Monday, September 5, 2011

What I'm Listening To: September

"Great Controversy" by Luciano [JetStar - 2001]

'Great Controversy'

If you wanted to call 2001's "Great Controversy" one of the finest albums that Reggae legend, Luciano, has ever done in his entire career, I'm probably not going to argue with you very much. From beginning to end the album had very few, if any, soft spots and it was just a WONDERFULLY put together project. It has, in retrospect, become a largely overlooked and nearly 'underground' piece of work for several reasons (not the least of which are the fact that it was released a month before the increasingly well regarded "A New Day" set), but while listening to some of these tunes today, it's hard to make a case for it not being one of his best really. This album found its way on my players, largely, in 'replacing' the latest Luciano album, "Rub A Dub Market" which only just recently feel out of my daily rotation. None of these tunes, really, are hailed as significant 'hits' today, but with tunes such as the title track (the album's best tune), 'Free The World' (BOOM), 'Road Block' and remakes of both 'Legalise It' and 'Rivers of Babylon', maybe we should just consider the entire album a HIT.

"Introducing Koloni" by Prince Koloni [Transportation Label - 2005]

I won't speak about this one too much (because I may just review his new album in a few days' time), but I'm still really impressed by the work done by Transportation Label this year which has seen a much greater presence international presence for the music from out of both Suriname and Guyane. We dealt with Little Guerrier from a little while back and these days I'm listening to two albums from a really big name from the region, Prince Koloni. This album, "Introducing Koloni" has recently gone digital, but actually originated from 2005 and it doesn't sound too dated actually. What I will say is that the album is very fascinating in that, it's pretty 'genre stretching'. Much of Koloni's early work was done in a style known as 'Aleke' and this album is an example of that. There's an Afrikan swing to it, there's Reggae, I hear some Soca (I hear Soca in everything) and this is just an intoxicating album. Definitely check its high point, the HEAVY 'Moro Wi e Proberi'.

"Fiery" by Bunji Garlin [Bunji Garlin - 2008]

By no means was "Fiery" the best album from Bunji Garlin to date (nor was it from his best season, even though he 'won' Soca Monarch that year and by won I mean "blatantly stole" it from his Wife . . .) (I still have issues), but I think that it may've been better than most people (named "Me") gave it credit for, in retrospect. The 'problem' with the album was its 'mood'. It just seemed like something that was forced, BUT listening to it three years on, while I can still see that (especially in the middle of the album) is the case, I'm more able to appreciate the good moments of the album. There was 'Bad So' ("mi alone versus dem!"), 'Bad & Famous' on the Lehgo Mi Riddim, the DAMAGING 'Mr. Murder' and a tune which I probably listened to (solely) for an hour or so yesterday, 'Feeling'. Oh and there's the title track which is still the best damn tune on the album. It's better than we thought.

"Over The Years" by Asante Amen [2011]

'More Fyah' w/Jah Thunder

Okay so, we had one of my favourite readers send us an album from someone whose name is definitely not a complete unknown to me, but at the same time, is just as surely no 'household name' in Reggae circles - Asante Amen. The album, "Over The Years" is billed as "the underground project" and, as it turns out, you can find it being freely given out, with the artist's consent, on several websites (including his Facebook and this one if Bredz linked it). What I heard on the album didn't blow me away, but was DAMN powerful material and certainly something that would be worthy of being put in a shop. However, we're well grateful for OUTSTANDING music in any form. This album is seventeen tracks of heavy modern Roots Reggae and Lover's Rock. The album also features Lutan Fyah on a later track as well as Jah Thunder and, to my ears, the Roots tunes are stronger, on the whole, but we've been having a good time with this album for a few days now - Take a listen for yourself (check a big tune by the name of 'Mek Mi Rich').

Get Album

"Another Level" [Monstapiece Entertainment - 2011]

'Brace & Wine' by Alison Hinds

'Lemme See De Rags' by Rupee

And lastly (I'm tired!) we have an album which, at least in theory, I thought had already been released. Each and every year, the wonderful people at Monstapiece Entertainment release their annual Soca compilation and while I was pretty sure we'd seen the installment for 2011, apparently I was wrong because here it is. "Another Level", just like every other edition from every other year before it, features the biggest tunes produced on the label from that season and they're usually jam packed with big vibes and big names. Checking in at a far more than necessary twenty-four tracks, "Another Level" also fits that trait well. Names like Alison Hinds, a suddenly flaming Rupee, Peter Ram and Lil Rick come to the surprise of absolutely no one, but also as usual, the album does offer its fair share of twists and turns (and I don't even know if I can call them that anymore because they happen so often), so also make appearances are Beenie Man, Konshens and even Gappy Ranks. If you like Soca music, you really can't go wrong here.

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