Review: Long running dub dons Nice Up! unveil a brand new talent on their latest: that man is Escape Roots, a Glaswegian producer and Mungo's HiFi's Walk n Skank resident who calls upon vocalist Dandelion to muse on the many different joys of ganga. Riding on classic dancehall rhythms with hooky guitar riffs and tumbling claps, Dandelion touches on toothpaste, butter, soap and the titular Ganga Socks. It's tongue in cheek, head in the clouds stuff that will have you skanking for days. For those who like it more stripped back, flipside "Version" is where it's at.
Review: Room In The Sky know how to serve up top notch reggae instrumentals, and few do them better than The Inn House Crew. There's a slight sadness to the forlorn melodica playing that drifts over "The Roach" but the cheerier nature of the chords mean you aren't allowed to wallow for too long, and the jangled drums and riffs are always keen to move you along. Flipside "Rathid" is a more classic roots cut with dusty drums and woodblock hits that bring the warmth.
Review: Although the titular track might have been somewhat spoiled by a certain TV advert, the rest of Gregory Isaacs' most well known album still stands up. Lazy reggae rhythms are permeated by sparkly synth work from Wally Badarou, which at the time was a brave and progressive move away from traditional reggae and toward the ensuing sound of dancehall. Isaac's own buttery, laid back musings are front and centre, crystal clear and delicate throughout, always complimented by dainty piano chords that sink you deep into a dreamworld. The production throughout is first class, too, making this a true classic.
Review: Jabesh and I David combine to great effect here for a selection of dubs that fuse the old with the new. There are classic guitars and drums on title track "Hold A Meditation" but the broad, smeared synth bass adds some contemporary cool that makes it suitable for a range of different settings. The "Dub" version has lush wet claps and mesmeric filter work before a tooting top line on "Rocktone Melody" gets you in a different state of trance. Closer "Rock To The Dub" sees I David show off his mastery of the studio buttons and rounds out a solid 7".
Review: Jah reins supreme over the four spiritual dubs that make up this roots package from Joy & Happiness. Sattalite's "Jah Praises" is a call to arms, albeit a gentle one, with impassioned vocals drawing your attention. Ant Henderson's "Sing To Jah Dub" is as echo drenched as dub comes and will leave you feeling lost at sea. Brother Dan gives himself over completely to Jah on "Jah Is My Strength" while things are pared back to a icier dub on closer "Strength Of Jah Dub". All hail the king.
Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz - "Higrade Skanking" (3:43)
Review: Nicko Rebel Music are back to serve up more top shelf skanking material after their debut release sold out in quick time. The EP introduces a host of debutants including Nadine Sutherland, Echoslim and Nicko Revel who sit next to the more established Mr Micah Williams, a Necessary Mayhem mainstay with skills to burn. Sutherland's "Dance Africa" is a rootsy roller with flabby bass and big trumpet lines accompanying her vocal work, which celebrates the glory of Africa, while B side "Higrade Skanking" from Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz does exactly what it says on the tin.
Review: The seemingly bottomless Greensleeves vaults turn up more gold here with two prime cuts - Wailing Souls' "Who No Waan Come" and Al Campbell's "Unfaithful Children" - that are treated to a first new pressing since 1981. "Who No Waan Come" is silky and sedentary as they come, with kick drums just about managing to propel things along beneath gorgeous doo-wop harmonies. The Linval Thompson produced "Unfaithful Children", however, is a more driven affair with authentic roots. Psyched-out effects, endless reverb and hits that ricochet around, making it a widescreen dub that draws you in and takes you along for the ride.
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