Ten years have passed since German label Jahtari opened their doors and to celebrate this disrupt and Rooth have cooked up a highly addictive – yet eerie – fourth instalment in the Jahtarian Dubbers series.
Delay and reverb experts from five continents have come together for this 12 track set that blends psychedelic dubstrumentals with swinging vocals by the likes of Jah Screechy, El Fata, Pupajim and Cho Cho, who sounds a bit like France’s Marina P or UK’s Hollie Cook.
Unique is a tired expression, but I’d still like to use it when describing the sounds coming from the Jahtari camp. This is certainly digital reggae rooted in the 80s, but it sounds like nothing else. It’s like Kraftwerk has teamed up with King Jammy recording an album using a Commodore 64 in an abandoned warehouse outside Berlin.
Disrupt’s Chrono Trigger is similar to ska, but at the same time it has a completely different vibe. It’s a reggae-flavoured soundtrack to an 80s video game complete with an abyss deep bass line. And Pupajim’s Nobody Can Stop We (Dub At The Pub Dubplate) sounds like an Atari-version of the mighty Cuss Cuss riddim.
This album is something else, so if you are curious about the different side reggae you need to check it, but – as stated in the press release – be aware, the set might have your Walkman batteries run empty in no time.
One of the latest releases on German label Jahtari is a 12” from legendary Berlin-based mic chanter Paul St. Hilaire, aka Tikiman, who has previously worked with Rhythm & Sound.
Nah Ina It EP features four tracks where Jahtari Riddim Force, aka Rootah and Disrupt, have tweaked the bass beyond and below what could be considered as healthy. It opens with the title track. A cavernously deep six minute discomix where Tikiman chants against Raggamuffin Alex over a riddim reminiscent of the mighty Drum Song riddim.
The flip carries three cuts, of which Who Goes There is the real standout. Here Paul St. Hilaire flexes his fast chatting skills over a riddim that owes a bit to King Tubby’s legendary Tempo riddim.
Nah Ina It is vintage, yet futuristic, rub-a-dub with a distinctive and dubwise atmosphere.
One of the most interesting European labels today is Leipzig based Jahtari lead by Rootah and Disrupt, two dub heads that started in the techno scene, but nowadays produce forward-thinking reggae rooted in 70’s dub and the late 80’s digital dancehall craze.
Even though they are rooted in techno their sound also owes much to electro, hip-hop and 80’s computer game soundtracks.
On the label’s third installment of the compilation series Jahtarian Dubbers they have fine-tuned the echo machines and set the bass implant beyond the health limit.
The eleven tracks blends ultra-heavy dub instrumentals with skanking vocal cuts from Mikey Murka, Ranking Levy, Lee Perry, Jim Nastic, El Fata and the very versatile Soom T. The dub cuts stand on their own and are produced by John Frum, Monkey Marc, Jahtari Riddim Force, Disrupt and Rootah.
I dare to say that ten of these outings are pure gold. The only cut a little below par is the Dub Syndicate/Adrian Sherwood classic Secret Laboratory voiced by Lee Perry, because of the man’s spoken singing style, which I’ve never been fond of.
The rest of the compilation is epic. It’s organic, energetic, electronic, original and addictive. And a must for anyone interested in just how great reggae is, has been and always will be.
German reggae and dub label Jahtari has a special approach to reggae music. It might have to do with the founder’s background in techno music or their many hours in front of classic 80’s video games.
I’ve interviewed Disrupt – one half of the label – about his influences, the importance of technology and his all-time favorite video game. This interview is one of the most interesting I’ve done. Check it over at United Reggae.