Saturday, August 24, 2013

Completely Random Thoughts #50: OUTLANDISH!

So while I know that I do not have to tell YOU, because you pay great attention, just in case others… who are not you, have yet to notice what a certain label from out of Spain, by the name of ReggaeLand, has been doing over the course of the past year and a half and beyond, we thought that we'd take a look back and one forward in one case at what has quietly been a very impressive run and give due credit to a label whom we hope continues the great work (a very, very long sentence that was). Though they had been well simmering prior to it (releasing at least three albums), 2012 proved to be a breakout year for ReggaeLand on the big strength of a very impressive quartet of new studio album releases from equally impressive vocalists. The set would also include at least one piece which would tune into a very nearly special level and be apart of a pair of its own for someone who had a huge year. ReggaeLand has also remained significant into 2013 and have wonderfully built upon the flames ignited last year. Let's take a look.

"Dancin' Shoes" by Malijah

First up was the debut album [I THINK] from the all kinds of interesting vocalist, Malijah (not to be confused with the flaming Malkijah from out of Reunion), "Dancin' Shoes". This was an album which was probably considerably better than most people gave it credit for being . Still, despite being as colourful and fascinating as its star, "Dancin' Shoes", at least in my opinion, was an album best described as SOLID. Songs like the sublime 'No Peace', 'Pressing On' alongside Jah Nattoh, 'Rastafari Clear The Way' (which sounded NOTHING like you thought it would), 'Things Won't Be The Same' and several others (like 'Ruling Sound') highlighted on an album which I probably should have reviewed at some point. Very nice.  
"Warrior of Jah Army" by Singer Jah

Next was an album I definitely did get around to writing for and for good reason. As move further and further away from its release date, "Warrior of Jah Army" by Singer Jah continues to progress and progress in terms of its quality. Another "solid" album, this piece highlighted and then made excellent usage of the somewhat unusual singer that Singer Jah is. It also left us with some really big material as well. The title track was the single best tune that I heard on the album ["we never get scared pon di battlefield, Jah is our guide and shield"], but it kept good company. Other tunes like 'Bloodsuckers', 'Prayers 2 Di Most High', 'No Giving Up' and the downright WATERY 'Life Continues' also stood out as did others. Probably the second best album ReggaeLand did last year.
"Gimme What's Mine" by Chantelle Ernandez

CUTIE with the golden voice, Chantelle Ernandez wasn't greedy or selfish, all that she wanted was what she was due and what she was due in 2012, obviously was a big debut album, "Gimme What's Mine" (there's a really dirty joke in here that I really want to make, but I'll leave it alone) (she's a very, VERY attractive woman). Though I was surprised to see her doing an album for ReggaeLand, I wasn't entirely shocked by the direction of the album. There was definitely Lover's Rock and some R&B-ish textures, but dismissing this one as something of a 'crossover' is to dismiss common sense. Tunes such as 'Reggae Reasoning', the Etana-esque 'Control Freaks' and definitely 'Songs of Redemption' gave this one a more familiar edge. I just very recently gave this one a bigger listen and was really impressed. Ernandez is someone who I always thought (was very easy on the eyes) had something indescribably SPECIAL about her and you hear it in flashes throughout her debut album which was probably the most popular of the four.
"No Fear No Man" by Anthony Que

And finally, ReggaeLand would save the best for last. Earlier in the year Anthony Que had constructed a piece of MAGIC and called it "Meditation Time" which is now well on its way to becoming a classic in my opinion. Not too far behind was the golden "No Fear No Man" for ReggaeLand which arrived later in the year. SWEET! The album, in retrospect just had such a lovely vibes about it and, with an excellent sonic appeal (you listen to a song like 'World Keep Spinning Around' and you have to TRY not to smile, it sounds so good) ["the world keeps spinning around, spinning around for you and me. Once you've found true love girl, then you will see"] [WHAT!] [BOOM!], really came off as such a wonderfully produced and then executed project. The standouts here were plentiful, but they stand out, fully, because of how diverse they were. From the BIG sounding 'World Keep Spinning Around' to the subtle 'Holy Ground' and everywhere in between, which included the MASSIVE title track ["I don't fear no man! Cause I've been giving Jah the praises all my life!"], "No Fear No Man" was fantastic and the crowning jewel of ReggaeLand's gem of a year in 2012.

The year also saw the release of a compilation or two as well as a big tune, 'King Selassie I Alone', by veteran Mikey General, produced by the well esteemed Roberto Sanchez

The Da Gong Riddim

Speaking of Mikey General, the General would join Anthony Que, Singer Jah, Wayne Daniel and even Norris Man (why not make a Norris Man album? Everyone else is) on ReggaeLand's splendid Da Gong Riddim from earlier this year. This thing was so basic and straight-forward, but I mean that in a good way, because it was excellent. Norris Man's track, 'Hold On To Ites', may've been the best, but everyone here did well and made a great time of the riddim. Very worth picking up.
The High On Love Riddim

While Da Gong Riddim made itself brisk and brief, its followup, the nearly hour long and seventeen-tracked (with its various mixes) High On Love Riddim, definitely did not and it worked out fine for it as well. Definitively highlighted by Anthony Que's HUGE 'Rastaman House', this track would also make good decisions in featuring the work of, again, artists such as Singer Jah, Wayne Daniel and even maestro Roberto Sanchez (whose 'Mother of My Child' was very strong). But what stood up even more for me was 'Often Wonder', a big, big tune from former Higher Trod member Prince Jahved, who doesn't voice a lot of songs, but always makes it interesting when he does. This was no exception.  
'Selfish Love' by Chantelle Ernandez

I don't know this for sure, but like I said, the album which seemed to make the biggest impact and continue forth of the four from 2012, was Chantelle Ernandez' "Gimme What's Mine". Because of that, perhaps it shouldn't come to much surprise at all that the sweet singer returned with another song for the new year, 'Selfish Love'. You kind of get the feeling that Ernandez and ReggaeLand have found favourites and nearly perfect musical partners in each other I would well expect to see the relationship flourish and continue to be fruitful in coming years. With songs like this one and the album, they've obviously gotten off to a fine start. 'Selfish Love' was cavity-causing music. 
The Change Riddim

And do be sure to check out ReggaeLand's next project, The Change Riddim, which features a reunion of sorts (biggup Malkijah) as Chantelle Ernandez (alongside Joggo), Malijah, Anthony Que, Singer Jah and Mikey General are all featured in the riddim's six tracks which finds Jahmali also on board with 'Do It For Love'.

Releases on September 30

So as you can see ReggaeLand has definitely been up to big things lately, making some of the best vibes in the genre. Take a closer look, you'll find something you like, pick it up and biggup ReggaeLand

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