What better way to get this Christmas mixtape started than with a yule tide invocation for peace and brotherhood? Christmas is also a time for celebrations and Digitaldubs and YT get the party properly going with their hymn to sound system culture. Next up, Stand High Patrol presents the first of two vocal cuts from the immensely gifted Pupa Jim - one of those distinctive voices that heralds a pure, must-watch talent. Next a nod to Brazil with Marcelinho da Lua's jump up anthem - a good opportunity to send a shout out to Munchbreak who this year travelled out to Sao Paulo and have since been forging musical connections with bands and producers from this wonderful melting pot of a country (I wonder if Feva's been caning this one in his jungle set?). Another shout out goes out to the inspirational Version Big-Fi who for years have been releasing free music of the highest quality. Much respect. We're into old-school On-U territory with 2Badcard's Equal Rights and Justice, then onto the second offering from Pupajim - this time backed by a production from the ever excellent Disrupt. Can't get enough of that 8-bit goodness. Talking of talented producers, what a great reggae reworking of the Wendy Rene Stax classic. I particularly like the politics of Alborosie's flip side 'Tears'. Initially released in Dec 2010 and still all too relevant today, given the continuing financial crisis. From one great female vocal to another - Dawn Penn's No, No, No, that killer Saxon Sound dubplate that always reminds me of great times at the Notting Hill Carnival. More happy remeniscences with New Zealand's Pitch Black - purveyors of fine aotearoa dub - in full effect. We've been delighted to have a number of our good kiwi friends come and visit this year. How I still pine for the land of the long white cloud! Gregory Isaacs passed away a couple of years ago but his voice and presence is still a force to be reckoned with. Then more dancehall goodness with Red Dragon's Duck Dance - a bit of fun to get your booty moving. I'm conscious that recent mixtapes have stayed relatively safe in Dub/Reggae territory so here's an afrobeat inflected offering from the wonderful Blundetto - an eclectic French collective who effortlessly straddle a wide variety of musical genres from reggae to soul and beyond. I was gutted to have missed Solo Banton's album launch party earlier this year at Birmingham's one and only PST - a club that's defined much of reggae culture in the city in recent years. Much respect to Pecker, Juggla and of course the entire Jam Jah crew - Robin, Damon and co. Your conscious sounds are a true inspiration. Now that the party's in full swing, it's time to crack open another killer dubplate - this time from the Street Rockaz Family and Ilements' take on the Man of the Living riddim. Then we go truly global with Bole 2 Harlem, a brilliant musical collaboration that fuses elements of Ethiopian music with American hip hop. Finally it's time to wrap things up with a wonderfully smooth dub from the Groove Corporation who year on year continue to release nothing but quality productions.
As always, with thanks to the original artists for their music and inspiration. Support them by buying their music.
 Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus - Run Come Really  (00:00)
 Digitaldubs feat. YT - Sound System Culture - (03:09)
 Stand High Patrol - Brest Bay (06:28)
 Marcelinho Da Lua - Tranquilo (08:56)
 Version Big-Fi - Come Again (13:12)
 2Badcard - Equal Rights and Justice (16:28)
 Pupajim - Double Lock (21:53)
 Jaba feat. Wendy Rene - After Laughter (Comes Tears) (25:18)
 Alborosie feat. Wendy Rene - Tears (After Laughter Comes Tears) - (28:38)
 Dawn Penn - You Don't Love Me (extended version) (32:11)
 Pitch Black - Urbanoia (34:54)
 Gregory Isaacs - Badness (40:39)
 Red Dragon - Duck Dance (43:44)
 Blundetto - Rocroy (with Akale Horns) (47:29)
 Solo Banton - No (50:42)
 Ilements - We All Can Make It (53:40)
 Bole 2 Harlem - Bole 2 Harlem (57:06)
 G-Corp Meets Bobby Blue - Better Dub (60:02)
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
What was once a regular monthly event has now lapsed into a yearly feast, but what a feast it is! A rich dub stew laced with a hearty dose of roots and culture, a sprinkling of dubstep bass and a dash of funky reggae. To kick things off Ez3kiel and Manasseh brew up a potent psychedelic mix that sets the tone for the usual globetrotting adventure into rich sonic delights.
Juakali, a singer and MC from Trinidad currently based in Los Angeles, picks up the story with a heartfelt anthem that's both dark and brooding yet full of light and optimistism. Next up, Greek dub artist Vlastur represents with fat slice of soundsystem friendly dub sprinkled with eastern string samples and beautifully shimmering delays.
As Greece is feeling the brunt of the financial sector's uncontrolled, under regulated, self-serving greed - a tragedy that's callously leaving entire nations in its wake, it's time to speak up about exactly where money and priviledge come from. "How did you get your money, Sir? Where did you get your money, Sir? Who did you walk on? Who did you steal it from?" Sweet and true, from the Adrian Sherwood-produced album 'Longtime Traveller' comes a truly prescient and heartfelt song full of sorrow but powered by the undeniable logic of a truth that's too authoritative to be ignored.
Midnite's Pagan Pay Gone takes us deeper into a conscious meditation on the same theme. Their hypnotic chant is beautifully picked up by Jolly Mukherjee's deep bass lament. Known as India's King of Strings, here he underpins his usual cinematic arrangements with fat bass and skanking guitars that take us on journey to sun-baked desert caravans full of eastern promise.
From these evocative, exotic travels, Lady Ann brings things straight back to the here and now of street concerns with a great track from an unofficial special tour CD by Scicilian reggae superstar, Alborosie.
Time to take a breather with an uncharateriscally laid back Noiseshaper contribution before DJ Riot submerges us into deep aquatic dubstep territory. We emerge with Freear's bootleg remix of Isrealites. Cheeky and fun, it bounces along with such pure joy that it's easy to forgive how overcompressed and raw it sounds (can't ask too much of a freebie mix). Although probably only meaningful to UK residents of a certain age it's hard to resist the nostalgic charms of those Vitalite samples!
Time to get back to some proper roots and culture, first off with Zap Pow on an infectuous funky reggae tip then courtesy of a classic Prince Far I & the Arabs instrumental cut. Wayne Jarrett and Earl Sixteen bring up the rear before we wrap things up with a little known Bob Marley and the Wailers downtempo doowop love song from their early rocksteady period.
 Ez3kiel - Handle With Care (00:00)
 Manasseh meets The Equalizer - Flash It Again (04:30)
 Juakali - Living in Babylon (07:06)
 Vlastur - Cycladic Dud (10:45)
 Jeb Loy Nichols - To Be Rich Is a Crime (15:57)
 Midnite - Pagan Pay Gone (19:34)
 Jolly Mukerjzee - Madhuvanthi (25:31)
 Alborosie, Specialist & Friends - Informa feat. Lady Ann (30:47)
 Noiseshaper - Cultura Pura (33:56)
 DJ Riot - Mermaid Dub (37:45)
 Freear - Israelites Remix (40:30)
 Zap Pow - United (44:49)
 Prince Far I & The Arabs - Lion Stone (48:28)
 Wayne Jarrett - Praise Jah (55:25)
 Earl Sixteen - Foot of the Mountain (58:59)
 Bob Marley and the Wailers - Chances Are (61:43)
With thanks to the original artists for their music and inspiration.
Support them by buying their music.