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ForwardEver covers music and life in San Francisco with a heavy dose of reggae. Edited by DJ Tomas, there's links to freelance writing work past and present, plus news and views on culture and politics.

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  • 07/22/10--18:02: Talking Marley Tributes
  • Since Bob Marley's passing in 1981 there have been countless tribute albums, cover albums and, in general, musical homage to the late reggae king. The results of these recordings have been as sublime as Bunny Wailer's Sings The Wailers and Tribute albums and as skewed as punk-reggae band Sublime's rendition of  "Zimbabwe."

    Sometimes the best tact for artists is to not sing Marley's lyrics at all. One of the best examples of this approach is Jamaican-born jazz pianist Monty Alexander's excellent (mostly instrumental) 2006 Telarc release Concrete Jungle. On the album Alexander lets his fingers do the singing (with occasional cameos by Luciano and Junior Jazz) as he and his band improvise and vamp up Marley's "Trench Town," "Forever Loving Jah" and "Crazy Baldheads."  Previously Alexander covered Marley's "The Heathen" and "Kaya" and "I Shot The Sheriff" on slightly more commercial Stir It Up release from 1999.

    Over the decades there have been so many Marley covers that it took British label Trojan three discs just to cover just the 1970s and early-80s output. Cornell Campbell, Horace Andy, Delroy Wilson -- they've all covered Marley music at one time or another.

    A surveying of fan favorites on the internet highlights just how diverse the Marley tribute offerings have been. For instance, web forum posters on   suggested: sax player Dean Fraser's version of "Redemption Song," "Hail Shanti" by Prince Lincoln, Errol Scorcher's "Sounds Of Honorable Marley

" and rub-a-dub DJ Brigadier Jerry's "Tribute To Bob Marley."

    Truly the period just after Marley's passing in the early '80s as dancehall was taking root in Jamaica yielded some of the greatest DJ dedications to the reggae king. A quick check of Roots Archives revealed the following: (listed as Artist – Title – Album)

    Sister Carol – Dedicated To Bob Marley [Black Cinderella]
    Louie Lepkie –Tribute To Bob Marley [Latenight Movie]
    Prince Far I – Tribute To Bob Marley [Heavy Manners]
    Sammy Dread –Tribute To Bob Marley [Sammy Dread Is Mr Music]
    Lone Ranger – Tribute To Bob Marley [Studio One Dj's Vol 2]
    Ranking Joe – Tribute To Bob Marley [Rebel DJ]
    Lord Sassafrass – Tribute To The King (Bob Marley) [Horse Man Connection]

    More recently reggae artists have continued to remind listeners of Marley's impact as on UK toaster Macka B's "Bob Marley" and roots singer Everton Blender's "Bob Marley" from his release Piece of the Blender.

    Another addition to the tribute album ranks is Putumayo Records' Tribute To A Reggae Legend (2010), an internationalist compendium of Marley music. The Jamaica Observer gave it props for its inclusion of Ghanaian singer Rocky Dawuni and fellow Africans Sierra Leone Refuge All-Stars. Brazil's Ceu and several Hawaiian acts also make appearances alongside US rockers Rebelution.

    Unfortunately the artists presented mostly lack Marley's sense of fire and conviction -- only Dawuni adds an edge to his cover version. The rest couch their songs in acoustic guitars and tepid performances. For an icon associated with Rebel Music and chanting down Babylon one wishes there were more than coffee-house renditions from these performers. The light touch does work occasionally, like on Three Plus' "Is This Love," which comes off gently sincere. Granted, Putumayo has made a significant commitment to Jamaican music through its many compilations. However, to stay relevant to Jamaica's revolutionary musical history, it would be nice to see projects like this take more risks and go deeper.

    Concluding this post, a somewhat obscure but absolutely cracking mid-80s tribute toast from two under appreciated DJs. Papa Finnigan and Junior Rankin made just one album and largely copped Michigan and Smiley's ouvure, but they did their thing with verve and fat Channel One riddims to bolster their tracks.

    Papa Finnigan and Jr. Rankin "Tribute To Bob Marley"


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  • 07/26/10--23:08: Review: Sound Iration In Dub
  • UK electronic dub outfit Sound Iration's 1989 album Sound Iration In Dub has been reissued on YearZero as a double CD with booklet, including many previously unreleased tracks.

    When it first appeared as a vinyl LP on the WAU! Mr. Modo label, Sound Iration In Dub dropped just as UK club culture was experiencing major sonic and cultural shifts: acid house and rave parties were blossoming and electronic music was revving up into a full-blown phenomenon.

    Sound Iration joined a growing army of UK electronic producers who defined a unique new chapter of dub reggae music. Along with Sound Iration groups like The Disciples, Rootsman, Alpha & Omega, Zion Train, Rockers Hi-Fi, Smith & Mighty, Blackamix and Dub Judah  each released dozens of albums and singles in the early '90s, which helped to reinvigorate roots and dub for a new audience.

    That audience included both old school reggae fans raised on established artists and soundmen like Jah Shaka, Mad Professor, Fatman Soundsystem, Aswad and Misty In Roots, as well as acid house fans and proto-junglists who had heard some reggae and dub snippets sampled in the rave and breakbeat club tracks of the day. Sound Iration In Dub would be one of the more original and authentic releases the emerging new dub scene had heard to date.

    Reggae sound system operator and pirate DJ Nick Manesseh (pictured left) and collaborator/bassist Scruff recorded Sound Iration In Dub in a West London studio between 1986 and 1988. With electronic drum programming, Scruff on bass and synth and mystic melodica riffs floating about, Sound Iration was both musically novel and steeped in the tradition of roots and dub acts like Twinkle Brothers and King Tubby that were popular on British reggae sound systems. But while British reggae music had been made primarily by first and second generation Jamaican immigrants and/or largely Jamaican music influenced, the new dubbers embraced a UK approach.

    Sound Iration In Dub was just that -- raw, minimalist dub tracks comprised mostly of looped bass lines, steady computer drum rhythms and echoing shards of piano, synth riffs and sound effects. The sound would later be alternately dubbed UK Steppers and digi-dub owing to the music's four-four kick drum patterns and digital composition.

    Sound Iration In Dub opens with the meditative and melodica-saturated "Iration Time," which fades in ceremoniously with mournful piano chords before deep bass notes drop down and anchor the track. "New Style" follows and is the most Shaka-esque number on the album. UK roots dub legend Jah Shaka was known for hypnotic and repetitious bass-lead tunes and "New Style" followed his esteemed blueprint expertly. "Satta Light" hinted at the dub-trip-hop music that would follow a few years later with its pseudo hip-hop drum arrangement, yet it was still heavy UK dub nonetheless. "Revelation Time" is one of the few disappointing tracks on the album with its unconvincing female vocals and standard arrangement.The creative "CTUFB" sounds like material that WAU label founders The Orb would approve of with its spacey effects and four-four drum patterns. The album concludes with "Dub Seal (Part 3)," a galloping track would have suited late-80s reggae singers like Junior Delgado or Colonel Mite.

    Disc Two of the Sound Iration In Dub reissue features unreleased, demos and alternate versions. One real gem is "The Storm," which features rainfall samples and a smoky arrangement that wouldn't sound out of place on a Massive Attack album. There's also fantastic first time airings of "Melody Dub," "Nasty Dub" and "Tubby's & Rock 92 Style," potent dub tracks that sound as weighty and dread today. "Charlie Roots" opens with the sound of a synth sub-bass octave drop for good measure -- a statement in itself of the creativity and technology at work. Veteran producer and scribe Kris Needs contributes the album's liner notes.

    Read more at Forced Exposure Distribution.
    Buy Sound Iration In Dub (2CD) at Juno.
    Download at iTunes.
    More dub resources at

    Listen on Soundcloud:
      Year Zero - Sound Iration In Dub Album by Year Zero

    Nick Manesseh Mix:
      MANASSEH Sound Iration DJ Mix by Year Zero

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  • 08/02/10--23:39: Checking It Live
  • It has been a very busy summer for live reggae shows in the Bay Area. From festivals to intimate shows, live reggae events have been frequent and plentiful. The last two weeks alone saw Tarrus Riley with the Dean Fraser band, Warrior King and Sweden's Million Stylez all pass through the North, East and South Bay Area. Mr. Riley had come straight from Jamaica's Sumfest concert to California, performing in Berkeley at Shattuck Downlow and then at the tiny 200-capacity Santa Cruz venue Moe's Alley. What a ting! More concerts beckoned, including Jamaica's most prolific recording duo.

    I had been anticipating Sly & Robbie's rare solo appearance in San Francisco for almost two months. The Riddim Twins were booked for two nights at upscale Fillmore District jazz club Yoshi's. It was an appropriate spot for a duo that has always represented musical innovation and instrumental virtuosity, the kind that demands a proper sound system and elegant venue.

    At 11 p.m. out strode drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Robbie Shakespeare, guitarist Darryl Thompson, keyboardists Franklyn "Bubbler" Waul and Steven "Lenky" Marsden, along with trombonist Nambo Robinson -- veterans all. Nambo played equally compelling roles as hype man, singer and soloist throughout the night.

    Opener number the Studio One-era rocksteady instrumental "Rockfort Rock" would be one of only a few "straight" reggae songs the band would play. The rest of the evening was given over to the kind of experimentation, extreme dubbing and multi-genre wildness that only Sly & Robbie could dream up. It was definitely "prog" dub -- meaning progressive, avant-garde Jamaican music. Quite an experience.

    Looking like an undertaker/bassist, Robbie commanded the audiences attention with quick fingering on his bass's fretboard. Later on in the show, he took the mic to cover Dawn Penn's famous "You Don't Love Me (No No No)," using one hand on bass and the other cupping his ear to keep in tune. But after "Rockfort Rock" the band transitioned into electro-reggae original "Hot Your Hot" and straight into another Studio One jam "Real Rock."

    This is where things got interesting.

    "Real Rock" started out as a rocksteady jam before changing tempo and stripping down into a baroque classical sing-a-long with Nambo operatically engaging the audience. He eventually wound the song into "Rich Girl," the Riddim Twins' ragga-by-way-of-Fiddler On The Roof tune. The song changed again into to a feverish steppers dub piece, which, lead by Sly, was further effected and rhythmically evolved into a type of Can-style prog rock jam. Some in the crowd were scratching their heads but the jam was not unlike some of their heady dub-electronic experiments with producer Howie B.

    Nambo (pictured left) would trade his 'bone for the mic on "Stallag," the Techniques label riddim, where Mr. Robinson did a great b impression. Surprisingly, this rub-a-dub era song was followed by another audience sing-a-long to Bob Marley's "Rastaman Chant," which is still one of the most powerful Niyahbinghi spirituals ever voiced. Other familiar songs such as Black Uhuru's "Shine Eye Gal," Ini Kamoze's "World of Music" and Leroy Smart's "Ballistic Affair" (see video below) were duly transformed from reggae into other forms. Hearing these songs in succession gave substance to the mighty catalog of hits built on Sly & Robbie rhythms.

    Steven Lenky Marsden (pictured left), creator of the Diwali dancehall riddim added a techno flair to "Ballistic Affair" as he and the band turned Smart's lament about 1970s Kingston violence into a futuristic rave dance tune. It was jaw-dropping evidence that this band could literally play any style, from foundation Jamaican reggae through heavy metal, prog and techno.

    Late in the set, Kingston vocalist Peter G made a cameo. The dreadlocked singer wasted no time in establishing his "lover man" credentials covering Cocoa Tea's "Tune In/Missing You" and Gregory Isaacs' "Night Nurse." The night ended with Dennis Brown's "Revolution" and signature instrumental "Call A Taxi." The band and crowd both ran out of steam and hour and half into the set. The band had just finished weeks on the road at various US reggae festivals and looked ready to get some deserved rest. The crowd had danced through every twist and turn of the beat.

    Overall, the night was a triumph of creativity and a showcase of Sly & Robbie's esoteric, eccentric and otherworldly playing. The audience seemed sated knowing they had witnessed a historic duo at their pinnacle.

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    id-lo res.jpg
    Modyfier -- one of the web's most interesting music blogs has posted my new dubstep mix.

    Recorded under the production alias "I.D." (formerly Dub I.D.), the mix covers recent melodic dubstep and tech-bass tracks.

    Modyfier is a space where DJs and producers explore the methods and "process" of mixing. Modyfier host RDN creates intricate original artwork for each posting -- truly amazing pencil prints (see above).

    Read the full synopsis at the Modyfier site.

    Or listen to the mix on Soundcloud.

    01. George FitzGerald – Weakness
    02. Jus Wan – Azure
    03. Scuba – Aesaunic
    04. Late – Bittersweet
    05. Low Density Matter – Blue Steel
    06. Kontext – Aeromonarch Attacks
    07. Sepalcure –Love Pressure
    08. Elemental – DeepChord
    09. Reso – Hemisphere
    10. Breakage – Open Up
    11. Beat Pharmacy – Nuclear Race Appleblim mix
    12. Dhyan Moller – Lost In 3s (DJG Remix)
    13. Daega Sound System – SOS (Original Mix)
    14. Arthur Oskan – Eggshells_XI Remix
    15. F – Spacewalker
    16. Instra:Mental – Tramma
    17. DFRNT– Tripped (Synkro remix)

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  • 08/18/10--23:50: Reggae Reading
  • Colin Grant, a BBC broadcaster, author and essayist, has an excerpt from his forthcoming book Bageye at the Wheel featured in the latest issue (#111, Going Back) of Granta literary magazine.

    I've been following the publication for about 10 years, and this is one of the very few authors of Caribbean extraction writing on the Jamaican expatriate experience in the UK that I've encountered in their pages. So, bravo to Granta and, what took you so long?

    The 13-page excerpt details the life, dreams and exploits of Bageye, as told from his son's point of view. Grant volleys back and forth between acute descriptive details and excellent Jamaican-tinged dialog making clear that life for the Windrush generation (post-WWII West Indian immigrants to the UK) was anything but sweet. 

    Here's Grant's bio
    Colin Grant is a BBC radio producer and independent historian. His first book, Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, was published in 2008 (Jonathan Cape/OUP). I&I: The Natural Mystics, a group biography of the original Wailers, will be published in 2011 (Jonathan Cape/Norton) and his memoir Bageye at the Wheel will be published in February 2012. 

     Read this excerpt from Grant's I&I: The Natural Mystics featuring an interview with Bunny Wailer on the dancehall concert Sting. 

    Also worthy of attention: Staceyann Chin's The Other Side of Paradise -- the Jamaican born, NY-based slam poet and TV host's memoir of her life in JA.

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    Ninja Tune, label, stable, tastemakers, beatmakers and curators of cool turn 20 years old this year. The UK indie dance label is going all out with a massive box set, in like, a box and everything.

    In the box you gets CDs, you gets limited 12" vinyl, you gets a book and many, if not all, new and exclusive tracks and remixes from their incredible squadron of Ninjas. 

    Some notable acts on the label include Mr. Scruff, Cinematic Orchestra, Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, Cut Chemist, Wagon Christ and Roots Manuva. Read a full tracklist here. They're also offering freebie tracks (after sign-up). Go ahead and grab this new one from experimental dubber Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug.

    Speaking of Mr. Rodney Hylton Smith, the madman ragga-fied South London MC and court jester of the British bashment scene known as Roots Manuva has a new album dropping September 21 on Big Dada.

    Featuring cover art (see left) by Greensleeves and reggae cover designer legend Tony McDermott, the album features digital reggae remakes of Manuva classics like "Proper Tings" and 'Lick Up Ya Foot," plus a brand new collaboration with Ricky Ranking on lead single "Jah Warriors." The original "brain splitter" and beans-on-toast addict comes wicked and wise on the new release with cohort and producer Wrong Tom providing the new rubs and dubs. Get "Butterfly Crab Walk featuring Riddla" here (via RCRDLBL).

    And while we're out here in leftfield, West Coast beatmaker and Coltrane relative Flying Lotus is dropping a new EP, Pattern+Grid World on Warp Records, and touring out West in September (see dates below). The EP drops Sept 21.

    Listen to "Camera Day" here. 

    Fly Lo Tour Dates:
    Sept 22 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
    Sept 23 - Seattle, WA - Decibel Festival
    Sept 24 - San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine 
    BELOW: Special bonus!

    Also on the beatmaker tip, this new Alex B mix of Mexicans With Guns from the forthcoming Friends of Friends Volume 3 comp out October 5!
    From XLR8R's blurb: For its third installment of the ongoing split-release series, the Friends of Friends label has paired up Texas' masked music maker, Mexicans with Guns, and German beatsmith Robot Koch. Each producer contributed three original tracks with their peers Mux Mool, Alex B, Salva, King Cannibal, Free the Robots, and Lunice handling all the remixes on the release's second half. Excellent artwork by designer Martin Allais (see left).

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    Jamaican director Storm Saulter's new film Better Mus' Come will be debuting in October. The film takes its title from Delroy Wilson's song of the same name, adopted by Prime Minister Michael Manley of the People's National Party as a campaign theme song in the 1972 General Election.

    The campaign pitted Manley's vision of economic socialism (aligned with Cuba) versus Labor Party's Edward Seaga and his alliance with the United States. The US did not want another communist nation in its backyard, and thus began proxy wars throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with disastrous results for frontline communities.

    Other Jamaican movies such as Rockers and Countryman have taken place during this time period, but none have probed the political underpinnings of Jamaica's crime and poverty issues with such raw authority. Expect more coverage as new clips and information about the film becomes available. For now...

    From the Jamaica Observer

    THE highly anticipated Jamaican movie, Better Mus' Come — a coming of age drama set in Jamaica's turbulent 1970's, against the backdrop of the Cold War — is scheduled to debut on local cinema screens on October 13.

    This movie is a dramatic telling of the Green Bay Massacre, ghetto life and political deception of that time. The first major film written and directed by infamous Storm Saulter, and the producers indicate that it should provide social commentary about the 1970's and the 2010 political atmosphere in Jamaica.
    Read their full coverage here...

    From the Better Mus' Come Facebook summary:
    Better Mus’ Come is a coming of age drama set in Jamaica’s turbulent 1970s, against the backdrop of the Cold War, a national water crisis, an energy crisis, corruption, and numerous murder scandals that gave birth to the polarized violence gripping the streets of Kingston both then and now. After months of incarceration as a suspected political agitator, Ricky is released. Haunted by the tragic death of his devoted young wife and paralyzed by conflicting feelings of guilt and loyalty to his political tribe, he tries to navigate his way through the minefields created by the constant social upheaval that seems to be ubiquitous in his community, while providing a better life for his 5 year old son.
    Better Mus' Come  Official Trailer:

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     Although I wasn't able to record and post audio for this month's Saturday Nite Rockers show on KUSF, the playlist is below.

    It highlights how many great new albums are currently out or forthcoming -- Luciano, Capleton, Duane Stephenson, the Dread And Alive comp etc... New roots is alive and well!

    The dancehall riddims are definitely bubbling hot again, and Tony Matterhorn is developing into a very interesting DJ / toaster, cut from the Shabba Ranks mold.

    Sarurday Nite Rockers Sept 4, 2010 Playlist
    (hear a few song streams below)

    Artist – Song – Label – Riddim/Album
    Duane Stephenson – Sufferers Heights (VP) Black Gold
    Duane Stephenson & Gramps – Rescue Me (VP) Black Gold
    Buju Banton – Innocent (Gargamel)
    Fiji – Send Me An Angle (Don Corleon) Minor Riddim
    Protoje – Roll (Don Corleon) Minor Riddim
    Lutan Fyah – Over Come Dem (Don Corleon) Minor Riddim
    Eljai & Capleton – Blessed (Jasic) Da Rebirth
    Capleton – Long Way (VP) Iternal Fire
    I Octane – Stab Vampire (Zoo Look) Dread & Alive
    Gappy Ranks – Heavy Load (Peckings / Greensleeves) Put The Stereo On
    Gappy Ranks & Beenie Man – Longtime (promo)
    Pablo Moses – Mama Yeah (Africa) Grounded Music
    Jah Cure – Every Corner I Turn (2Hard) City Life Riddim
    Sean Paul – Beat of My Heart (2Hard) City Life Riddim
    Assassin – Somethings Gotta Give (2Hard) City Life Riddim
    Queen Ifrica – Times Like These (2Hard) City Life Riddim
    Lloyd Parkes – Slaving (Trojan)
    Lloyd Parkes – Love Man (Keep Left) Slaving
    Luciano – In This Recession (VP)
    Horace Andy – False Witness (Minor 7 Flat 5)
    YT – Inna Jamaica (Roots Survival) Protection Riddim
    Mr. Diamond – Be Careful (Roots Survival) Protection Riddim
    Konshens – War Straight (Roots Survival) Protection Riddim
    Dugsy Ranx – Hold It Down (Jwizzle)
    Matterhorn – Run Out Ya (promo)
    DAngel –Come Over
    Natalie Storm – Bang Bang (promo)
    Busy Signal / M.I.A. – Sound of Siren (promo)
    Wayne Marshall –Careless (Yard Vibez) Badda Dan
    Iyara – Bad Dem Wish Me (Yard Vibez) Badda Dan
    Bling Dog – Next Level (Yard Vibez) Badda Dan
    I-Octane – Weed We Say (Yard Vibe) Badda Dan
    Nuffy – Yu Hold Yu Man (Fadda Weight) Mento Riddim
    Tifa – Nah Stop Shine (Fadda Weight) Mento Riddim
    Ageent Sasco –Prettiest Ting (Fadda Weight) Mento Riddim
    Busy Signal – Blaze Up The Herbs
    Bling Dawg – Jamaica Jamaica (promo)
    Bugle, Chevaugn Razz & Biggy –Summer Break (promo)
    Barrington Levy / Shaggy – Only You Hold Yuh Riddim (promo)
    Gyptian – Hold Yuh Chicus Edit (promo)
    Taddy P & Bunny Rugs – Monday Morning Blues (Gimme Di Bass)
    Dubkasm – Play I Some Dub (Dubkasm)
    Sound Iration – Melody Roots 2 (Year Zero)
    Jah Shaka – Lion Youth (Shaka)
    Fred Locks – Love & Only Love (Greensleeves)
    Rod Taylor – In The Right Way (Freedom Sounds)
    Carlton Jaclson & Upsetters – Dub History (Pressure Sounds)
    Junior Ross & The Spear – Judgement Time (Joe Gibbs)

    Tappa Zukie Judgement Time Version (Blood & Fire)
    Barrington Levy – Jah Black (Uptempo)
    Anthony Johnson – Tribulation Worries In the Dance 1984
    Freddy McGregor – Across The Border (RAS)
    Peter Broggs – Jah Jah Voice (RAS)

    Song Streams:

    Buju Banton "Innocent"

    Duane Stephenson & Gramps "Rescue Me"

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  • 09/08/10--22:39: Bassman Come Forward
  • Jamaican musician Taddy P plays electric bass like an electric guitar. He solos, plays chords and lays down the bass parts all at once on songs that unite jazz, blues and roots reggae traditions in a contemporary style. Now this bass man who backs up UK singer Maxi Priest for a living is ready to stand in the spotlight himself, a role he's been preparing for since learning his instrument as a child playing his father's homemade guitar with fishing line for strings.
    Taddy P may be a new name even for ardent reggae fans, but the bassist and song arranger is making up for lost time with a tremendous output in 2010, singles with Jamaica’s top vocalists and launching the Bass Ina You Face record label.
    Below you can watch a video for his song "Leave The Crumbs Alone" with Mackie Conscious and recent his collaborations with Tanya Stephens and Third World's Bunny Rugs (hear the track below) are also sounding nice. Taddy P adds his own flavor to these tracks with dynamic bass soloing that recalls the flair and musicianship of ska guitar master Ernest Ranglin.

    Taddy P is helping define a progressive new sound for reggae, a style that incorporates subtle outside influences but maintains a Jamaican foundation. Similar artists such as St. Croix's Midnite, NiyoRah, Pressure, Army and other Virgin Island artists, or Northern California's Groundation are forging this new ground.
    Taddy P and Bunny Rugs "Monday Morning Blues"

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  • 09/28/10--23:32: Legend Does Lincoln
  • Soul crooner John Legend saw fit to cover Prince Lincoln Thompson & The Royal Rasses and the Royal Rases classic "Humanity (Love The Way It Should Be".

    Legend does a spectacular job of honoring the classic roots tune.

    Check the video:

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  • 10/04/10--20:57: Sonic Headlines
  • Some music and news from the electronic, beats, world and rock world:

    Bristol, UK producer Pinch celebrate his label Punch Drunk's fifth anniversary with an excellent 2CD compilation. Worth The Weight sees music by PD vets Pinch, Jakes and Peverelist presented next to the label's latest roster additions Guido, Hyetal and Dubkasm plus established associates like Appleblim and Joker.

    Punch Drunk's sound has walked parallels with South London's DMZ: The two labels share a passion for presenting sparse, reggae-influenced sub-bass laden tracks on vinyl releases. But Punch Drunk has also branched out into techno and lazer bass territory, allowing experimental expressions into their fold. The comp is a great overview of all of this and more. Read my upcoming review in XLR8R (Dec/Jan) for more on the background and offerings.

    New York breaks and dub crew Sub Swara bring forth their new album Triggers November 9 on Low Motion Records with guest appearances from Dead Prez, Lyrics Born, Freddie Mills and more.

    Here's a download preview of the excellent, high energy hybrid dubstep track "Bend You" (courtesy of The Fader via Terrorbird).

    Fans of their previous album Coup d'Yah will note a significant evolution of their sound, its more intricate and headphone friendly yet still as potent for the club setting.

    Another cat who should be making a lot of noise in electronic circles real soon is outstanding Denton, TX producer Blixaboy. His sound marries lush electronics, abstract dub and bassy sounds in a bluesy twilight soundtrack.

    Download the killer single "Sci-Fi Jack" (via XLR8R).

    Listen to a stream his whole new album Kliks & Politiks (self released on Oct 19) here.

    His music credentials are deep too: He founded the Laptop Deathmatch competition in Dallas, TX, and was crowned champion at the 2010 SXSW Laptop Battle. He runs Dallas' Ableton user group and has performed with Glenn Branca's 100-guitar ensemble numerous times.

    How about those LA boys B+ and Coleman over at Mochilla. The film and music company have gone east and brought us the Sounds of Al-Mashriq: The Land Where the Sun Rises, a mix of music from Arabic North Africa and and Middle East. From the press release:
    Mochilla has had the opportunity to visit Lebanon and Jordan twice within the past year, as well as Egypt most recently. We were invited by our friends Nasser Kalaji and Laith Majali of Immortal Entertainment to play our music in Beirut and Amman, and to experience for ourselves how life is at this incredible cultural crossroads. Read more here...
    And get the free audio download here...

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  • 10/13/10--20:25: Syl Johnson Gets His Due
  • 1960s-70s soul man Syl Johnson never received the acclaim that artists like Marvin Gaye,  Otis Redding or Al Green received in their day, but Johnson was every bit as talented, versatile and memorable.

    Some listeners might have been introduced indirectly to Johnson's work via RZA's samples of his songs on Wu-Tang Clan albums. Tracks like Johnson's "Any Way The Wind Blows" are haunting and bluesy and fit the Staten Island crew's hip-hop aesthetic.

    Others may know his signature song "Is It Because I'm Black?", which has been covered multiple times by US, Jamaican and other international artists.

    Now, Chicago's Numero Group set the, um,  record straight once and for all with an expansive six vinyl and four CD box set,  Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology,  out on October 19. Advanced press information reveals that: 
    "Included on Complete Mythology are re-mastered versions of no less than twenty eight singles from the Twinight, Federal, Cha-Cha, Tmp-ting and Special Agent labels, the Dresses To Short and Is It Because I'm Black albums, ten previously unreleased tracks and detailed track by track notes from acclaimed music historian Bill Dahl."

    Altered Zones blog has a nice freebie from the release.

    Go there to read more about Syl Johnson and grab the tune: "I'm Talkin' Bout' Freedom."

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  • 10/13/10--23:33: Roots For All Seasons
  • This month ForwardEver received a tremendous amount of new music from some of Jamaica's greatest artists: Tunes poured in like rain from Sugar Minott (R.I.P.), Max Romeo, Cornell Campbell, U-Roy and Sylford Walker.

    We'll highlight a few of those releases here in a minute, but first we recommend that if you are in the LA area on a Wednesday, check out the Dub Club at the Echoplex (1154 Glendale Blvd, Echo Park). 

    For for the past decade Tom Chasteen, Boss Harmony, Roy Corduroy and the crew have been hosting the best West Coast roots, rub-a-dub and classic reggae showcase. Legends like Triston Palma, U-Roy, Rankin Joe, Welton Irie, Trinity and more have graced their stage. Last year Chasteen and crew released Return of the Rub-A-Dub, a documentary chronicling some of the rare Dub Club performances.

    They're organizing a massive Dubquake Festival October 16-17 (Michael Rose, Scientist, Sister Nancy, Heptones etc) , which should bring even more acclaim to their activities.

    Speaking of the DJ Godfather Daddy U-Roy, a digital release on October 26 pairs the legendary toaster with veteran vocalist Cornell Campbell on the single "Babylon You Wrong" for Zion High productions. The new roots style one-drop single rides an original riddim  featuring live guitar, drum and horn parts. Distributed by Zojak and available in the US at Deadly Dragon NYC. View the press page on the 45 Shootout blog for more details.

    If you've been wondering what's up with premier UK dub poet and author Linton Kwesi Johnson, this extensive interview in Voice-Online should catch you up on his whereabouts.

    UK dubstep/bass label Senseless has managed one of the bigger link-ups of 2010, a new recording with Max Romeo on the single "Protest of the M1."

    Romeo's voice has been the centerpiece of several dubstep tracks sampling his famous "Chase The Devil" tune recently.

    Senseless up the ante by releasing this exclusive original vocal by Romeo with remixes from Venezuela's Pacheko, Cardiff's Stagga and London's Rossi B & Luca. Roots fans may be disappointed by the lack of traditional reggae vibes, but if you like your rough bass, then nab the EP on November 11.

    Here's an audio preview of the Rossi B & Luca remix.

    Congratulations to New York's Wax Poetics magazine on issue 43, the Reggae Edition, featuring melodica master Augustus Pablo on the cover and deep interviews with Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs and a nice Bob Andy article. Well worth the cover price for this archive.

    Another group of New Yorkers who have been doing their part to spread original dubwise vibes: Liondub45s, formed by Liondub and Ticklah, a label which, according to Mr. Lion himself, "specializes in deep vintage dub and scorching roots reggae."

    In September they issued one of the last recordings made by Lincoln "Sugar" Minott. The tune "His Name" (LNDB45-002) is vintage sufferers style reggae featuring Sugar in meditative praise mode. Absolutely stunning work. Minott was truly a gem to the end.

    The single also features a fantastic Tiklah dub version. Victor "Tiklah" Axelrod has made a name through his organ and keyboard work with the Dap Kings band and Easy Star All-Stars.

    Look for more Liondub releases soon from Johnny OsbourneLuciano, Judah Eskender Tafari, Courtney John and other reggae legends.

    Here's a preview of Sugar Minott "His Name"

    Always busy Texas-based dub/steppers producer McPullish has linked with '70s roots vocalist Sylford Walker ("Burn Babylon," "Lambsbread," "Jah Golden Pen," "Eternal Day") for a new tune, "United" (CHA708) availableon his Charlie's Roots label in November.

    Walker (pictured left) is an artist who has been beset by hard times and homelessness throughout his career. Read his fascinating story in this interview from a few years ago, and also in this feature from March 2010.

    Listen to the stream for "United" on the McPullish Soundcloud page.

      Sylford Walker - United by McPullish  

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    Saturday Nite Rockers Radio
    Oct 16, 2010 Playlist

    Here's the playlist and audio links for this week's Saturday Nite Rockers radio program on KUSF 90.3 FM San Francisco.

    Saturday Night Rockers Oct 16, 2010 (part 1 - 60 minutes)
      Saturday Nite Rockers 10-16-2010 part1 by ForwardEver 
    Kari Jess – Show Love (digital promo)
    Sizzla – How Long (Subsonik/Chiney K)
    Mr. Vegas, Shaggy, Josie Wales – Sweet Jamaica (In The Streetz)
    Cornell Campbell & Uroy – Babylon You Wrong + Dub (Zion High)
    Torch – Real Love No Deyah Again  (Penthouse) Go Fi Har Riddim
    Davillle – Man Like Me Yuh Want (Penthouse) Go Fi Har Riddim
    Lutan Fyah – Woman Yu Stress Me (Penthouse) Go Fi Har Riddim
    Romain Virgo – Wah Dis Pon Me (Penthouse) Go Fi Har Riddim
    L.U.S.T. – Go Fi Har (Penthouse) Go Fi Har Riddim
    Dubmatix – Happy Ft. Tippa Irie (Renegade Media)
    Eljai & Capleton – Blessed (Jasic)
    John Legend & The Roots – Humanity-Love The Way It Should Be (G.O.O.D.)
    Mary J Blige, Busta Rhytmes, Gyptian – Anything You Want (Digital Promo)
    Junior Kelly – How Better A Go Come (VP)
    Tommy Mccook – Jaro (Impact)
    Sugar Minott – Praise His Name (Liondub 45)
    Tiklah – Praise The Dub (Liondub 45)

    Saturday Night Rockers Oct 16, 2010 (part 2 - 20 minutes)
      Saturday Nite Rockers 10-16 part2 by ForwardEver   

    Luciano & Mikey General – Hosana (Maximum Sound)
    Anthony B – Hold The Faith (Maximum Sound)
    Earl 16 – Signs & Wonders (Jam Tone)
    Ras Zacharri – Glory Of Zion (Jam Tone )
    Spragga Benz – No Way No How
    Barrington Levy –  Here I Come (Profile)

    (show continues)
    Tannoi – Worries & Troubles (Greensleeves/UK Bubblers)
    Daddy Colonel – Lyric Banton (Greensleeves /UK Bubblers)
    Mavado – Pon DI Ting (Seanizzle) Split Personality Riddim
    Serani – 1st Anniversary (Seanizzle) Split Personality Riddim
    Bling Dawg –Jamaica Jamaica ATM Riddim
    Busy Signal – Blaze Up The Herb ATM Riddim
    Terro 3000 – Gal Dem Wan  Mi
    ZJ Liquid – Some Gyal (Yard Vibez) Badda Don
    Iyara – Bad Dem Wish Fi Me (Yard Vibez) Badda Don
    Wayne Marshall – Careless (Yard Vibez) Badda Don
    I-Octane – Weed We Say (Yard Vibez) Badda Don
    Ras Penco – Fire Bun (digital promo)
    Bounty Killer/Tornado – Swag Like Dis (digital promo)
    Zion I & Rebelution – Many Styles (Gold Dust)
    Luciano – Surround By Hate (Swallowbird Production / VP)Home Sweet Home Riddim
    Sugar Minott – Try To Know (Swallowbird Production / VP)Home Sweet Home Riddim
    Mr. Perfect – As It Was Written (Swallowbird Production / VP)Home Sweet Home Riddim
    Turbulence – All For You (Swallowbird Production / VP)Home Sweet Home Riddim
    Duane Stephenson – Nah Play (VP)
    Bob Marley – Roots (Island)
    Bob Marley – Positive Vibration (Island)
    Earl 16 – Crisis (Tamoki Wambisi)
    Junior Reid – Oh Happy Day + Dub (Tamoki Wambisi)
    Scientist – Dematerialize (Greensleeves)
    Revolutionaries – Thinking Version (Pressure Sounds)

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  • 10/19/10--22:45: Spragga's Shotta Culture
  • Here's the excellent official video for the title track from Spragga Benz's new album Shotta Culture. Oddly, since this video was posted in July it has only received 146 views. What

    Amazing video, and amazing track utilizing a King Tubby sample

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    After hearing Gyptian's "Hold Yuh" (alternately spelled "Hold You") for the millionth time it made me think about all the other great songs in 2010 that received 1/10th the attention. Gyptian was recently nominated for both Soul Train and British MOBO Best Artist awards (update: he won the MOBO) in addition to ruling worldwide reggae and Billboard urban charts for the entire summer.

    I'm always proud to see a Jamaican crossover into the pop mainstream, but this song? If you haven't heard it yet, it's anchored by a cheap and repetitive synth piano riff that a four year-old could have played. The Village Voice blog reported that the song was actually based on an unfinished production.

    But like most effective pop songs simplicity was the key to "Hold Yuh"'s ubiquitous popularity. It certainly wasn't the song's thinly veiled raunchy lyrics. So while global dancers were preoccupied with a mediocre tune, a dozen creatively produced and technically excellent reggae songs went virtually unheard.

    Don't get me wrong: Gyptian is a gifted singer with many brilliant songs but here are ten songs that were light-years better than Gyptian's fluke hit.

    Mr-Vegas.jpg1. Mr. Vegas, Shaggy & Josie Wales "Sweet Jamaica"
    This big artist combination sees each individual shine in their own light. Wales represents the rub-a-dub '80s, Shaggy the ragga '90s and Vegas the pop-dancehall '00s but the three sound unified in bigging up their home island and refuting the gloom during and after the Dudas extradition. Riding a similar version of the Lecturer riddim as Sizzla's "Ride Fi The Money," this track is a catchy track that should have staying power through the years.

    duane-stephenson.jpg2. Duane Stephenson "Rescue Me ft. Gramps Morgan" (watch video)
    A highlight track from Stephenson's Black Gold album on VP Records in which Stephenson and Gramps from Morgan Heritage argue about which of them a mutually fancied gyal likes more. This song has everything: Heartfelt sentiment, fantastic duet singing, sweet background vocals and a soaring chorus -- "She is a good girl, and I never want to see her cry, her heart and mind and soul belongs to me..." Watch out 'cause you might find yourself inadvertently singing along with this one on the bus.

    spragga_benz_shotta_culture_front.jpg3. Spragga Benz "Protect Your Culture"
    This track is a centerpiece of Spragga's Shotta Culture album. The bass line on this hybrid hip-hop reggae tune is brilliant remake of Redd Holt Unlimitted's cover of The Miracles "Do It Baby," which was sampled by Boogie Down Productions on "Why Is That?" (among other hip-hop tracks)! Shotta Culture is chock full of burners but this one is the most immediate, the cut to get the club poppin'

    Gappy-Ranks-293x300.jpg4. Gappy Ranks "Put The Stereo On"
    Gappy Ranks is hands-down the Best New Artist of 2010. He came outta' Harlesdon, London, UK and just killed it all year with sweet Peckings-produced, rocksteady-based tracks like this one, which rides on top of the original Studio One's Hot Milk version.

    Protoje_shades.jpg5. Protoje "J.A."
    This Don Corleon-produced artist lives up to his name -- he's a scion for the new-school of pop-conscious reggae artists. Like Vegas's "Sweet Jamaica" this tune is a proud Yardie's ode to the island he loves. The riddim could easily be a radio crossover hit propped up by Pro's slick, staccato Bone-Thugs style flow. An artist to watch in 2011.

    Teddy P.jpg6. Taddy P & Mackie Conscious "Leave The Crumbs"
    Bassman come forward! In a year that saw bass legend Lloyd Parkes jump back into recording thanks to his son Craig "Leftside/Dr. Evil" Parkes, bass player Taddy P issued a string of scorching tunes featuring guest vocals from Maxi Priest, Bunny Rugs and Mackie Conscious. Check his timely bass soloing on this track. Another new artist who is improving and expanding reggae's repertoire.

    Ifrica.jpg7. Queen Ifrica "Times Like These"
    Queen Ifrica has the ability to take a song and turn it into a parable, which is her approach on this Jeremy Harding-produced City Life riddim track. Ifrica is getting more comfortable with her singing voice as opposed to her already established sing-jay flow. This tune is a perfect example of a powerful artist delivering the truth as Ifrica invokes Jamaica heroes Ms. Lou,  Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley; we really couldn't really ask for more in a reggae song.

    TajWeekes.jpg8. Taj Weekes & Adowa "Rain Rain"
    Taj's 2008 album Deidem came as a complete surprise and established the conscious one-drop singer as a leading candidate to follow in Marley's footsteps. His new album A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen continues to trod a humanitarian "afro-acoustic" reggae path. Like a more authentically rootsy than Michael Franti with better song writing than Ziggy Marley, don't sleep on Weekes.

    Toussaint.jpg9. Toussaint "Roots In A Modern Time"
    Toussaint may be a new name, but earned his stripes as innovative front man for Soulive. His debut Black Gold  (not to be confused with Duane Stephenson's album of the same name) indeed sparkles with spectacular compositions and a thoroughly consistent vocal effort. Toussaint is going to be nicing up the reggae scene for some time to come.

    mary_j_blige400.jpg10. Mary J. Blige & Jah Cure "Each Tear - Supa Dups Remix" 
    Ah Mary, Queen of Hearts and Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, and now, apparently, totally loving reggae remixes. Her last two or three hits have been remixed or covered inna reggae style and fashion to much acclaim.  This duo with Jah Cure really brings the best out of her tune "Each Tear." Cure adds a conscious, raspy Rasta edge to Blige's ballad like a sweet combination of savory and sweet musical foods. Can't say much more than 'play it loud'.

    These songs are all better than...

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    Reggae lost a major recording icon on October 25 as Gregory Isaacs passed away from lung cancer, he was 59.

    Isaacs had a prolific career spanning four decades and his "Cool Ruler" vocal style influenced scores of Jamaican and international singers. Along with Dennis Brown and Bob Marley, Isaacs was truly a reggae giant. He will be greatly missed. 

    It would be wrong to remember Gregory Isaacs as merely a soft-voiced romantic crooner -- he tackled social issues as often as love themes. "Set The Captives Free," "Universal Tribulation," "Slave Master," and "The Border" are all well known Isaacs originals that eloquently address physical oppression, poverty, striving... for a better Jamaica and spiritual redemption. Sure, "Night Nurse" was his signature song, but Isaacs was more than just the Cool Ruler, he was also nobody's fool

    Jamaican Observer: Tributes Pour In

    NPR Obituary and audio.

    From VP Record's press release announcement:

    (VP RECORDS, NEW YORK)  - The reggae community mourns the loss of one of its legends, Gregory Isaacs. Best known for his lovers' rock anthems, the versatile and velvet-voiced crooner was recognized by the international masses for his talent and contribution to music for decades, and remains an icon for the genre.

    Isaacs was born on July 15, 1951 in Kingston, Jamaica and gained appeal and acclaim in the 1970s and 1980s for hits such as "Night Nurse" and "Rumors." Nicknamed the 'Cool Ruler' by his fans, Isaacs pioneered his own sound by fusing traditional reggae with dancehall, thereby reinventing the genre and expanding its global fan base into what it is today. 

    "Gregory Isaacs leaves behind an iconic history and catalog that is unparalleled," reveals VP Records CEO, Christopher Chin. "He devoted his entire life to music and his memory will forever live on with us - through his music and the legacy he leaves behind."

    Isaacs fought a year-long battle with lung cancer before passing away on October 25, 2010 at his home in London, at the age of 59. Condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones during this trying time.

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  • 10/27/10--15:16: Bass Movements
  • The new digital EP from New York's hardest working dub-dance indie label Bastard Jazz Records is available now. "Hear No Evil Volume 2" features new tracks from Brooklyn's Dhundee, Midnight Lab Band member Oneman, rust-belt-fabulous producer Jugoe and ForwardEver's own Double Identity on the new dub-breaks tune "Jaharise."

    Head Bastard DJ DRM sez:
    "Brooklyn's finest boutique record label, Bastard Jazz, returns with “Hear No Evil Volume 2” - a follow-up to their long sold-out first volume, issued on 12” vinyl in 2007. Sticking to the same format, Vol. 2 showcases five genre-defying beat-oriented tracks from some of our favorite up-and-coming producers and extended musical family."

    Check the preview mix by Jugoe below!

       Hear No Evil V. 2 Sampler - Mixed By Jugoe by bastardjazz

    Speaking of Jugoe: He's got a killer edit of Jennifer Lara's "I'm In Love", a rare Studio One Disco joint produced by Coxsone Dodd in the early '80s. Totally refreaked, beefed up, bassed up, and ready for dancefloor shenanigans. You can grab it HERE.

    Our favorite new Ninja, Mr. Poirier has a killer mix of bassy things to download celebrating Ninja Tune's 20the anniversary. The Dubs for Ninjas XLR8R mixtape/podcast is " heavy on the bass and dutty vibes" highlighting the dub/reggae/dancehall side of Ninja Tune and Big Dada. Check track #10 in the mix-- it's ForwardEver's own Dub I.D. with the UK steppers style dubremix of Poirier's "Enemies"! Voila!

    Download the mix here.
    01 Roots Manuva "Organ Skit" (Big Dada)
    02 Roots Manuva vs. Wrongtom "Proper Tings Juggled (Instrumental)" (Big Dada)
    03 Roots Manuva "Dub For The Worms" (Big Dada)
    04 Roots Manuva "Styles Dub" (Big Dada)
    05 Poirier "Cool Baby feat. Busy Signal (Poirier Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    06 Sixtoo "Jackals and Vipers in Envy of Man - Part 2" (Ninja Tune)/
    Cham "Rude Boy Pledge (Acapella)" (Atlantic)
    07 Roots Manuva "Witness Dub" (Big Dada)
    08 Poirier "Let Them Hate feat. YT (Mungo's Hifi Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    09 Roots Manuva vs. Wrongtom "Rebel Art (Instrumental)" (Big Dada)
    10 Poirier "Enemies feat. Face-T (Dub I.D. Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    11 Roots Manuva "Double Drat" (Big Dada)
    12 Toddla T "Pum Pum feat. Double Kay" (Ninja Tune)
    13 The Bug "Angry feat. Tippa Irie" (Ninja Tune)
    14 TTC "Catalogue (Instrumental)" (Big Dada)
    15 Poirier "Trust None Of Dem feat. Burro Banton" (Ninja Tune)
    16 Erup "Click Mi Finger (Poirier Remix - Untrust Riddim)" (Ninja Tune)
    17 Poirier "No More Blood feat. Face-T (Megasoid Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    18 Diplo "Diplo Rhythm feat. Sandra Melody, Vybz Kartel, Pantera Os Danadinhos" (Big Dada)
    19 Poirier "Blazin feat. Face-T (Modeselektor Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    20 Toddla T "Sky Surfing feat. Wayne Marshall (Benga Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    21 Toddla T "Want U Now feat. Ms Dynamite" (Ninja Tune)
    22 Poirier "Wha-La-La-Leng feat. Face-T (Uproot Andy Remix)" (Ninja Tune)
    23 Coldcut "Man In A Garage (King Jammy Dub)" (Ninja Tune)

    More Ninja goodness here: Toddla T with champion ragga MC Miss Dynamite! A free track (via Fader Magazine). Grab it up!

    Its UK funky bashment at its best.

    Get all the info on Ninja Tune's XX US Tour right here. Standard.

    And just in time for the ghosts and duppy's it's Subatomic Soundsystem new track featuring Elephant Man! On “Vampires & Informers” Elephant Man delivers a ferocious portrait of Jamaica’s "vampire" politicians, "bloodsucking" informers, and the "military society" of the ghetto youths. New riddim is producered by New York's Subatomic Sound System with remixes from Dubblestandart, Stereotyp, Ming (of Ming+FS), & Kush Arora!

       Elephant Man - Vampires & Informers (Emch's Subatomic Soundboy Burial Mini-Mix) FREE DOWNLOAD by SubatomicSound

     Another UK badman Wiley, maker of his signature "Eskibeats," was  in Jamaica recently and jumped on Prodigal's new riddim called Showa Eski.

    Other artists on the riddim include Lady Chann, Ward 21, Natalie Storm, Einstein and Rage.

    But Prodigal was cool enough to let the public have a taste. Here's the Wiley cut for your enjoyment -- download "Its Wiley"

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    ForwardEver reviews the new album by UK breakbeat / dubstep innovator Maddslinky (a.k.a. Zed Bias). As seen in FACT Mag.

    Maddslinky Make A Change (Tru Thoughts)
    If variety is the spice of life, then Dave Jones is a spice junkie. His flavourful and diverse productions turn up the heat like a Thai red curry dish – the one with the red pepper warning on the menu. He’s impacted forward-thinking dance music from broken beat through garage and dubstep via his array of aliases and cleanly composed tracks, earning respect from DJs and fans alike while remaining a stealthy figure in the press; a paparazzi pet Jones is not. What he is a talented producer whose tunes swing like jazz dancers doing cartwheels to a soundtrack of punchy basslines and scattered snares swathed in rich Rhodes melodies. Whether he’s igniting garagey breaks as Zed Bias, exploring jazz fusion as Phuturistix, or niceing up bruk bass as Maddslinky, Jones is that cat whose beats always please.

    A decade on from his first Sirkus Records single, Jones’ Maddslinky project is still sidestepping convention and showing off his vibrant, soulful spices. His ’03 Laws of Motion debut album Make Your Peace is being reissued by Tru Thoughts simultaneously with his latest full-length, Make A Change. What’s shifted in the seven years between albums? A lot. The doors have been swung wide open to welcome in many new styles and collaborations to the party.

    Jones’ first project was firmly locked on the early ‘00’s rubbery broken beat style with tunes that featured trilling trumpets, staccato keys, floating flutes and fusion-fueled rhythms. Jones still managed to stamp the genre with an original touch, revving up compositions to 130 beats or faster and intensifying tracks with dirty bass stabs that paved the way for dubstep’s signature wobble a few years later. Peace was an instrumental affair save vocal contributions from Shereen Ingram and Kayo. But like Obama’s election campaign in ’08, Jones’ latest outing rocks the change theme on all levels.

    Make A Change is a vocal-lead affair from the get-go, opening with ‘Lionheart’, a skanking dubstep track featuring Ghost 1 and Heartless Crew’s Mighty Moe who come off like a combination of UK rapper Ty and Damien ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley. The track is proof that Jones has an ear for the street sounds he helped innovate. Corinne Bailey Rae back up vocalist Tawiah handles two sweet numbers, including ‘Further Away,’ a smoky soul burner that swells with lush string pads and a humming bass. And if bass is what you’re after, then another Jones – Ollie ‘Skream’ Jones – is aboard on the wild autumn anthem ‘50 Shades of Peng,’ a forceful techy dubstep number propelled by moody synths and curved bass waves.

    On the solo tip, Dave Jones’ instrumental tracks on Change are flawless, lead by uplifting modern garage track ‘Ruled By Your Motions’ and a confident nod to UK Funky, ‘Lost On Tenori Street’. The album builds to a nice climax with Detroit soul man Paul Randolph’s heartfelt ‘Inspiration Meditation’ and his experienced UK counterpart Omar’s resplendent ode ‘Special’. The latter sees Jones returning to the bruk-house format of Make Your Peace but injecting it with enough future programming pressure (not to mention Omar’s spot on gospel-influenced delivery) to carry the tune forward. Jones makes it look easy throughout, rolling out the beats and barely breaking a sweat. By going heavy on the spice, Jones has delivered a document that’s as tasty as it gets.

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  • 11/26/10--17:42: Watch That Sound
  •  If you're in the SF area, stop by Skylarking at the Skylark Bar on 16th Street at Valencia this Monday the 29th of November.

    ForwardEver's DJTomasSF joins Beatnok & Mr. Lucky for a night of reggae music inna vinyl stylee -- crucial 45s, LPs, 10", 12" discomix single in the mix!

    For all upcoming DJ Tomas SF gigz visit this LINK.
    Saddled with debt from his recent hung-jury verdict trial, the newly out-on-bail Buju Banton was denied a request to perform live by a judge in Florida. Buju's next trial date is in February 2011, and his monthly bail expenses are reported to be around $20,000.
    Purple coifed singer Etana will release her new album in February 2011. Free Expressions will show her range – from pop to reggae to singer-songwriter folk – which primes Etana as Jamaica's first major international crossover act in years.
    See a video for "Evolution," the new Ghetto Priest single on innovative UK label Reggae Roast. The label has released a string of strong singles and a great comp earlier this year.

    Each release comes with kicking dubstep and dubwise remixes and versions. "Evolution" comes with mixes from Rack N Ruin and Richie Phoe.

    1970s Jamaican dub pioneer The Scientist has mixed a new dubstep double CD album with a slew of UK heavyweight producers.

    According to UR: The first CD, Dubstep Originals features 12 unreleased tracks from producers including Kode 9, Shackleton, Pinch and Mala; the other disc includes Scientist’s mixes of the same rhythms.

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