Following the success of the 2021 reissue of Ambient Warrior’s cult classic "Dub Journey's" (1995), Isle of Jura is pleased to present their unreleased second album, "II". The album was recorded from 1995 to 1999 and is born from the same oceanside fusion of instrumental dub, reggae, bossa nova and tango music that made "Dub Journey's" so distinctive and memorable; II is an equally sublime collection of eleven unheard tracks from the brilliant minds of Ronnie Lion and Andrea Terrano.
Evoking the delights of white sands, palm trees and sunsets, all set against clear waters and endless blue skies, "Dub Journey’s" and "II" document the golden moment when Ambient Warrior came together during the mid-90s to create some of the most Balearic Dub ever made. 'Music is the greatest traveller, isn’t it?' says Ronnie. 'It gets to places the actual artists can’t even get to really.'
The son of an orphaned Jamaican jazz trumpet player and professional boxer who enlisted in the military after stowing away on a boat to London, Ronnie grew up between Germany, Singapore and the UK before becoming a working musician in his mid-teens. A bass player by trade, he honed his skills playing in a series of soul, jazz-funk, blues, rock and reggae bands that performed throughout the UK.
By the time Ambient Warrior released "Dub Journey’s", Ronnie and his business partner Ras Joseph were running the Lion Inc. recording studio and record label in Brixton, London. Having set up distribution arrangements with Roots Records (UK) and Semaphore (DEU/NL), they recorded and released a series of singles, compilations and solo albums from a who’s who of roots reggae artists, including Twinkle Brothers, Delroy Washington, Michael Prophet, Alton Ellis, Little Roy, and Ronnie’s own band The Amharic. 'Lion was a regular port of call for visiting Jamaican artists,' reflects Ronnie. 'When you were in London, it was on the route.'
An accomplished guitarist, producer and recording engineer from Trieste, Italy, Andrea grew up listening to Russian folk, Klezmer and the Italian harmony tradition in a Sicilian-Ukrainian family. After completing compulsory Italian military service, he moved to London to continue studying music. One night, he turned up at Lion Inc. and approached them about running audio engineering classes from the studio.
In Andrea, Ronnie found a collaborator who shared his desire to create borderless music that reflected the diversity of their backgrounds. 'I wanted to do something that had no boundaries,' Ronnie explains. 'If you’re working on a roots album, it has to sound a certain way, but with Ambient, especially in the nineties, it was just a license to let off. You could do whatever you wanted to do.' 'It was a melting pot of influences like London itself,” adds Andrea.
Although they wrote most of "II" at the same time as they were recording "Dub Journey’s", it took them several years to finish off the album. 'Things never got done quickly,' Ronnie remembers. By the time it was complete, Roots Records had gone out of business, leaving Lion Inc. without UK distribution. Not long after, their Brixton studio flooded, bringing the label to a close.
These days, Andrea continues to work as a session guitarist, recording engineer and producer in London. Over the last two decades, he has collaborated regularly with Basement Jaxx and released several solo albums. Ronnie, on the other hand, lives on a boat equipped with an onboard studio, where he has recorded a series of oceanic dub albums off the British coast. Twenty-eight years after the release of "Dub Journey’s", he recently started working on demos for a third Ambient Warrior album he hopes to record with Andrea in the not-so-distant future.
STAFF COMMENTSMax says:
A brilliantly diverse dub which removes itself from the cultural confines of Jamaica, allowing the producers more freedom to incorporate global influences and explore new landscapes within the dub genre. A masterpiece!
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