Thursday, February 14, 2013

Check It #48: Float Fantastic

In Stores Now
"Machelements" by Machel Montano [Mad Bull Music]


Though he would lose on the road by no small margin to a returning and seemingly unstoppably surging Super Blue, 2013 was, once again, a fantastic carnival season for Soca superstar, Machel Montano, who would claim his second consecutive Groovy Soca Monarch and his third consecutive Power Soca Monarch throne (which he shared with Super Blue). Montano would also throw one of the biggest parties in the history of parties, called "Machelements" and now he's taking care of the business end of things by delivering his 2013 album of the same title. The year wasn't just a giant show for Montano (well, I guess it was), he also brought the substance musically as well. Three of my absolute favourites from anyone, and three of everyone's absolute favourites, 'The Fog', 'Energy High' and of course 'Float', headline the album and are surrounded with other excellent tracks such as 'She Ready', 'Don't Judge Me', the EXTREMELY fun 'Witch Doctor' and 'Possessed' alongside Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Kerwin Du Bois. Montano has many fans greater than I am of his, but credit goes out massively for another HUGE year and a wonderful album to follow. 

"We Muzik Vol. 3" [Precision Productions] 

Precision Productions continues its excellent Soca compilation line, "We Muzik", with its third installment and, more importantly, they also continued their winning ways in 2013 - pushing some of the biggest tunes from some of the biggest names in the genre. The third edition of the series comes in at a packed twenty-two tracks and, again, it features Precision produced tracks from some of the most talented Soca stars on the planet. Like who? The album carries no less than three tunes from Machel Montano (including 'The Fog'), and also WICKED tunes from the walking divinity that is Destra Garcia (twice), Bunji Garlin (twice), Nadia Batson (twice), Iwer George, Blaxx, KES, Farmer Nappy and others. It's going to be very hard to top and I wouldn't at all be surprised if in December we're still looking back at "WM3" as THE finest Soca compilation of 2013. 

The Indo Riddim [Jah Youth Productions] 

Jah Youth Productions from out of Hawaii isn't a label which is totally new to my eyes and ears as I remember them doing work with Daweh Congo maybe a year or two ago and I'm glad that I'd recalled them as they're back in 2013 and making a big push early in the year with a BIG new riddim album release, the Indo Riddim. Incidentally, one of the tunes I remember them doing with Congo was a piece by the name of 'Indo', which now headlines the riddim album named after it, which features a truly WONDERFUL lineup of names joining the gifted vocalist. Perfect Giddimani, Messenjah Selah, Natty King, Rob Symeonn, Winstrong, The Lambsbread and even NiyoRah all take their turns with the smooth and easy going Indo Riddim. There're some really fine tunes on this track and it has my full recommendation for more seasoned listeners, and maybe even newer heads as well. 

The Event Riddim [Weedy G Soundforce]

Grrrr! Fiery Swiss imprint, Weedy G Soundforce, is also back early in the year with their own big latest creation, the aptly titled Event Riddim. The big sounding, stage-setting track is madness and, once again, shows that WGS is one of the finest labels, anywhere, when it comes to making top flight (actual) Dancehall music. For the Event, they place it in the capable hands of Anthony B, Lutan Fyah, Teacha Dee, Perfect Giddimani, Grindsman, Cookie The Herbalist (big tune), Delly RanxThrilla U and Sizzla Kalonji who lays the piece to riddim with his scalding 'No Food'. 

The Rootsman Riddim [Overstand Entertainment]

Check the lovely Rootsman Riddim from Overstand Entertainment, who jumps in with a piece which has a grand amount of potential. When I first saw the list of tunes here, one stuck out (which is saying a great deal when you consider who voices this track) - 'Modern Day Judas', from Jesse Royal ["But I am like a column weh no easily shake. Mi certain seh a fi mi, none a unuh can take"], which was a big tune from awhile back. The actual riddim is a remake of an older one I believe and it receives a wonderful modern update when given to the likes of Royal, Tarrus Riley, Iba Mahr, Jah 9 and man of the moment, Chronixx. Excellent. 

"Kingston University" by New Kingston [Ineffable Records] 

The New Kingston collective is back with what is either their second or third album to date, the very FRESH "Kingston University". The group is a trio of brothers who have done very well for themselves thus far and, surely, this new album becomes their 'crowning jewel' of sorts as, at least as far as I can tell, it may just prove to be a very strong release (I'm still working with it though). New Kingston has a very interesting sound here as well as it is kind of 'open', and obviously so, but it isn't so far away from things that it is going to run off most hard core Reggae fans, at least not in my opinion. Though if you are new to the genre, "Kingston University" should be PERFECT for you. Sweet singing J-Boog joins the fun on an album which may just be a real sleeper for this year. Check it for yourself. 

CD [I THINK] + Digital 
The Voyage Riddim [Kheil Stone Music]

Off the top of my head, I didn't actually recognize the creator of the Voyage Riddim, Kheil Stone Music, but after looking them up we noticed that they actually did the decent Cook Hennessy Riddim from a couple of years back (big Sizzla tune on that riddim) as well as another piece or two. Here, however, they step out of their usual routine and offer up the Voyage which is a full-on Roots/Lovers Rock one-drop composition… and it is gorgeous! I was really impressed from the first time I heard this track and that was even before we got into the actual vocals. Said vocals, at their finest, come from well talented individuals such as Busy Signal, Delly Ranx, Romain Virgo, Da Professor and Timeka Marshall. But, once again, to my opinion it is Sizzla Kalonji taking top honours here with 'Bun Fire', which may just be the best Sizzla song I've heard in a really long time. 

'Perfect Love Song' by Morgan Heritage [VP Records]

Still gearing up for their next full album release, "Here Come The Kings", later this year, Morgan Heritage is back with another single from the project with the very LOFTILY named 'Perfect Love Song'. The word "perfect" is definitely a lot to live up to, but this song is a mighty one and I'm not complaining at all. Also well looking forward to the new album. 


'Make It One Day' by Aima Moses [Donsome Records]

Also giving early glimpses from a forthcoming album is the stirring chanter from out of Dominica, Aima Moses, who checks in with the soaring 'Make It One Day' for Donsome Records. It wasn't very long ago at all when Moses was someone who I felt was woefully underutilized and under-recorded and I'm so happy that things have changed for him on that side and his successes have FINALLY caught up with his actual HUGE talents and 2013 figures to be a great year for him. 'Make It One Day' is a fine song and surely more, just as good, are still to come shortly. 


Coming Soon 
"Piece of The Pie" by Junior Kelly [Al.Ta.Fa.An]

'Been There'

Big news here as now set to deliver his very first [legitimate] non VP Records album (technically) in several centuries is big man Junior Kelly, who gives us his "Piece of The Pie" later this year. The album comes from the suddenly once again very active and ALWAYS respectable Al.Ta.Fa.An and is actually distributed by VPAL Music, which is the relatively new and very active distribution arm of VP Records (like I said, "technically"). On paper such a union - this artist and this label - is going to be very hard to fuck up and with so many familiar tunes on board, it appears as if "Piece of The Pie" should be well worth checking out when it reaches. Smiley and Mark Wonder guest. 

Releases on April 30
CD + Digital
"Bryan Art" by Bryan Art [Al.Ta.Fa.An]

And, quickly, just like Junior Kelly, veteran vocalist, Bryan Art, also has an album in the offering from Al.Ta.Fa.An. Looking at the tracklist here, however, it appears as if the self-titled release is very similar to Art's debut set from a few years back, "20ten". 

Releases on April 16
CD + Digital
The Pop Style Riddim [DJ Frass Records]

MAD! Frass comes through with the downright HYPNOTIC and HEAVY Pop Style Riddim which, as its title would suggest, is a crazy piece of old-school vibed Dancehall track. Refreshing is what comes to mind here (which is ridiculous, I'm now giving credit to Dancehall music for being actual Dancehall music) (as if it had a choice) (unfortunately is does) because someone got it right! The track has that irreplaceable late 1990's/early 2000's knock to it which is just so rare now and I love it. I'm also fond of several of the tunes on the track (which is actually included in a clean version as well). Agent Sasco, I-Octane, Buju, Spice, Spragga Benz and Ninja Kid all do well. Still their collective goal is no better than second best because Mad Cobra collapses the riddim and everything else with his MAMMOTH shot, 'Dis Dem Anyweh'. 

The Honey Pot Riddim [Silly Walks Discotheque]

It's been quite awhile from last we've from the well accomplished and highly esteemed boys and girls at Silly Walks (I think their last release was the sublime "Storms Of Life" compilation) (which we should have probably reviewed), but they're also getting the new year started in a big way with their new creation, the GOLDEN Honey Pot Riddim. This thing… BOOM! A lovely riddim and, really, coming from a label such as Silly Walks (it just took me ~ 8 attempts to type Silly) (yep) (…getting sleepy) - nothing less should be expected. The Honey Pot is passed amongst the likes of Da'Ville, Lutan Fyah, Ginjah, Exco Levi alongside Kabaka Pyramid (which should be a spectacular), Jah9, Chronixx and others. Not to be missed. 

{Note: Apparently every song on this riddim is also being released as a digital single} 
Da Gong RiddimThe High On Love Riddim [ReggaeLand Productions]

Welcome back! One of the biggest surprises of last year as a label, ReggaeLand Productions, is also set to make their 2013 one to remember apparently as they have two forthcoming big riddim sets. The first (by date, second by number) Da Gong Riddim has most of my attention. In 2012 RLP pushed a beautiful album by the name of "No Fear No Man" ["cause I've been giving Jah the praises all my life!"] [BOOM!] from the also surprising Anthony Que and here is the singer again, with a song I've never heard, 'So Much Food' which should be delicious. Que is joined on the track by Singer Jah, (who also did an album for ReggaeLand - "Warrior Of Jah Army") sweet singing Wayne Daniel, whose tune 'Mek A Change' was also a single released last year, Norris Man and Achis Reggae favourite Mikey General ('King Selassie I', big tune from the General in 2012 for ReggaeLand Productions). 

As for the lovely High On Love Riddim, it also features Que, but a familiar piece here, the SWEET 'Rastaman House'. Singer Jah and Daniel also return and also featured are producer Roberto Sanchez as a singer and even Prince Jahved from Higher Trod makes an appearance. So much to like here between these two releases and, once again, biggup ReggaeLand Productions. 

Digital & Digital
Da Gong Riddim releases on February 20
The High On Love Riddim releases on March 20
The Bad Intro Riddim Reloaded [Payday Music]

The fine people at Payday Music are back in 2013 offering an 'expansion pack' version of one of their older sets, the Bad Intro Riddim. Originally the track, which is infectious, BRIGHT and very nice, featured only a handful of tunes from not necessarily the biggest of names (although it is worth tracking down as both Kalado and DEFINITELY Sahie performed exceptionally well), but that's changed on the "reloaded" version of the riddim. Lutan Fyah, I-Octane, Iyara, Bugle, Wasp, Da'Ville and others have selections here now. 'Reloaded' indeed.

'Bob Marley' by Matthew Greenidge [JahLight Records] 

Same place it starts, same place it ends. And FINALLY this week (on this post that I feel like I started writing in 1994!) we check one Mr. Matthew Greenidge from out of Trinidad who, along with the wonderful JahLight Records, pays tribute to the king with 'Bob Marley'. The tune should serve as a big introduction to Greenidge who also, reportedly, is hard at work on his debut album also with JahLight - due later this year and it will also have a nice impact of its own because it is a very strong selection. So give big respect to a legend and pick up Matthew Greenidge's 'Bob Marley', when it reaches. 

" 'Three Little Birds' a mi favourite song
A Natural Mystic from a natural legend
So much inspiration spread on the land
Listen to he words cause he full of wisdom
That is the talent Jah Jah give to the man
Iron Lion Zion!
Iron Lion Zion!"

Releases on February 22

No comments:

Post a Comment