Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Discography: Midnite

Midnite
Unfortunately (or fortunately), good or even semi-good common sense has never been a trait with which I've had a great deal of experience. Surely if it were, I wouldn't even attempt such a thing. Today we take a look at the STUNNING catalog of one of the most active entities in the entire history of Reggae music, pioneering Virgin Islands group, Midnite. Headed by Vaughn Benjamin - in all of its various forms Midnite has maintained a truly impressive release schedule to date and, in the process, have also not only endeared themselves to fans of the genre from across the globe in a major way (they may actually have the most passionate fans in all of Reggae music), but also, very likely, to fans of the future - history figures to be very kind to Midnite. The present and the past have also been kind, as we examine today. Discography: Midnite. 

{Note: Order wasn't something we stressed very much. And I wouldn't even be upset if we missed an album or two either} 

The music of Midnite 

"Unpolished" [Rastafaria - 1997]

The beginning. Way back in 1997, Midnite stepped up with their debut album, "Unpolished", which has always been regarded as a fitting title for the ten tracks involved, but I do like this album and I always have. Compared to what was to come, it's a fairly straight forward project and also one, particularly when you listen to a song such as 'Propaganda', which really showed where 'they' would eventually head lyrically. My favourite song on the album, 'Meditation [Babylon Fruits]' remains a favourite of mine even today and the album also contained personal winners for me such as 'Time and Time Again', 'Love the Life You Live' and definitely 'Kaaba Stone'.  

"Ras Mek Peace" [Wild Child Records - 1999]

It's burning. "Ras Mek Peace" is the first Midnite album which you'll find which is regarded as being a truly GREAT album by just about any one who has ever heard it in full. The discussion around this one was the unique way in which it was recorded, which was completely streamlined and just a recording of music playing behind a vocalist (the album, literally, sold itself with that being a major point - see the subtitle: "Before Reverb And Without Delay"). The results, on that end, were divine. It sounds outstanding, but that's a quality which quickly becomes an afterthought when you actually get into the music present. The ANGRY 'Pagan, Pay Gone', 'Lion Wear The Crown', 'Natty Watching You' and 'Rastaman Stand' were highlights for me, with the bookends of that group still being 'standing' personal favourites of mine.  

"Jubilees Of Zion" [Afrikan Roots Lab - 2000]

In the lab. "Jubilees Of Zion" not only holds the honour (to my knowledge) of being the first album from Midnite on the Afrikan Roots Lab label, but it's also the first . . . Anyone album on the imprint as well. Alongside that piece of extremely random trivia is the fact that this album has gone on to become one of the very most well regarded Midnite albums ever made, particularly amongst the more hardcore fans of the group (we're talking about people A LOT smarter than I am). For me, it is a fantastic album and, listening to it now, it's probably one of the most accessible Midnite albums to date as well. This album carried the very popular 'Ras To The Bone', and it also had 'Birthright Is The Ticket', 'Great Zimbabwe Walls ', 'Ring Out a Chant' (which I had completely forgotten about until digging in for this post) and other top notch tunes as well on an album which really was without a single soft spot.  

"Nemozian Rasta" [I Grade Records - 2001]

Right direction. Midnite's very first collaboration with the Virgin Island's finest label, I Grade Records, "Nemozian Rasta", is one of my personal favourite albums ever with the name Midnite somewhere on it and it's one I look forward to finding reasons to dig up occasionally as because of that. Later albums kind of change and get so varied that it's sometimes very difficult to find some type of 'prevailing' vibes, but here was an album which was just as THOROUGH and COMPLETE of a set that I've heard from Midnite. I could recommend any of the songs here, but especially 'Bless' [BOOM!]. This album brought the name of someone who subsequently go on to build her own legacy to the attentions of many - Dezarie - who featured on several tunes.  

"Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance" [Afrikan Roots Lab - 2002]

For a reason. In terms of its popularity, the "Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance" album (which was Midnite's second on Afrikan Roots Lab), hasn't aged very well - for albums during its time, it's easily one of the, if not THE least well known of the bunch . . . But it's also better than most of its peers and considerably so in some cases even. Things being different now, obviously, but this is one of the albums I'm most likely to recommend to newer fans because it was generally straight forward and also quite dynamic as well. The MASSIVE 'Ras For a Reason' was on "Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance", as was ["a tune called"] 'Late Night Ghetto', 'In 8', 'That's On You' and the sweet 'New Life'. 

"Assini" [I Grade Records - 2002]

Balance. I may not hold the "Assini" album in as high of esteem as I do its predecessor, "Nemozian Rasta", but this album, the second union between Midnite and I Grade Records was very much a powerful one on its own merits. What I most remember about this one isn't one unifying feature, but I go back to "Assini" because it featured a handful of big tunes and big moments. None were any bigger to my ears than 'Ises', although songs like 'Blaze Up' [BOOM!], 'Humble Wah?', 'Good Remnant', 'Piranha [Come To Feed]' and the stirring 'No Fear, No Sorrow' came damn close.  

"Cipheraw" [Rastafaria - 2003]

Go within. Midnite Branch I was a kind of a subgroup of Midnite, which featured on a few albums and definitely served up some of the most interesting spots in the history of Midnite in all of its various mixtures throughout the years. The ten tracked "Cipheraw" was their very first release and, if nothing else (although it did do something else), it has served as one of the signature COVER moments in the history of the group and, as you can see, scrolling around here, that's a HUGE occurrence. The album itself, while not a favourite of mine, had its moments. 'Sed Way' was the best tune to my opinion, but also check 'Who A Ga Do', the downright strange (and I mean that in a good way), 'The Outcome' and 'Least of These' which was excellent.  

"Intense Pressure" [Rastafaria - 2003]

Seek dub. "Intense Pressure" would be Midnite's first move into the genre of Dub music and it would come in a very nice way. The album wasn't a full fledged new set, but instead it was kind of a recap, for the most part, as its ranks are primarily filled with excellent dubbed out versions of previous Midnite tunes. I've never been the biggest Dub head, but some of this stuff, especially 'In 8 Dub', was undeniably fantastic.  

"Geoman" [I Grade Records - 2003]

Link up. I had heard this album from a long time ago, but "Geoman", which was so interesting, even before you got to the music on it, is a relatively recent addition to my actual collection (I think I got it in January-ish). I felt the need to actually track it down because a tune was on this album that I had almost no recollection of, 'Jah In Dem', a piece featuring both Dread Ites and Pressure Busspipe, which would have been some very early work from the latter. The entire album, as I alluded to, was unique because not only was it another run-out of Midnite Branch I, but it was a link between MBI and I Grade Records once again. The two songs I really did remember from "Geoman", the GORGEOUS 'People Iz I' and the frenetic 'Plureal' are also amongst the standouts, as were 'Crown Aim', 'The Valyou' and 'Doan Daly'.   

"He Is Jah" [Rastafaria - 2003]

Some more. Midnite Branch I was again active on "He Is Jah". This album has really aged very well and is probably better regarded today, some nine years following its actuation, than it was in the first few years of its 'life'. Why is that? My suggestion is that it's the kind of album which was just ahead of its time and requires a bit of time to really sink in and now it has done just that. This is an album from Midnite which featured a proverbial 'helping hand' lent by Ras Batch on the production side and, again, that is also a quality which is often reflected in his work as a whole. Highlighting this one was a title track which, although somewhat strange, is PERFECT! If you listen to that song the first time through, it's weird. The second time is probably still the same. Five spins on and you see how well everything fits on that tune. 'Drifters' was also not to be missed and neither were several others.  

"Vijan" [I Grade Records - 2003]

The purple album. Biggup Bredz who (make all of those mixed pictures, so big him up if you like them) (they're very useful) responded to my question of which was his favourite Midnite album with, "the purple one". And I knew which he meant immediately. "Vijan" may be the least known of the I Grade collaborations, but that can't be due to the quality of the music which is actually on the album, because there were some very strong tunes here. I thought this album started a bit slow, but by the time track #3, 'Cradle of Joy', rolled in, it was up and going in stride. The WICKED 'Thank The Lord' was also a big tune, as were 'Days Come', the all kinds of unique 'Economics Out in the Raw' and 'Scornful'. Still, however, when it came to the "Vijan" album, everything was fighting for second best outside of the powerhouse that was 'Structa'.  

"Project III" [Natural Vibes - 2004]

On new ground. It's so interesting going back and listening to the various styles of the various imprints who recorded Vaughn Benjamin & Midnite and Midnite Branch I (in this case) over the years. "Project III" wasn't the third Branch album, but it was the very first with a new label at the time, Natural Vibes, for whom 'they' would go on to do four to date (the same label did a great deal of work and while I do not know if they're still around, they also released albums for Sistah Joyce ["One pot a ital fi mi bredrin"], Jah Rubal and, perhaps most notably, Volcano ["it's like mo fyah chant, mo fyah chant, mo fyah chant . . . "]) (I digress). Here was an album which has now, unfortunately, gone largely forgotten in many respects, even more than the other NV albums and while I've never been completely in love with it, it had its share of good tunes which were topped by the musical gold bar that was 'Permit Zion'.  

"Scheme A Things" [Rastafaria - 2004]

Strongly. "Scheme A Things" has gone on to become, arguably, one of the signature albums you'll find on this list. I don't know exactly why that it is, because such a situation definitely tends to involve more than just the music on the album and similar albums, in many ways, haven't gone on to receive this level of attention and, ultimately, reverence. Personally, this album for me doesn't really kick in until its second half really gets going (although the single best song for me remains #5, 'Jahbok Wha Ova Dem'). 'Respek Dem Een', 'Babylon Dem Copy' and the likes.  

"Ainshant Maps" [Afrikan Roots Lab - 2004]

No drought. "Ainshant Maps", on the other hand, is brilliant or nearly so throughout. I've actually had a copy of this album probably from around the time when it first came out and the very first time I remember going through it, again - not being the biggest Midnite fan in the world and probably even less so at the time (and much younger as well), I was immediately impressed, but impressed not in the typical way. I was very impressed in a way which left me with countless mental notes to come back to someday. I've, of course, since done that and this album ranks now very highly for me. The title track tops a remarkable tracklist which also includes champions like 'Knocka Fia', 'Praise Jah', 'True King', 'Drought' and the BEAUTIFUL 'Judgment for Sentence'.  

"Full Cup" [Natural Vibes - 2004]

Changes. Ras L gets a full featuring collaboration on this record, "Full Cup", for Natural Vibes Records again. The results are a bit erratic and not amongst my favourites. There were so many songs on this album, seventeen, and there were just as many different full sounds as well. There was just too much going on for my tastes and I'm not the biggest fan of Hip-Hop and a great deal of it headed in that direction. Yet, there were a few big tunes to be found such as the opener, 'Sold Out', 'Money Mint' and the completely paralyzing 'Ganja Alagy' which is vintage Vaughn 'I don't give a damn what the riddim is' Benjamin. 

"Let Live" [I Grade Records - 2005]

Lead the way. "Let Live" well exists as a personal favourite of mine and it was THE album which, at least in my opinion took the Midnite/I Grade Records relationship to the proverbial 'next level', because this album would go on to be very well promoted and discussed in its day (even more so than other I Grade/Midnite albums). It was also excellent. Between 'Done Wrong Type', the fiery 'Haile Selassie I Rastaman Crown', 'Chantajah', 'All About What You Do' which featured Pressure Busspipe and Massiah, the cool 'Rastaman Life', 'Maize [My Ease]' and 'All My Life', it ranks as one of finest albums on this list to me. HOWEVER, 'Let Live' is truly best remembered as the album which brought us the spellbindingly brilliant tune, 'The Gad’, easily one of the most popular in Midnite's obese vault.  

"Current" [Natural Vibes - 2006]

Just vibzin. The third album for Natural Vibes, "Current", certainly wasn't the best that the union has produced. It kind of heads back to the route taken by its most immediate predecessor, "Full Cup", but not completely and it's a much stronger album than that one as well. The sounds are all across the board and you're going to be pulled in about a dozen differing musical directions, but it did find one or two winners along the way. My favourite song on this album has always been the completely skeletal 'Seashells', but I also liked the tune which comes just before it on the album, 'Word', 'Build Love' and even 'Jah'.  

"Jah Grid" [I Grade Records - 2006]

A high place. Although I don't rate it as highly as the "Let Live" album, "Jah Grid" is another I Grade Records set which I have found myself able to fully enjoy over the years and it is a highlight for me on this list. Although I'm unable to identify some type of unifying theme here which kind of attracts my interests (and you know I've tried), I look back at "Jah Grid" of being lined with tunes which have stayed with me throughout the years. ["open Jah door and"] 'Enter' was a big for me and it used to be my single favourite track on this album. There was also 'In Tent', 'Royal Habits', 'YHWH', 'High Place' and 'Third Eye', which featured Jah Rubal. With all of that being said, however, there's a song here to which I immediately go when I spin "Jah Grid", the awesome 'Before I Lose My Strength'.  

"Thru & True" [Rastafaria - 2006]

Thorough thought. Ras L would once again helm a Midnite album, this time for Rastafaria, and the results would be "Thru & True", which absolutely epitomizes every time you've ever heard people refer to Midnite's music as 'odd' or something like that. HOWEVER, these years on I'm kind of thinking that, specifically, that was by design. This one isn't a favourite of mine, but I today it find it (as a far more mature listener than I would have been in 2006-07) an album which really CHALLENGES the listener. It may've been too challenging and it's still largely inaccessible to my opinion, but it's something I'm a very much looking forward spending some years now attempting to digest, having once thought this album pretty bad. It isn't.  

"New 1000" [Full Grown Records - 2006]

Lights on. "New 1000" is another album on this list which has now been, essentially, forgotten by pretty much anyone who isn't a hardcore fan of Midnite. The Full Grown Records produced album is one which I literally haven't heard in maybe four years or so now, but listening back now, what I remember most isn't a tune or tunes or anything like that. What stands out is a GLOWING feeling. Almost every tune here (including 'Give Me Me Ganja', which featured the gritty and grimy Jah Rubal, who you'd probably never think of in this way, musically) gives you that emotion (and the cover does also). It was just a 'lighter' and more flexible sound from Midnite and one which is perfect for newer fans in my opinion.  

"Suns of Atom" [Fifth Son Records - 2006]

Special mix. I almost always get the music of "Suns of Atom" confused with the music of an album which is still to come on this list by the name of "Maschaana". Both are really good, but this album, the first of a beautiful working relationship between Vaughn Benjamin and Fifth Son Records and a collaboration with the Lion Tribe, may just be one of the most underrated on this lot. It's VERY good! I go back to this one I hear songs stand up like the RIDICULOUSLY captivating 'End of Doubt', 'Temple', which was a fantastic song, 'Inirie', 'Meltout', 'Moonlite' and the album's head, the MAMMOTH 'Wesside'.  

"Aneed" [Groundbreaking Records - 2006]

A one man army. The name Midnite, of course, is of a band and when you go to see them, you're going to have a full band playing, but when you pick up an album, "Midnite" generally means that Vaughn Benjamin is HEAVILY involved. Never before or since has that been more the case than on "Aneed" for Groundbreaking Records. He did have help from Donny Dread (who owned the label) and even Laurent 'Tippy' Alfred, but outside of them, EVERYTHING on this album was Vaughn Benjamin. He wrote the songs and sang them (DUH!), he probably made the riddims, he played the instruments, he did everything. Not my favourite album from Midnite, historically speaking, but having recently spun it again for the sake of this post, it probably sounds better today to my ears than it ever has previously.  

"Rule The Time" [I Grade Records - 2007]

The symbol. LOVE IT! "Rule The Time" is and has been one of the strongest Midnite albums I've heard from the very first spin through and it, up until recently on an album I cannot wait to talk about (because it's close to the end!), it stood out for me as being perhaps the single best promoted Midnite album to date in its actual time (I guess "Treasure" should be considered in that as well). As another I Grade Records album, it stood out musically as well, with big tunes sprinkled in throughout its well packed nineteen track body. 'Stretch Out', 'His Majesty' and 'In HIM' set the stage for a spectacular second half which featured 'Simbal is the Leaf', 'Jah Love Is Amazing', 'Come Een', 'Good Thoughts' and the album's lasting conquering track to my ears, the devastating 'Again A Lion'. BOOM! 

"Better World Rasta" [Rastar Records - 2007]

Friendships. Who would've known exactly what was started when, back in 2007, "Better World Rasta" was released via Rastar Records. The album would become the first of a line of albums which, as of this writing, has yet to not only end, but cool in the slightest as Rastar would definitely become the most often visited musical stop for Vaughn Benjamin and the Midnite mantle. Besides being just the first of its kind, this album is also quite nice, a fact which I think has been forgotten by many people and, rather easily, one of the best of the lot. It was also very accessible with tunes such as 'Gi Dem', 'Ithiopya', 'Speak Up', the title track and 'Negus I Rastafari' (which was major!) leading the way.  

"Bless Go Roun" [Higher Bound Productions - 2007]

And roun and roun. Higher Bound Productions released the first of two Midnite albums in "Bless Go Roun" (they'd also release a decent compilation in 2008 featuring a few tunes from Midnite, Xkaliba, Ancient King, Jah Rubal and others) and while it wasn't completely well received and I wouldn't necessarily say that it has aged well, it wasn't a bad album at all. It was a bit strange, however, but it was an album which carried at least a pair of mighty tracks to my opinion, in the title track and a later, most colourful light, 'Gideon'. 'All Out' was another highlight from this album which may be slightly underrated.  

"Infinite Quality" [Lustre Kings Productions - 2007]

Right here. Unsurprisingly, I've grown in my appreciation of the Lustre Kings Productions debut of Midnite, "Infinite Quality" in the half decade from its release. I don't think it was even possible for me to dislike this album and I never did, but these days (and I picked through  this one extensively just a couple of months or so ago), I'm seeing a BIG album in there. Benjamin had previously done work for LKP and it seemed completely inevitable that they'd eventually link for a full set and here it was. Here was also a nice run of tracks like 'Mic Row Assemble' ["Marvelous Marvin Hagler versus Mustafa Hamsho"] [WHAT!], 'Stay With His Majesty' with Lutan Fyah, 'Dominion' and my lasting favourite tune these days, 'Right Here' ["right now"].  

"Maschaana" [Natural Vibes - 2008]

Barely. The "Maschaana" album was another for Natural Vibes and Ras L also and it was an album which, in more than one way, was barely even there. In terms of its actuality, coming when it did, it was largely overlooked and under-discussed and then when you actually got into the vibes, a great deal of it was very skeletal and thin - if it were an album completely sans music, I don't think it would have sounded very different at all. Of course, that doesn't really mean that it was bad, but it isn't amongst my favourites, though you'd have to be deaf to not recognize the quality of 'House of Behaviour', 'Sang Real' and 'Good To Me, Good To Be'. 

"Kayamagan" [Rastafaria - 2008]

Resilience. Definitely one of the greatest products which're born out of recording a billion albums is that one gets to work with a great deal of different talents. Here, we had a most interesting release in "Kayamagan", which was produced by former Scientist disciple, Desmond Williams, and has gone on to become a very well respected album. For me, as lofty as such an accolade certainly is, it's probably one of the best lyrical efforts from Vaughn Benjamin on an album, and you know that's saying a great deal. Songs like 'Her Clock', 'Resilient' and 'Unrehearsed' show this a great deal as does the MASSIVE 'I Chant'.

"Standing Ground" [Fifth Son Records - 2008]

A double. Throughout this post (now checking in at 3943 words), we see certain albums which, essentially, just change things in some way and while more of them are still to come, it would be completely unfair to look at "Standing Firm" as merely just another Midnite album. The obvious thing here is that, between two discs, this album spanned TWENTY-FOUR tracks for Fifth Son Records and in there was a strong album. If you weren't paying attention at the time, you can probably imagine the effect 'a double Midnite album' (whatever it would have been) would have had on fans and it did exactly what you're imagining and probably more also. The thing about this album, musically, is that it went as it should have. I don't even think it's possible to have REALLY taken in this album in its time apart from a superficial level. I'm STILL working on it and probably will be for quite some time to come and surely I'm no genius (far, farrrrrrrrr from it), but it really takes a lot of time to grab this one mentally. It's also pretty fun, I've gone up and down in my affections for it and one day I fully expect it to be a significant highlight for me - regardless of artist.  

"For All" [Sacred Sounds Records - 2008]

The changeup. In 2008 Vaughn Benjamin linked with famed Afrikan born kora player, Youssoupha Sidibe, to produce my choice as the most UNUSUAL Midnite album to date, "For All". Everything, everywhere is string based and oriented and what happens is you get an album sounding like a meeting of Midnite and ancient far east Asia. It's a style which doesn't very much lends itself to melody (at least not in the traditional sense) and really takes a mature listener to go through and get to the real source of. I've always had this one as something more of a DISPLAY of music rather than just an album and from that perspective I can really like it, especially in cases like 'Mercy Seat' and 'Selassie Bring It On'.   

"Live 94117" [Rastafaria - 2008]

For good ideas. I don't know what number we're at now, but you have to wonder what made it take so long for someone to get the idea to do a live Midnite album as "Live 94117" became the first of its kind. That was the attraction here and it did very well to my knowledge and continues to as one of the finest live action albums you'll hear from anyone in the genre which is woefully short on such projects on a world class level. 'I Chant' and definitely 'Proceed' highlighted.  

"Supplication To H.I.M." [Rastar Records]

For you. The second stop on the Midnite/Rastar Records express, "Supplication To H.I.M." remains one of its best to date also. I remembered this album as being rather slow starting, but becoming increasingly impressive as it went along and going back into it for the sake of this post and that's still where it is for me. By the time track #4, 'Make It In Time' rolls in, the proverbial ship has been righted and the balance of this album becomes as strong as anyone might hope. The title track is a sizable effort, but it isn't as large as 'Healing Zion Place' or 'Youth And Youths' which were the biggest takers for me.  

"Infinite Dub" [Lustre Kings Productions - 2008]

The next step. "Infinite Dub" was the Dub version of the album released just a year earlier, "Infinite Quality" and is now a pretty useful album. I don't go back to this one very often at all, but we now look at it as an example of a label, Lustre Kings Productions this time, really taken an unnecessary, but excellent, next step in pushing a project which would become even more interesting when it's second half arrived.  

"To Mene" [Rastar Records - 2009]

Most abstract. I never was the biggest fan of the "To Mene" album and time hasn't changed that for me. I am, however, now able to appreciate in a few more spots than before, but nothing significant has changed on this album which I'm still hoping to wake up one day and be able to enjoy, but it isn't looking likely. @"To Mene" is somewhat polarizing amongst more hardcore fans of Midnite than I as well and that's probably its legacy which, given just how many albums we're looking at, probably isn't too bad for it actually.  

"Ina Now" [Rastar Records - 2009]

Elixir. Any bad taste created and remaining following the "To Mene" album was quickly rinsed away when, twenty minutes later, the same label, Rastar Records released the followup, "Ina Now". This album, by contrast, has grown on me even more in the three years from its release and I'm now to the point where I enjoy it in full and I don't know if that's a subconscious reaction from so NOT liking the previous album (although you wouldn't think that the case after three years now) or if I just find it that good. I don't really care in either case why I like 'Ithiopia Millenium Deliverance', 'At Once', 'Choices' and the title track - I just do!  

"What Makes A King?" [Afrikan Roots Lab - 2010]

Going home. The initial attraction to the "What Makes A King?" album was that it was the first album since the middle ages to bear the name MIDNITE that was an actual Midnite album. Bros. Ronnie Benjamin and Vaughn Benjamin helmed the album which, on paper, had many reasons to draw interest. When you actually heard it, it didn't disappoint either. While there're better pieces in this post and there're several, I'm a big fan of "What Makes A King?" and I wasn't the only one, even outside of the major fans of Midnite. The very popular 'Emotions' was on this album where it was the biggest winner amongst more than a few others. Big big album.  

"Ark A Law" [Higher Bound Productions - 2010]

Blind ear. The most recent Higher Bound Productions Midnite album, "Ark A Law" wasn't a favourite of mine. It was another which featured a kind of minimalist approach, which would have made it largely unchanged to my ears if it were an a cappella production entirely and it was just a little off radar as well. On top of that, I don't know a great deal of people who even heard it. It has kind of seemed to stop by and continue its journey in some respect. That being said, it wasn't entirely without value. The two songs here which I was fond of were the opener 'Ansa Fa' and 'Law Of' which came much later on and listening to it now, 'Troddin Out' is also making an impression on me as well.  

"Momentum" [Fifth Son Records - 2010]

Nomen est omen. There're very few albums in Midnite's catalog which elicit[ed] very little response from me, good or bad, in any way at all. Here's one of them . . . Kind of. When I first heard "Momentum" I really didn't care for it and I didn't dislike it either. It just the next Midnite album - something had to be. HOWEVER, with that being said, the album has made a very steady climb in regards to my tastes in its two years and these days I am a fan and probably will be even more so in another couple of years. 'Very Many' - big tune! 

"Standing Ground Dub" [Fifth Son Records - 2010]

Dub appeal. Fifth Son Records was neither done with the year 2010 nor the "Standing Ground" album from a couple of years before as they next offered up the album's dubbed out counterpart. This album - I liked! While the original piece was the double disc monster, "Standing Ground Dub" was just thirteen of those songs placed together for one sublime Dub album which, obviously aimed itself at fans of the original, but can really be vibed by almost anyone in my opinion.  

"Treasure" [Rastar Records/VP Records - 2011]

The call up. There's something which is just really cool about being able to turn over an album from Midnite and see a VP Records logo on the back cover and it's something which could never be done prior to the arrival of "Treasure". The album was another from Rastar Records which FINALLY got the attention of the big label who helped in its distribution I believe. It maybe wasn't the ideal situation, but I don't think anyone who was a fan of Midnite minded in this case. The album, itself, wasn't a great one to my opinion, but it was closer to the head than the tail in carrying nice tunes such as 'Rastar', 'How To Answa' (which has grown on me) and 'Wise Mind'.  

"The Way" [Rastar Records - 2011]

Shuffle up. Certain albums will be remembered better and more than others. That's just how it goes when you put forty billion and three of them. That applies not only to Midnite, but it also applies to Rastar Records whose "The Way" album has really faded away just a year on from its release. You could make a strong album that it never actually popped up on many radars and you'll go from here forward and back to the "Ark A Law" album until you find any album which has done that to this degree. "The Way" wasn't a star, but it wasn't a flop either - it wasn't even close to being one - but I think here was another example of not many people hearing it. YOU pick it up though and enjoy the album's finest, 'One Ya', as well as 'Love Is Among', 'Neva Before' and 'Still Going Forward'.  

"Anthology" [Afrikan Roots Lab - 2011]

Where we belong. While you had to wait from before, five or six years in between occurrences, "Anthology", a bonafide genuine Midnite album, chased the last such project, "What Makes A King?" by only a year or so. Were you to ask me until very recently (like the last couple of months) which was the finer of those two albums, I would have immediately said the former. These days, I'm not fully sure as I was going to potentially review "Anthology" and dug into it for those purposes and saw what a outstanding piece of work it was. The album was topped in my opinion by the huge 'Jah Is The Ruler', but 'Rastafari Is King', the title track, 'Vengeance & Tears' and others shone nearly as bright for me. 

"Kings Bell" [I Grade Records/Andrew Bassie Records - 2011]

'Mongst I & I'

An eleven foot, six hundred pound tiger. "Kings Bell" changed the game. Leave it to I Grade Records to push up a promotional vehicle befitting a ROYAL level of Reggae music for an album which was already going to be the FOURTH of its kind in the same calendar year. The album became one of the most discussed from anyone of its time and it even had a song which birthed the very first official Midnite video (biggup Bredz). It would also reignite, at least for the moment, the interest of the Reggae media who (as you can tell if you check the work on either of the two next albums here) (can you believe I'm almost finished with this thing?!) (WHAT!) normally don't cover Midnite albums very extensively despite their extremely large and interesting fan base. The album officially came via I Grade Records but it was largely worked on by Jamaican producer, Andrew 'Bassie' Campbell and it was fantastic. 'Exalt The Crown', 'The Quickening', 'Peak Tension Time' ["a supernova in a stardust time"], the title track, keeping good relations with 'Mongst I& I', 'Jewel Inna Africa Horn' - all of them mighty tracks. And all of them taking runs at being second following the DEVASTATING [!] 'Black Mamba', which was the best song I heard from anyone last year. 

"In Awe" [Fifth Son Records - 2012] 

. . . is beautiful. The most recent Midnite album from Fifth Son Records, "In Awe", from just earlier this year is an album which is likely on its way to being forgotten and that's a damn shame, because I really, really liked that album and were the year to end today, I'd definitely find a spot for it on a 'Best Albums of The Year' list. If you still haven't picked up, check it out. Looking back, it's a pretty straight forward set and while it does have its spots of confusion (it is a Midnite album), it has no more and probably a lot less than most albums from this time. VP Records distributed.

"Children Of Jah" [Rastar Records - 2012]


'Children Of Jah'

The arrival. "Children Of Jah" is the most recent Midnite album as of this writing (although by the time we figure out how to post this thing, there'll likely be another) and it's still rather fresh in my mind. Basically what stands out here, aside from the wonderful music, is that Rastar Records took a next step in how they approached this one. There's a bit more chatter around the album than there usually is and that is a great thing. Keep talking about it and pick it up also, it's an album well worthy of your time.

Midnite
Go by a Midnite album! Or two! Or forty-five! I'm tired!

1 comment:

  1. HAILE SELASSIE ALL OVA MIDNITE !!!!!
    Give thanks

    ReplyDelete