Tag Archives: Professor Skank

From Kingston via London to Athens on Professor Skank’s new album

artworks-000072567698-c2md7k-t500x500On Greek producer Professor Skank’s second album Digital Revolution old meets new and traditional goes progressive. Reggae, particularly the heavyweight UK dubwise kind, is mixed with traditional Greek instrumentation and melodies.

Professor Skank started his career with a four track studio in the early 90s and later worked with Mad Professor at his Ariwa studio in London. Zion Train, Max Romeo and Aswad where some of the artists he had the opportunity to record together with.

The skills he acquired working with Mad Professor where later utilized on his debut set Industrial Democracy and now he has taken his sound one step further. His Greece roots are showcased throughout the twelve tracks, especially on highlights such as Revolution, where a bouzouki is thrown in the mix with great effect, and the rolling Radio Freedom, a track with a wicked hip-hop inspired break.

Digital Revolution is mostly instrumental, even though MC J Fyah shows up dropping lines on two cuts and Earl 16 sings on the pulsating Money Pressure. Most of the vocals is however sampled, for example a dramatic speech on Greece’s financial troubles.

The experimental side of Professor Skank is also presented via tracks such as Jamming With a Hippie and Another Kind. The booming Champion Dub and album opener Positive Image, which uses the tough Kunta Kinta riddim, are also a bit radical.

This album is not a reggae meets zorba set. And the only glass that will be smashed is thanks to some of the ultra-heavy bass lines.

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Zion Train has taken reggae forward

UK dub pioneers Zion Train has been active on the reggae scene for more than 20 years. The outfit – with front man Neil Perch – begun as a sound system and has since then fused reggae and dub with a variety of different genres, including electronica and world music. They have of course also released straight reggae and dub tunes.

The recently released Zion Train two CD retrospective Dub Revolutionaries collects 24 tunes, and includes vinyl-only rarities and a previously unreleased radio session for John Peel.

The compilation starts off with their first single Dub Power released in 1991 and ends with a Professor Skank remix put out in 2009.

The majority of the tracks is in the reggae and dub vein. And these tunes are also the ones that suit my taste best. The ones influenced by electronica haven’t aged as well and might have sounded better when they were released.

I’m not sure that this is a best of album. Dub Revolutionaries is for me a varied introduction to Zion Train and their music.

However, whether it’s a best of album or not is the listener’s decision to make. These 24 tunes might not be my favorites, but the material certainly shows what a great genre reggae is for blending with other styles and influences.

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