Blend Mishkin – an Athens-based producer and label head honcho – has dropped his eighth album, this time working with six piece band Roots Evolution. Invited on the eleven track set is also no less than twelve vocalists from Europe and Jamaica, and several of the cuts are done in combination style.
Blend Mishkin has been making music since the 90s, mostly working with computers and turntables, but this time he decided to employ live musicians instead. And the result is an organic and pulsating effort with strong melodies and catchy hooks.
Survival of the Fittest follows the success of lead single Settle Down – with Exco Levi on the microphone. On the album the bouncy vocal version is followed by a devastating dub cut.
Blend Mishkin & Roots Evolution deliver a cocktail of past and present and included are both originals and relicks. Jammaroots & BNC make a funky version of Dawn Penn’s mighty You Don’t Love Me (No,No, No) and Georges Perin graces Headz Together and Daddy Let’s Slide with a soulful falsetto.
Survival of the Fittest is a solid and summery set firmly anchored in the soulful and funky side of reggae.
On 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.