MAGIC MIX

Dub . Reggae . Dancehall . Ska . Rocksteady

WEEK STARTING 22 Jun

Genre pick of the week Cover of Stand Up To It by Jah Mel & The Rhythm Factory.
Jah Mel is a recording artist, songwriter and musician from Jamaica. Beginning his career as a performer on the stage shows of the Twelve Tribes Of Israel of which he has been a member since his youth, Jah Mel made his debut sharing the stage with artists such as Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Freddie McGregor, Sugar Minott, Brigadier Jerry & Denroy Morgan. His writing credits include songs written for Marcia Griffiths, Cecile, DaVille, Itana & Jah Mali for whom he also produced tracks on his debut album "El Shaddai". As you'd expect, Mel has worked with the creme of JA's riddim section: Sly & Robbie, Steely & Cleevie, Earl Chinna Smith, Steve ‘Lenky’ Marsden & Donovan Germaine to who’s Penthouse label Jah Mel was signed.

Seeing himself as a musical bridge between the original reggae sound & the dancehall sound of today, representing what he calls the real dancehall revolution, merging the spirituality of the old school & the energy of the new school. "Guiding Star" and "Stand Up To It" are the perfect examples to reinforce this direction. Both songs were produced by Roydale Anderson and released slap bang in the middle of the 80s on his own, Andy's Records.

"Stand Up To It" pairs a bubbling rub-a-dub riddim to sharp off-beat keys while Jah's sufferers vox is evocative and fluid. The dub pushes all that clean 80s digital instrumentation to the foreground, and isn't a million miles away from the Jammy's dancehall sound only with much looser, wilder dub inflections like flailing tape delay and big reverb splashes.

"Guiding Star" instantly turns heads with its meandering piano line, while Mel sounds empowered and riotous on the vocal version. The dub, or 'Dance Mix' is another skilled display behind the dials, with more expressive tape delay and snappy reverbs creating a shuddering, heady dub that's worth the entrance fee alone.

Originals of this release fetch upwards of £300, if you can snag a copy. Jamwax continue our love affair as they officially license this true holy grail of 80s reggae for us all to enjoy... Get in! 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Jam Wax really do the do here, re-issuing some mid-80's holy grail type shit. Phenominal!

Conjunto Jovens Africanos

Nhu Djon / Volta Pa Terra

Continuing Ostinato's series of Cape Verde 45s showcasing diasporan bands that are staples in Europe's Cape Verdean communities, Ostinato Records presents timeless dance music for the summer by Conjunto Jovens Africanos, founded by Ze Orlando, a respected producer originally from São Tomé. Formed and originally based in Lisbon, the band fused raw Funaná rhythms from the Cape Verdean island of Santiago with syncopated electric guitars, raucous synthesizers, relentless percussion, and addictive vocals that kept their compatriots on their feet across little known Krioulu nightclubs in Europe's major cities. First released in 1984, Conjuntos Jovens Africanos' "Nhu Jhon" and "Volta Pa Terra" are stellar representations of modernized Funaná's endless energy.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Energetic percussion makes this upbeat seven inch on fire!

Dubheart Feat. Brassika Horns

Cool Under Pressure

Brand spanking new roots, dub & reggae from southern England. Dubheart spread tradition and heartfelt messages of peace, love, unity and resistance through a heady stew of contemporary roots reggae, delivered on live instruments with a hefty dose of dub in the mix. "Cool Under Pressure", their latest offering, is a ‘showcase’-style album where every vocal track is followed by its dub counterpart, and the vital contribution of the Brassica Horns - from rising London ska band Chainska Brassica - is another intriguing element that makes this album race ahead of the alro-rans.

Drawing on the foundations laid by Jamaican stalwarts such as Burning Spear, Dennis Brown and Culture, dub pioneers like Scientist and Jah Shaka, plus newer vanguards such as Tarrus Riley, Groundation and Conscious Sounds, Dubheart has crafted a distinctly appealing style that is very much their own, based on the organic presentation of their musical vision. Indeed, this fully self-contained five-piece is firmly engrained in the neo-roots movement of the present, with a sound that faces ever forwards.

The south coast-based band was first formed back in 1999, and slowly built a following through their intense live performances, which always harnessed a live dub element. Their first EP, “The Solid Foundation Rhythm,” issued on their own Karnatone label in 2011 and featuring dub mixes by Russ D of the Disciples, became a regular part of Jah Shaka’s live playlists. It was followed by the 7” 45, “We Chant,” featuring the band’s charismatic Bristol-based lead singer, Tenja (who originally hails from France), the track becoming an underground anthem in Japan (via Rob Smith, aka RSD). Dubheart’s first album, "Mental Slavery", was released in 2013, a momentous year that also saw the band win the European Reggae Contest staged by Rototom Sunsplash, leading to a European tour with festival appearances at Summerjam (Germany), Reggae Sun Ska (France), Overjam (Slovenia), Sudoweste (Portugal), United Islands (Czech Republic) and the Sardinia Reggae Festival, as well as Rototom in Spain. Then, in 2015, Karnatone issued the dub companion to "Mental Slavery", mixed down in a heavy dubwise fashion by drummer Gavin Sant, otherwise known as Fullness; the band was then invited to participate in the BBC television show, The UK’s Best Part-Time Band, leading to their EP of cover tunes, 2016’s “Full Time Pressure,” again with dub versions from Fullness. Part of the band’s appeal lies in its tightness as a recording and performing unit; when you see them live, you understand that this band of brothers is on a higher mission, united in their wish to use music as a means of upliftment. And that sentiment is entirely evident on "Cool Under Pressure". The melodic bass grooves of Mark Shepherd act as the perfect buffer to the furious rolls and expressive drum patterns of Fullness; David ‘Daddy U’ Mountjoy adds scintillating melodies on keyboards, including some delightful Wurlitzer lines, and Richard Ramsey’s guitar licks tend towards the understated, aside from the occasional solo pyrotechnics, as heard here on “Rocky Road.” And on songs like “Can’t Wait,” “Watcha Gonna Do” and the title track, the Brassica Horns add further melodic depth through fanfares of treble brass texture. With the rhythms laid entirely through live recording sessions cut at Fullness’ home studio in Bournemouth (with horn and Wurlitzer overdubs done elsewhere), "Cool Under Pressure" reveals Dubheart as a band on the rise, heading for unstoppable heights.

The dub deconstructions on the disc allow the listener to hear the exceptional quality of their playing, emphasizing each member’s individual talent, while the lyrics tackle subjects we can all relate to, with “Watcha Gonna Do” addressing social inequalities, “Can’t Wait” alluding to the refugee crisis, “Rocky Road” imploring everyone to hold strong in trying times, and “Rise Up” calling for direct action against the unjust system that rules our lands. Overall, the outstanding title track “Cool Under Pressure” really sums up the band’s ethos: the system may burden us with the stresses of censure and control, but our obligation is to stay true to ourselves and resist. And the music can help us to achieve this.


"Harmonies" is the new long player from underground super-producer Lord Echo. While his growing legion of fans clamoured for new material, Lord Echo descended into obscurity in the industrial backwaters of New Zealand where he lived alone and went completely insane trying to complete the record.  The new album solidifies his already distinctive mutations of reggae and rock steady with disco, African soul, techno and spiritual jazz. In other words, the Lord has returned from the wilderness with a bounty for his followers. Eat of the bread of life and enjoy access to his crazy World of Sound.
“I generally only work with people I know quite well personally - so this included Tony Laing (Fat Freddy's Drop), who is a long time friend and collaborator, Leila Adu - a fantastically versatile composer and songwriter, the excellent singer and producer Mara TK (Electric Wire Hustle) who I was living with at the time and of course the fabulous Lisa Tomlins, whose rendition of Thinking Of You by Sister Sledge was such a hit off the last record.”

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLtd LP Info: Double vinyl DJ friendly edition.

Augustus Pablo’s monumental "Eastman Dub" is back! Showcasing a vital selection of Rockers dub attacks built on the classic 1978 album “Let’s Get Started” by Tetrack (which Pablo also produced). Originally recorded at Channel One and Harry J’s and mixed by Sylvan Morris at Channel One it features a heavy set rich with xylophone, organ, piano, clavinet and of course, P's trusty melodica. Another classic Augustus Pablo collection from the golden age of Rockers!

Various Artists

This Is Trojan Dub

    Over the past few decades, Jamaican dub has proved to be one of the most influential of Jamaican music forms, inspiring a range of modern genres, from jungle to dubstep.

    This collection brings together some of the finest dub tracks from its heyday, mixed by its many of its most influential creators, including such luminaries as King Tubby, Lee Perry, King Jammy, Errol Thompson, Sylvan Morris and Scientist.

    As with the other releases in the new ‘This Is Trojan’ range, the stylish, distinctively designed package also includes a fully illustrated and annotated 16-page booklet, tracing the development of this ever-popular style.


    Various Artists

    This Is Trojan Roots

      Primarily focusing upon afro-Caribbean themes, notably the Rastafarian faith and the plight of Jamaica’s underprivileged, roots reggae dominated Jamaica’s national landscape throughout the mid-to-late 1970s, making major stars of such talents as Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Johnny Clarke.

      The latest release in the newly launched ‘This Is Trojan’ series, this collection showcases 40 of the most popular and significant Jamaican hits of the roots era, performed by many of the biggest names in reggae music. 



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