Saturday, October 1, 2011

What I'm Listening To: October

"Zoukolexion Vol. 2" by Patrick St. Éloi [PSE Productions - 2008]


I've been meaning to work this one in some way because we definitely have to say THANK YOU and give appreciation to a musical legend who has transitioned recently. I was never the biggest of fans of Kassav, but so many people that I know and probably so many people that you know were and grew up on the music and one of the lights of Kassav has left us recently, the legendary Mr. Patrick St. Éloi. So, to celebrate I've been going through the only album of his I have and have never REALLY set down to spin intently. The second edition of his collection series, "Zoukolexion" features thirty tracks from St. Eloi and from my uneducated ears, the thing strikes me most is just how well done and COMPLETE this music is. It's very CLASSY material. I do, however, recognize a few tracks, mainly on disc two such as 'Magnifik', 'Zoukamine' and definitely 'Sweet Cherie'. This album and its predecessor (which I'll be picking up) are THE best way to learn about the music of Patrick St. Éloi now and hopefully their flying off shelves and hopefully someone, somewhere is putting together some type of further material (like a Vol. 3). And we definitely give thanks to Patrick St. Éloi for his wonderful contribution of his life's work to this music.


"Reggae Roadblock" [Caribbean Music Group]

A few years back, this very cool and useful compilation, "Reggae Roadblock" dropped in installments one and two and a little further on there was #3. What took me back here was the fact that the label, Caribbean Music Group, has been doing some recent digital work (which I can, hopefully, tell you about next week) and eventually I fell back in love with some of these tunes. Between the three you have the most complete and just the BEST compiling of Reggae music from out of Trinidad & Tobago that exists and it's really unfortunate that they (or someone else really, as if CMG hasn't done enough) don’t come around and really tap into that HUGE stream of talent which exists in Reggae in the country. But speaking of this particularly, you can expect just about everyone from the TnT scene who is even semi-well known a few years back and some with their biggest hits. Queen Omega, Prophet Benjamin, Khari Kill, Isasha & Million Voice, Royal Dainties, Jamelody, Marlon Asher, Zebulun and others. Everything you need was somewhere in between these three releases and that's still the case so check it out if you haven't.


"Stereotype" by Kes The Band [Kes The Band - 2011]

Still like a million dollars. And one wasn't enough. Still basking in the afterglow of having mashed up Soca Monarch stage to the tune of taking a Groovy Monarch crown, and then releasing an album to mark the occasion, Kees Dieffenthaller and co. of Kes The Band have . . . Done it again. Not on a Monarch stage of course (that'll be in a few months), but released another album before the end of the year (well before the end of the year0, "Stereotype". What you instantly notice about this album is that it’s more Pop infused/Techno than "Wotless" and that's not really much of a surprise or a deviation from what they usually do (and from what I can tell, it's been quite popular and successful for them). The promotion of the has centered around the phrase "Step out of the box", so you pretty much know what to expect there. Not a lot here for me and I'd be surprised to hear any of this material being pushed for Carnival 2012, but I respect and LOVE creativity and originality, even if it's something away from what I'm hoping for, so biggup Kes and if you're looking for a bit more spice in your Soca (what the hell is wrong with you? It's the spiciest music in the world), this is for you and probably in a big way.


"Crying For Freedom" by Zion [Skank Productions - 2011]

Biggup Bredz for (everything) actually pointing out that this one even existed really. It was just last year when Dominican born chanter, Zion, dropped his album, "Strictly Roots". That album, to my ears, was decent, it was pretty good, but I saw it pop up on 'best of' lists at the end of the year (I’m still working on it and I'll gladly review it someday if ever it strikes me as being exceptional) and now he's already back with a brand new album from the same label who dropped the last, the well respected Skank Productions, "Crying For Freedom". What you can expect on this album is pretty much what the first offered - the title. Really heavy and straight forward sounds with topics which come within the more usual frame of Roots Reggae music. It's there where I'm trying to put together to see if this one may, also, have more to it than on the few initial spins (sometimes I feel dumb . . . Okay pretty much all the time I feel dumb, but especially when there's an album that EVERYONE likes, but barely registers with me), but what I will say is that there is definitely some substance here so check it out.


The Game Riddim [Uzinadub Studio - 2011]

The tune on the Game Riddim from Uzinadub Studio which is likely to attract quite a bit of attention to its digital release is 'Who Is Kartel', the rather "not this again" shot at you know who from Blaze which, I have to admit, was pretty good albeit somewhat nauseating - But, hopefully those people who come looking for it will stick around for the real main event. There is other talent here such as Mathieu Ruben, Positive Young Lion and Braveheart. HOWEVER, taking top honours in this Game is Achis Reggae favourite, Kalash, who serves up the SCATHING 'Real Badman'. Kalash has been on pretty much everything these days (still waiting for an official combination with Saïk) and is blowing up, but he’s rarely, if ever, shown a finer form than on this big tune which real lays a challenge to 'Pran Pié' to my ears.

{Note: Have you ever seen so many logos on a cover???}

"Zouk, Rhum et Citron Vert" [Shark Entertainment - 2011]

'Se Y Inmé' by Tina Ly

And finally catching my attention early this month is a compilation only from a few months back, but one which has me feeling a bit nostalgic already. "Zouk, Rhum et Citron Vert" is a compilation presented by Le P'Tit Makrel Magazine, a French Caribbean cultural magazine - So obviously, as you can imagine, they deal with quite a lot of Zouk and here, they deal with it to easily one of the best Zouk compilations of the year (Section Zouk what!) (who!). Why? Stevy Mahy, Kénédy, Fanny J, Tina Ly, Tanya St. Val alongside JAMADOM (!), Talina and others (like Priscillia) all make appearances on the album. SERIOUS vibes on this one and, on the whole, it is dazzling!


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