One of my most anticipated albums in 2016 was former Aswad lead singer Brinsley Ford’s new album with Sly & Robbie. Unfortunately, it has been postponed until 2017, but the next best thing arrived the other day.
One Fine Dub is the dub counterpart to the yet to be released vocal version. This is an unorthodox and unusual approach, but very welcome.
The album is produced by Sly & Robbie along with Guillaume Bougard and mixed by Paul “Groucho” Smykle, a legendary engineer responsible for the innovative Dubrising released two years ago.
The set kicks off with the atmospheric Until Dub and the moody soundscape continues throughout the eight remaining cuts. Creation Dub, with its ethereal harmonica, is one fine example. One Fine Dub, with its militant drumming and apocalyptic synthesizers, is another.
This dub album certainly bodes well for the upcoming vocal version, a set that according to Guillaume Bougard needs to be hard and heavy with a Jamaican sound.
Sly & Robbie’s joint album with Japanese producer Spicy Chocolate was released in the U.S. last year and was nominated for a Grammy. The Reggae Power is an eclectic and contemporary album that is finally available throughout the world.
The Reggae Power is a various artist compilation brought together by Spicy Chocolate with support from legendary bass and drum duo Sly & Robbie. And they have invited a broad range of artists for this set – ranging from dancehall kings and queens like Ce’cile, Beenie Man and Mr. Vegas to the righteous ravings from Sizzla. On board the project is also a number of Japanese artists, including Crystal Kay, Thelma Aoyama, Miss Monday and Ryo the Skywalker.
It’s more dancehall than roots, and sometimes it’s more R&B-influenced pop than dancehall. Just listen to sweet songstress Alaine’s Wasn’t So Bad or Bitty McLean’s slick Anything and Everything. Two tracks directly aimed at the charts.
But then you also have rampant soca-fused cuts like Mr. Vegas & Chehon’s Dancing Time and Jason Sweetness & Future Fambo’s Party Time, a track where the title says it all.
You have to be seriously impressed by Sly & Robbie. Last year they dropped no less than three rough and tough dub albums and then they direct a set like this, which is nothing like dub. The Reggae Power is joyous, party-fuelled and should appeal to anyone fond of contemporary urban R&B and pop.
Sly & Robbie have recently been very productive. Last year they, for example, dropped no less than three dub albums and a combination set with Japanese Spicy Chocolate. And when 2015 has just started they have been heavily involved in two glorious efforts – first No-Maddz’ excellent debut album and now a new set from Omar Perry.
Omar Perry is son of the legendary production wizard and mixing virtuoso Lee Perry. Be Cool is his fourth album – or EP is maybe more accurately since it collects only seven tracks – and is his first four years.
Sly & Robbie are responsible for production and the solid Dub-Stuy crew from New York City have made magic behind the mixing desk.
Omar Perry has a style similar to more familiar artists like Jah Mason, Junior Kelly and Turbulence. It’s a rough mix of raw singing and gruff deejaying. In the effective album opener Can’t Stop Me Flow he explodes and is at his best battling the pulsating bass line and pounding drums accompanied by synths and horns. Blaze Ya Fire is in the same vein, and so is Nah Go A Jail Fi Ganja, even though it’s a bit slower.
But Be Cool is not all about dread lyrics and haunting melodies, a softer side is also showcased on My Shining Star and Love to See You Smile.
As usual with Sly & Robbie – it’s well-crafted, expertly executed and with intriguing arrangements and song structures. And with Omar Perry showing no mercy on the microphone there is need to put up a fight against a set like this. Just surrender.
The Jamaican band revival continues. It started about four or five years ago with successful bands like Dubtonic Kru and has since continued with Raging Fyah, Uprising Roots Band and Mystikal Revolution. And now it’s time for No-Maddz’ debut set. They’ve been around for some time, but has until last year only released a few singles. The singles from last year – Romance and Shotta – were the band’s best yet, and it might have been because of their new producers – Sly & Robbie.
Most of the contemporary Jamaican reggae bands have their own sound – Dubtonic Kru leans against funk, Raging Fyah leans towards pop, Uprising Roots is more rootsy and Mystikal Revolution has a rock twist.
Few Jamaican producers have such a distinctive sound as Sly & Robbie and they have successfully managed to transfer it to No-Maddz. And their new album together is Sly & Robbie in their prime.
Sly & Robbie Presents No-Maddz has powerful, erratic beats and playful sound effects set to beautiful vocal harmonizing. Check for example Modern Love Affair, a cut that share harmonies with Color Me Badd’s hit song I Wanna Sex You Up, released in 1991.
No-Maddz also borrows unexpectedly from Spandau Ballet and their monster smash True, which has a similar angelic vocal hook as Love Story. They also play with the melody and discofied groove from The O’Jays’ Now That We Found Love – probably best known today for the versions by Third World and Heavy D & The Boyz – on Ganja Stain.
Sly & Robbie Presents No-Maddz is a joy from start to finish. It’s cleverly produced and tailored to No-Maddz with engineered perfection.
On Sly & Robbie’s third dub album this year they have teamed up with veteran mixing engineer Paul “Groucho” Smykle, who mixed a few classics back in the 80s, including Ini Kamoze’s ground-breaking debut and Black Uhuru’s forward-thinking The Dub Factor.
Sly & Robbie are two of the main proponents of dub and have played on countless of dub albums and also produced and mixed more than a few. And Dubrising throws you right back when to a time when the duo started to make a name for themselves – the early 80s.
Dubrising is heavy as lead, yet melodic and refined. Paul Smykle uses quite a lot of vocals in the mix, so the original eight tracks from the likes of Bunny Rugs, Horace Andy and Chezidek can be recognized.
This album is not as sparse as two of Sly & Robbie’s more recent dub efforts – Blackwood Dub and Underwater Dub. It’s actually far from sparse. There are loads of instruments to play with for a mixing engineer. Apart from the usual bass, drums, guitar and keys, they have thrown in harmonica, strings and flute. Sounds like a real challenge for a mixing engineer.
The mixing is playful and Paul Smykle has created something of a meticulously coordinated chaos. Vocals coming in from the right, synths from the left, percussion from below and flute from above. It’s a joy to listen to and you are keen to know what will happen next.
Among the many highlights are the militant To the Rescue with its galloping drums, wobbling bass and odd sound effects and Freedom Ring with its haunting synths, hypnotic drums and ground-shaking bass.
Sly & Robbie have been in the music business for about 40 years, but they still manage to stay innovative and original.
After Underwater Dub and Dubmaster Voyage comes Sly & Robbie’s third dub album this year. It’s titled Dubrising and is mixed by Paul “Groucho” Smykle, who is probably best known for Black Uhuru’s The Dub Factor, released in 1983.
In a press release the album is described as “taking you back to the golden age of dub” and being “heavy as lead, yet musical and refined”. And just as Dubmaster Voyage it features dub versions of tracks by Bunny Rugs, Horace Andy and Chezidek, among a few more.
Dubrising drops in November and will initially only be available on vinyl. In addition to the 33 RPM edition, a limited audiophile version will be available on a double 45RPM 12″ pressed on heavy 180g vinyl.
Check how it sounds below.
The story behind Sly & Robbie’s second dub album this year is an amazing and beautiful one.
A few years ago Sly & Robbie’s management stumbled on Dartanyan Winston and his Youtube “videos” of remixes of Bob Marley, Sly & Robbie and several other Jamaican artists. They asked him to stop posting unauthorized content, and he immediately accepted. However, they had at the same time recognized his talent and offered him to work on a legit multitrack of a Sly & Robbie’s produced track.
Sly & Robbie liked what he did and gave this aspiring youth a challenge and sent him more music to work with. Robbie and the management guided him and helped him to channel all of his energy to make something that could be commercially viable and up for an actual release.
The result is the 13 track album Dubmaster Voyage, a set that features dub mixes of tracks by Bunny Rugs, Brinsley Forde, Bitty McLean, Al Campbell, Horace Andy, Chezidek and a few more.
This set and its mixing definitely sounds like a Sly & Robbie dub album. The original versions are deconstructed to the bone and then built up again with a big dose of grim effects and studio wizardry.
Highlights include the groovy Free Ride, with its swirling guitar and hypnotic bass line, and the pounding Destroy the Walls of Jericho!.
The 20 year old Dartanyan Winston was flipping burgers at McDonald’s in Ohio, U.S., when Sly & Robbie discovered his potential. He didn’t just twiddled the knobs on this album, he mixed a full-scale dub voyage.
World-renowned riddim duo Sly & Robbie have been involved in countless of dub albums – as studio musicians, producers and mixing engineers. For a number of years they kept a low profile, but it in 2012 the returned to the spotlight with Blackwood Dub, recorded together with producer Alberto Blackwood.
Now comes the next chapter in this musical relationship. Underwater Dub collects ten instrumental dub cuts recorded in an analogue style at the legendary Harry J studio in Jamaica with musical heavyweights such as Mikey Chung, Radcliffe Bryan, Daryl Thompson, Robbie Lyn and Sticky Thompson.
Focus is on drums and bass. And these two essentials are drenched with unusual sound effects and some studio wizardry with lots of echo and reverb. It’s slow and monotonous, and non-dub heads might find this release strange, or odd even, but for me it’s a real treat. Turn up the bass – the riddims twins are in full effect.
New York City global hit maker Shaggy has for his latest album Out of Many, One Music teamed up with successful production duo and riddim section Sly & Robbie along with Steven “Lenky” Marsden, probably best known for being the mastermind behind Sean Paul’s smash hit Get Busy.
The title of the album is a wordplay with Jamaica’s motto “out of many one people” and the 13 track set collects no less than 13 guest artists, including both reggae and R&B singers, for example Ne-Yo, Damian Marley, Tarrus Riley, Chronixx, Konshens, Beres Hammond and Tessanne Chin. An all-star cast to say the least.
Out of Many, One Music collects – just as Bitty McLean’s latest album – a number of familiar and vintage Sly & Robbie riddims, but also a few blistering ska blasters. But overall it’s contemporary rub-a-dub with retro sound effects, live horns and bubbling bass lines.
A late at night feeling is present on several tracks. On songs like All We Need is Love, Fight This Feeling and You Girl you’ll get an urge to slow whine your waist and rub shoulders all night long.
The strongest cut is however the slightly more up-tempo Deadly Love. This moody minor key masterpiece features impressive tongue twisting from Shaggy and his vocal interplay with Tessanne Chin and Peetah Morgan is brilliant.
Out of Many, One Music doesn’t have any monster hits like It Wasn’t Me, Boombastic or Oh Carolina, but it’s one of Shaggy’s most authentic reggae oriented albums yet and an impressively cohesive effort. It will certainly rock dancehalls from the Caribbean and the U.S. via Europe and Africa to Asia and Australia.
Legendary Grammy-winning production duo Sly & Robbie rally in artists from Japan, Jamaica and the U.S. for their new album Reggae Connection. With nine Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins the esteemed Jamaican drum and bass duo is no strangers to success and their music has changed the reggae landscape several times during the past 30 years.
Reggae Connection is the follow up release to their 2013 Grammy-nominated reggae album New Legend – Jamaica 50th Edition. This new ten track compilation features an eclectic group of musicians over Sly & Robbie’s riddims. The album’s first single Gangsta Luv is sung by the up-and-coming all girl Jamaican group KGN21 with dancehall legend Mr. Vegas thrown in the mix.
The set also features a number of cover versions, including a reggae rendition of Maroon 5’s One More Night from Jamaican songstress Nioma and a dancehall-flavored version of The Wonder Girls’ Nobody.
In addition to singers from their native country, Sly & Robbie have invited multiple vocalists from around the globe. Hawaiian roots-reggae singer Irie Love lends her emotive vocals to So In Love while with no less than four Japanese singers are featured on the album.