Thursday, March 11, 2010

Check It Vol. 7

Sizzla - Crucial Times [Greensleeves Records]

First this week is a certain matter of current times as I’m simply revisiting a point here. Of course you should know that Sizzla has a new album out, Crucial Times on Greensleeves and you should have already read the review also. It’s a decent enough album, kind of a blast from the past of sorts, produced by Kalonji’s original mentor, Homer Harris. OKAY, that you know, but what you don’t know is pretty cool also. If you bought the album digitally, then you probably aren’t aware of the BEAUTIFUL article inside by Michelle Geister as well as the very interesting pictures and such. AND if you actually bought the physical disc, then you probably are unaware of the extra tune which comes with the digital version ‘Mabrak’. The tune was around a few years back and it isn’t amazing or earth shaking or anything, it’s kind of a funky sounding Hip-Hoppish type of tune, but YOU, Sizzla fan, won’t care at all will you and you’ve already made up your mind to purchase it, haven’t you?

{note: I think ‘Mabrak’ may be an iTunes exclusive, but as it even appears on the most languid of active iTunes, the Dutchie version, it is almost certain to be available in your neck of the woods}

Ginjah - Desperate In Need [Chiney K Productions/Summit Music Group]

Certified future Reggae star, the up and coming former Beres Hammond disciple, Ginjah, chimes in alongside Chiney K with Desperate In Need, a single for the tragedy in Haiti. Like most of Ginjah’s work to date, the song is very impressive sonically speaking and it also, fittingly, speaks to the terrible conditions in Haiti and how much exactly they need the help of the world. Of course I could tell you (and I’m going to) to well pay attention to Ginjah and his career, but also, if you haven’t already, take note of what he’s saying and definitely help in any way you can (and I’m assuming that in some way the proceeds of the tune will go to help in some way, although I don’t have that on any official authority).

No Control: Spice Mas 2k9 [Island Traffic Entertainment/VP Records]

If you REALLY enjoyed what you heard on the Gutter Riddim album, its creators simultaneously give you this extra bit of craziness, No Control, which is presumably a recapping of the Grenada unit’s productions from last year. Not too surprisingly, the Gutter is well present here, with its two biggest hits from Grenadian artists, Lavaman’s riddim title track and of course ‘Wicked Jab’ from Tallpree. There’re also big efforts from the likes of Nnika Francis, my favourite 2009 new artist from Greenz, Kage (COLOURS AND BUMPAS!), former Grenada Soca Monarchs Luni & Electrify and most notably here, ‘Where Yuh Glass’, a downright DOMINANT track from the aforementioned inimitable Lavaman. I’m loving Island Traffic’s releases this year and hopefully Spice Mas 2k10 will produce a similar flood of compilations into next year (and if they wanted to, oh I don’t know, do an album for Lavaman, Tallpree, Nnika or Kage, well that would be just swell, wouldn’t it).

Pharfar Presents A Rubadub Sunday In Copenhagen [Food Palace Music]

I have be honest - I haven’t exactly been paying a great attention to Danish Reggae since the transition of Natasja two and half years ago (and although she was most certainly WICKED, I wasn’t the biggest fan even before) but apparently I’ve been missing out on some very strong releases, particularly from Pharfar and Food Palace (don’t ask, I don’t know). Well if I wasn’t paying attention at the Coolie Monster riddim (and I wasn’t for the most part), well I definitely am now with the release of this potentially OUTSTANDING new compilation A Rubadub Sunday In Copenhagen. With big tunes from elder and foundational artists such as Horace Andy, John Holt, Sugar Minott, Max Romeo and even Junior Murvin (and Half Pint and Johnny Clarke and Echo Minott and King Kong and Burro Banton) mixed with efforts from Lutan Fyah, Mykal Rose and Warrior King, what you may be looking at here actually, for whatever it’s worth with about a week and half down in March, is the best compilation of 2010. . . So far.

Vybz Kartel - Pon Di Gaza 2.0 [Tad’s/Zojak Worldwide]

Yes! Vybz Kartel’s new double album is out in both physical CD and of course digitally as well and I don’t actually hate it as much as I thought that I might, it‘s a definite improvement over the original. The question you should have is whether or not it is edited - It isn’t. It is thankfully the explicit version. Of course neo-Kartel is no favourite of mine, but I do belong to a very small pack, so you may very well think this one is the greatest thing ever made, so by all means, enjoy damn near FIFTY of Vybz Kartel‘s most recent hits.

Imoka Riddim [Uplifting Music/Zojak Worldwide]

I’m still kind of getting used to how things work on the digital side of the music. Although I LOVE the format, I do have to admit that it can present a few problems, such as releases/albums just up and vanishing all of a sudden. That was the case with this absolutely GORGEOUS piece, the Imoka Riddim of a couple of years back or so, from Uplifting Music, I had my eye on it for a minute, thinking about picking it up and then it vanished for about six months or so. Well it is back and you, like me, should be keen on grabbing it up with artists such as Sizzla, Lutan Fyah, Morgan Heritage, Turbulence, Munga, Natural Black and Jah Cure amongst others (like Queen Ifrica) heading the biggest releases for this sweet minimalist riddim.

Incient Angel - Free From Sorrow EP [Roadz Productions/Strong Roots Projects]

Biggup the guy from (I think your name is Zalemm???) for indirectly putting me onto this artist and this release here. Incient Angel is a chanter from out of Jamaica originally (I THINK), now based in the UK (I THINK) and he’s apparently attracted quite a bit of attention which led to him releasing an EP last year for Roadz Records, Free From Sorrow. The release features the melancholy title track, the best tune here ‘Rolling Along’, ‘Oh What (which is unfortunately autotuned right into the cosmos)’ and a remix of ‘Rolling Along’. And apparently there is an album in the offering pretty soon and judging by this material along with some of the material to be fond on Incient Angel’s Myspace, it sounds like it could be something to look forward to, so if you want in on the ground floor, definitely check out the pretty decent EP.

Sara Lugo EP [Soulfire/Umberto Echo]

And lastly this week is everyone’s favourite painfully delightful Puerto Rican/German Reggae singer with an American accent, Sara Lugo, who last year dropped a self titled introductory EP for herself. If you don’t know Sara Lugo (shame on you), you’re most certainly about to get to know her better as she features prominently on (label mate, I believe) Naptali’s album, Long Journey (my ‘preseason favourite’ for Album of The Year). Lugo herself seems to be very nice and serene and such is reflected in her vibes, her EP features three such sweet tunes, ‘Familiar Stranger’, ‘Rock Steady’ (the best of the three) and ‘Mother & Child’. You may not be blown away by what you hear here, but I can all but guarantee that you won’t hate it either. So definitely if you’re looking for something to add to your latest digital order (or if you’re going to go mad out and just track down the physical disc), then definitely check out Sara Lugo’s angelic EP and get ready to learn more about the singer in 2010. Meet Sara Lugo.

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