Review: Original copies of the original 1978 seven-inch of 12 Tribes Of Israel's debut single are not only hard to find, but also exceedingly expensive on the rare occasions they do come up for sale. This reissue then is well overdue. "Kill The Devil" is that rarest of things: an instrumental roots reggae workout that peppers a dancefloor-friendly groove with fluid piano, Hammond organ and jazz guitar solos. The flipside dub version - re-titled "Bury The Devil" - is also superb, with a stripped-back, reverb-drenched version of the track's killer groove rightly taking pride of place throughout.
Review: Na Zona, when transliterated from Portuguese, roughly means 'being in a specific place, occupying a zone and owning it.' That is what the Enchufada founder Branko does as he explores the world of club music from various different perspectives, including his own and those of close associates, on a second instalment of this fine compilation. His own music, edits and remixes were all done during lockdown in studios in Lisbon, Accra, Sao Paulo, London or Paris. That lends the music a global feel, with shimming synths and nice broken beat patterns all keeping summer vibes alive.
Review: ZAMZAM goes bang bang once again as the dutty dubstep label hits release number 80. Cause keeps it utterly filthy on the a-side with 'Hiss,' a heavyweight nobler with a menacing bassline that's so fat it wiggles as it walks. Crashing hits and sci-fi synth motifs make this a most astral crawler. 'Palms' has whirring synths and a bassline curried oceans below. Freaky vocal sounds are haunting and dark and add tension to the track as it prowls along through an utter wasteland. Atmospheric stuff, to be sure.
Review: To close the 3 EP reissue series of Neville King and Lee Laing's King & City label, the all female group Charisma are presented with their summer infused Lovers cut, Everything Is Fine.
Three Lewisham friends, Angela Richardson on lead vocals, with Geselle and Janie backing, were active from 1982 to 1990, but are really remembered for the early recordings made with Neville King. Their debut, Everything Is Fine rides the Lovers sound at its peak. Written with One Blood's Lloyd Robinson, with the rest of band of Robinson brothers providing the rhythm section, this is pure South London sound system music.
Recorded again at TMC (Tooting Music Centre) Recording Studios - working alongside the likes of Dillinger, Tradition and New Musik - Everything Is Fine rides a beautiful soul reggae rhythm as Trevor (Drums) and Lloyd (Bass) Robinson set the foundations, while One Blood provide the Dub mix.
A true love's lament, a song of hope, serenity and pure vibes. Label head Chuggy slides behind the mixing desk for an extended Discomix that stretches, loops and dubs the vocal and dub back forth, to close a glimpse at this uniquely British phenomenon, taking reggae closer to it's heart and soul.
Review: Cosmic Shuffling is a Geneva based combo who distill funk, ska and soul into their own unique sound. They last appeared with double a side ska 7" single 'Eastern Ska' and got plenty of people in the game excited. Now they follow on with another winner that opens with some brilliantly instrumental work. 'Short Break' has natty little riffs and swaggering drums, with a playful lead that takes you back to the heat of a mid-60s Jamaica when rocksteady sounds were all the hype. A shuffling ska rework takes care of the reverse and takes off with great horns from a six-piece band.
Review: Sagete is an Italian roots label making moves and now keeps rolling with a second real, this time from Daddy Freddy on tidy 7". His aggy vocal delivery makes for a real jump up beat, with angst ridden rhymes over roots dancehall beats. It feels utterly contemporary with the pixel perfect bass and laser-like synths firing over the face of the track. As energetic and confrontational as that one is, the dub workout on the flip is no less raw and visceral, with the production really getting your attention from the off.
Dub Hunters - "Never Give Up Jah" (Melodica version) (3:53)
Review: The second release on the fledgling Dub Hunters label finds the eponymous artistic duo of Marco Marastoni and Michele Iemmi link up with Dixie Peach. All instruments except the horns and kete drum were played by Dub Hunters themselves, and the pair also mixed it at Landscape Studio, so you get a fulsome Dub Hunters experience for this one for sure. It's fine mix of tradition and futurism, history and invention with nice congas, natty riffs and wobbling bass and drum combos. A lush harmonica version on the flip seals the deal.
Review: Edmond Gladston recorded only two tunes, and they both came back in the eighties. Both are early era dancehall jams that are earthy and organic like lovers rock but with some nice studio effects that give them that subtle sleek and futuristic edge. Both tunes are presumably about his love interests - for the first one in 1984 things were going well, but by the second one a year later in you feel things had maybe soured. Either way this is another crucial dub that pairs a fluttering lead melody and nice crisp hits with some storytelling vocals that tug at the heart strings.
Review: Sometimes known as Park Rangers, Japanese outfit Inokashira Rangers are the world's leading purveyors of unlikely, Hammond-heavy reggae cover versions. Since first emerging five years ago, they've served up countless surprise reggae takes on tracks from the likes of Pharrell Williams, Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Underworld. Here they continue on a similar theme by re-imagining New Order's throbbing, surging dancefloor anthem 'Blue Monday' as a cheeky chunk of turn-of-the-'70s rocksteady goodness. As usual, the band's organist is in fine form, playing mazy solos that track the vocal melody found on Bernard Sumner and company's 1983 original. Over on the flip they serve up something slower and breezier: a languid rocksteady interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', this time utilizing plenty of Wurlitzer organ sounds. Ace!
Review: J.C Lodge's 1984 debut album Revealed has become one of the most sought-after lovers rock sets of recent times, in part because it's super-soulful blend of boogie synths, sweet vocals and electronic reggae rhythms borders on sun-kissed perfection. Perhaps the most potent track on the album is opener 'Alien', which here is given the single-sided, re-mastered reissue treatment courtesy of German crate diggers MISS YOU. It's well worth picking up, with Lodge's impassioned, emotive lead vocal rising above a killer lovers rock groove, jangling electric piano sounds, kaleidoscopic synth sounds, chiming lead lines and sharp, summery disco guitars.
Must Get Remixed (feat Peter Youthman & ODG) (4:23)
Canada Airport (4:12)
Iztapalapa In Dub (feat Bungalo dub) (3:56)
Safe Guard (feat Blackout Ja) (3:55)
Dub De 13 (feat Joseph Cotton) (3:57)
Review: Manudigital's long awaited latest EP was written while the beat maker was on tour around the world. Those days of hitting 20 countries for 130 gigs seem a long time ago now, but the music does a fine job of aural globetrotting. Lead single 'Canada Airport' was writing in the waiting hall of said airport and is a real fusion of techno, dub and dubstep. It has a heavy bottom end and dynamic drum work with some futurist synth lines, and the rest of the cuts take similar forms, with menacing moods or more upbeat grooves shrining through.
Review: Time, apparently, does nothing to diminish the considerable legacy and relevancy of Bob Marley and his trusty Wailers band. Here we are, fifty years after they recorded some of their best material, and still collections of their music are in hot demand. Rebel's Hop: An Early 70's Retrospective captures the energy and essence of the young bands early years on four sides of red and green wax. It offers a fresh perspective on the evolution of the reggae sound as taken to the wider conscious by Robert Nesta Marley, Peter McIntosh and Neville O'Riley Livingston.
Review: This fantastic inaugural EP on Dende Sound finds the crew work together with MC Trooper for the first time. His red hot lyrical fire torches Bambaman's powerful riddims and aches to be played cloud on a serious sound system. The collaboration came together during many late night sessions in Brighton and has a positive, uplifting vibe of the sort we all need right now. The flip finds Bambaman serving up a more serious and militant dub style with plenty of echoes of classic melodica roots. 'Training Day' then rounds out the package with some future classic sounds in both original and dub format.
Review: Rough Signal Records have finally snapped up a man who has released many big tunes, most of which get heavy support from the famous King Shiloh sound system amongst many others. Mighty Profit is a big producer with a big sound and he hails from Italy, which is in something of a dub sweet spot right now. This tune is a special collaboration work from Rough Signal Records JPN and fuses his exclusive synth with Dub Kazman's signature bass line, some sick drums and percussion. The tune takes its name from the tumultuous times in which we find ourselves and sure provides some respite.
Review: The late, great Sugar Minott apparently recorded 'Heartical Respect' back in the mid-1980s with dancehall producers George Bell and Priest, though this is the first time it has officially been released. Minott's slick, soulful and rootsy voice is the perfect accompaniment to the track's punchy dancehall drums, sub-heavy bassline, clipped guitars, dark synth-strings and piano stabs. It's a fine track, all told, and it seems remarkable that it has remained unissued - or at least in the UK - for so long. The flipside dub-style 'Version' is naturally rather good too, with Bell and Priest eschewing Minott's vocal in favour of even weightier sub-bass and tougher dancehall drums.
Review: If you've not already picked up a copy of Mutaksuku Records' superb reissue of two of reggae musician Devon Russell's greatest Curtis Mayfield covers, we'd suggest grabbing one of these Juno exclusive white vinyl versions, which also happens to ship with a tasty wooden "45" adaptor. You may already know Russell's incredible '84 version of 'Move on Up', which re-imagines it as a languid, post-disco reggae-soul anthem that just oozes sun-soaked positivity. On this seven-inch, it comes backed by something equally as essential: the artist's lesser-known 1993 take on 'Give Me Your Love', which turns the much-loved song into a colourful, synth-laden trip through Balearic reggae territory. In a word: essential.
Review: Emotional Rescue are turning their attention to King & City, a label that dealt in the UK-rooted take on reggae, lovers rock, at the turn of the '80s. First up is this sublime cover of William DeVaughn's evergreen, much-covered soul classic 'Be Thankful For What You Got'. This take is breezy and hopeful, but still shot through with a certain sense of longing in the tight riddim backing up the sweet vocals. On the flip, Emotional draft in one of their favourite remixers, the mighty Lexx, to deliver a disco mix that teases out the original and amps up the dub-outs for maximum groove satisfaction.
Review: Poirier's new album, Soft Power, is a vibrant and eclectic affair, with the long-serving Canadian producer twisting a wide range of musical influences - think Afrobeat, deep house, hip-hop, Latin beats, dub and dancehall - into thrilling new shapes. This limited edition seven-inch single boasts one of the album's more forthright, club-ready cuts: mutant dancehall number 'Pull Up Dat'. It's undeniably potent, with semi-regular collaborator Red Fox spitting bars over a riddim rich in 90's US garage organ sounds and punchy machine drums. On previously unheard flipside 'Unity & Strength', Patexx offers a positive, auto-tune-enabled message of love and strength over the same weighty Poirier backing track.
Brentford Rd Soul Rebels - "30-60-90" (feat Dennis Alcapone) (3:01)
Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts - "30-60-90" (2:42)
Review: This super limited 7" features four original Gravity label artists and serving up their own respective versions of one original. Prince Alfonso & The Fever kick off with fat-bottomed swagger and earthy dub funk grooves, and Nestor Alvarez flip the script with more Latin percussion and bossa-style grooves. Brentford Rd Soul Rebels take you to a hot summer's day with their reggae soundtrack, and last of all Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts lead with a big sax line and hip swinging tambourines that all come underpinned by big bass. Varied and vital, it's a small bit of wax but it packs a big punch.
Review: The Mystery Booms crew have put together a limited run of what they call 'modern weird rhythms' from the Prince Stoner. 'Points' is filled with intrigue - its stuttering drums and bass lurching from one point to the next while heavily treated vocals appear and disappear like ghostly apparitions in the dark. It's warm and inviting but unsettling at the same time. On the flip, 'UV Dub' has a killer bassline waaaay down low, then icy hi hats up top and is all finished off with warped, mind melting pads. These are two fresh, killer beats for sure, however you want to categorise them.
Review: Italian label Bababoom serve up this brand new and essential roots 12" featuring vocalist and musician Ramon Judah, Roots Defender Horns and Dub Defender. It kicks off with 'Freedom Chant', a pained vocal riding over prickly dub beats that open mind and heart. 'Horns Of Freedom' then repurposes the groove and layers up some sultry trumpets to bring a different mood. 'Freedom Rock' then takes the tune into a lovers rock world with earthy and organic guitar plucking and 'Dub For Freedom' is the nice rolling closer, with fat drums and flabby bass inviting you in deep.