives: Mungos Hi Fi

Mungo’s Hi Fi takes digital reggae into the 21st century

In 1985 vocalist Wayne Smith and producer Prince Jammy revolutionized reggae music with Under Me Sleng Teng, the first fully computerized riddim. From then on nothing was to be the same on the Jamaican music scene.

The genre digital reggae is usually referring to reggae produced in the mid 80’s to the early 90’s, and this genre has had much exposure during the last couple of years. Several great, and often obscure, titles have been reissued by labels such as Dub Store Records and DigiKiller. You have to have a heavy wallet if you want the original 7” instead.

Luckily enough there are a number of producers, musicians and artists that have been inspired by digital reggae and produce their own material with a contemporary touch, often with devastating bass lines.

One such outfit is Scotland’s Mungo’s Hi Fi, a soundsystem that now follow up on their 2008 album Soundsystem Champions with Forward Ever.

On this 16 track set they have invited 14 guest vocalists – mainly from Europe – to showcase their skills on dub-infused bass heavy riddims. Sometimes in a ska style, such as the versatile Soom T’s jazzy Bad Bad Boy, or the dubstep wobbling Dem No Like It where Omar Perry handles the microphone.

Forward Ever also includes classic riddims. The Sugar Minott dubplate Scrubadub Style is based on his tune Dancehall Style and revitalizes the Heavenless riddim.

Mr. Williamz rides another relick. This one is the Diseases riddim. He chats on technology improvements and how it has affected the music business.

With this fascinating and forward-thinking set Mungo’s Hi Fi shows how digital reggae sounds in the 21st century.

Forward Ever is available as CD, 2xLP and digital download.

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Skanking in the 21st Century

In the mid 90’s I was a huge fan of Californian so called skate punk bands. I loved the melodic intensity in songs like Bad Religion’s American Jesus or Pennywise’s Bro Hymn.

But these bands weren’t only playing punk. Some of them also incorporated elements of reggae, mainly ska. Kill All the White Man by NOFX and Time Bomb from Rancid are two great examples.

Slowly I drifted away from punk and instead started to explore my favourite bands’ reggae influences. That’s when I discovered Jamaican ska pioneers The Skatalites and the UK 2 Tone sound that emerged in the late 70’s.

I abandoned punk and begun collecting ska and, a few years later, reggae. Now I mainly listen to reggae and dancehall, but occasionally a great ska tune or riddim drops in.

My new mix consists of 15 contemporary ska tunes that have made it into my record collection. The tunes ranges from Mungo’s Hi-Fi’s digitalized Belly Ska riddim to Fay-Ann Lyons’ and Mojo Morgan’s tribute to the classic Rudy, A Message to You, originally performed in the rock steady genre by Dandy Livingstone in 1967.

Skanking in the 21st Century is made after the same recipe as my previous mixes – a continuous mix with no full tracks and some added sound effects.

All tunes are easily accessible on CD or mp3. If you like what you hear, please support the artists and the labels and buy the tunes.

Download Skanking in the 21st Century here (right click, save as) or listen in the player below. You can also check it out on Soundcloud.

So put on your dancing shoes and get in a dancing mood. Because this mix will move your feet to the skanking beat.

Artist – song title (label – riddim)

1. Marina P – Divorce a L’ Italienne (Scotch Bonnet – Belly Ska)
2. Ras Daniel Ray – Olympic (Scotch Bonnet – Belly Ska)
3. Ranking Joe – I Love Jah (Scotch Bonnet – Belly Ska)
4. Mungo’s Hi-Fi – I Love Jah Dub (Scotch Bonnet – Belly Ska)
5. Anthony B – Praise the King (Rootdown – Kokoo)
6. Louie Culture – Do Something (Rootdown – Kokoo)
7. Matthew McAnuff – Memory Hills (Rootdown – Kokoo)
8. Omar Perry – Ska Ta Fright (Corner Shop)
9. Fay-Ann Lyons – Lonely Girl (Supersonic – A Message to You Rudie)
10. Mojo Morgan – Rude Bwoy (Supersonic – A Message to You Rudie)
11. Skatronics Jamaica – Yah So (Skajam)
12. Burro Banton – Run the Street Red (Irievibrations – Work Off)
13. Luciano – Feeling For Love (Irievibrations – Work Off)
14. Jah Mason – Create A System (Irievibrations – Work Off)
15. Sojah – U R the Wife (Irievibrations – Work Off)

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Anti-vålds budskap från Pama International

highrise1Brittiska reggaegruppen Pama International släppte i mitten av februari skivan ”Highrise Campaign” med nio låtar byggda kring två riddims, bland annat klassiska ”Cherry oh baby”. Skivan är en anti-vålds demonstration där intäkterna går till ett antal välgörenhetsorganisationer för barn, bland annat Kids Company i London.

Det finns alltså två ypperliga skäl att köpa den här skivan, dels den fantastiska musiken, dels det goda syftet. Gillar du Eric Donaldsons hit ”Cherry oh baby” från tidigt 70-tal, så kommer du – precis som jag – att formligen älska de fem första spåren. Gästar gör bland annat deejay-legenden Dennis Alcapone, folkmusikern Billy Bragg och dubstep-kollektivet Mungos Hi Fi.

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