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Wha ah gwaan? Im Krikon and this is my blog, it's dedicated to everything i find interesting, esp. Reggae but also movies and graphic design. My reviews feature some low-quality, streaming samples but im not an illegal mp3 blog and will never be. Any artist or label who want their samples removed, let me know. If you want your album or movie reviewed here, post in the chat box and i'll get in touch with you.

August 13, 2007

Culturellenium Vol.2

I dunno if y'all have started to notice a trend on this blog but i tend to try and focus on non-Jamaican Reggae as i feel there is so many talented artists out there that goes unnoticed due to geographical reasons. By now we should know that Reggae has gone international, there is tons of great groups from Europe and USA but also from a whole heap a West Indian islands. Among the best of them is the Virgin Islands.

They have been around for years and their output of conscious reggae is nothing short but amazing, i could throw superlatives for forever about them but let's just settle whit that their constant output of high quality Roots Reggae defies all logic's, a label from such a small place should not have resources to put out this much good music. For those not aware of this label and the Virign Islands Reggae scene, what could be better than a compilation? Culturenium pt.2 is a very good introduction to the scene!!!!

We get 17 tracks of pure fyah, based on 3 riddims and featuring both established artists such as Midnite and Dezarie while not forgetting bout the underground acts such as Ahjahmel and Boy Blue. On a ideological level this is a fairly conservative album, being against Gays, questioning science and modern health care, denouncing the sexual revolution etc... If you are not an Rasta you may have some objections to the lyrics. I'm not big on gay bashing myself but apart from that I don't find the lyrics too questionable.

No matter how good the artists on here may be doing no one is beating Dezarie on track 2, "Waiting on Jah". This is an amazing song, not so much because of the riddim (who is by no means bad) but because of the harmonising/singing of Dezarie, I've liked her since I've first heard her (she even looks great) but this is probably the finest song of her career. She manages to create an almost middle-eastern, melancholic atmosphere on here, very beautiful. The riddim demands a lot of the artist to make it work (since it's pretty anonymous) but Dezarie squeezes out the most of it.

Another track that stands out is track 6 with the to me unknown Ahjamel who does "Dr.Jekyl" a meditation on the crooked doctors of Babylon who only makes things worse for their patients. Roots reggae usually isn't that humorous but Ahjamel manages to pull a few heavy punches at Babylon but still keep it lighthearted and evoke a smile on the faces of the listeners, you can also notice that this is a seriously personal account on something he himself experienced. Not that the riddim is bad or nothing but it's the lyrics who makes this a truly great song.

Then we got the always good Ras Attitude whit "Stop chat" whit his recommendation to all folks who talk bull about Haile Selassie I being dead etc to just simply shut up cause they got no clue. Among the hordes of new Roots artists that has come out id say that Ras Attitude is among the better and he proves himself worthy of praise on here (he got another 2 songs on here).

In general i would say that this is a very strong compilation full of great contributions from both "well known" and newer talents of the Virgin Islands scene, if you're not familiar whit it this is a great introduction and fans of modern Roots Reggae will not be disappointed

August 6, 2007

Soldiers of Jah Army - Peace in a time of war

Nowadays it almost seems as if the best Reggae comes from outside of Jamaica (i know, it sounds blasphemous to say or write it) and Soja (Soldiers of Jah Army) is this collective of 5 conscious Rastas from Washington DC who's been releasing albums since 2000. This release is from 2003, their latest is from 2006. This can most definitely be defined as "intellectual Roots Reggae", they don't settle whit stating that babylon is bad and that we should praise Jah. They go deep into the reasons why and speaks about the media brainwashing us, "politrixians" and more substantial subjects.

The album starts excellent whit "Revolution cry", a much personal reflection about feeling alienated from society and what this world is coming to, what we leave to our children. Once may think it's your regular "this society sucks" song but it's so much deeper than that. It has a kinda "Rockers" vibe to it while never straying from the rootsy feel of this album. Next up is the equally great "Reality" who deals whit the conflict of intellectualism and religion and reminds us that Jah gave us the ability to think, analyse and find solutions to problems and that we should not value ourselves and our minds to high cause there are still a lot that we don't have the solutions to. It's a song whit a refreshing drive and energy to it, you wanna go out and act more than to sit home smoking after having heard this song.

"Peace in a time of war" is about "politrix", the Bush administration, it's policies and how the American people was thinking when they elected this much criticised man to be their president. One could probably write page upon page about this subject. What makes this song stand out is once again it's intellectual touch and how it's not really a Bush diss song but more one being critical to politicians in general. One of my favourites on this album is "Rasta courage" where the singer say "...don't defend no black and I don't defend no white, I defend the truth and all of that", much important lines shattering one of the biggest missunderstandings about RastafarI as some sorta vehicle for black Racists who want to kill all whites. It's not about that, it's about truth and righteousness and the often strong "pro black" sentiments being found in RastafarI is just a side product of this "truth and righteousness" stuff. The song itself is a little more laid back than some of the other songs on here but still not too slow.
As far as their sound goes it's a very clever blend of genres where Soja never looses focus on what is commonly termed as "Roots Reggae", they manage to blend in touches of Rock and contemporary music whitout ever alienating their core crowd. Im usually no fan of the fusion of genres (not even those i like) but i can live whit this (even thoroughly enjoy it) as SOJA knows exactly how far they can go before things turn into a missmatch of genres satisfying no one.

Well, this is a Cd that really get's my brain going and the lyrics are "top notch", smart and original but always from a RastafarI point of view. This is one of those albums whit no "filler" songs and is much recommended to those who want to exercise their brain a little. Now i just can't wait to discover the other albums SOJA has out, i guess i just made my already loooooong "want list" a little bit longer.

August 4, 2007

Biblical - Inborn precepts

It don't matter where you look in the world, everywhere you gon find Reggae and wherever you find it Rastaman stand strong.Warms my heart that the words of Jah have an revival in the music i love, when i started jammin Marley in the early 90 ies slackness reigned supreme but no more. This is one of many new Roots releases from beyond the shores of Jamaica, to be more close California and the Higher Bound Productions camp, a bunch of young Rasta's who live for this 24/7 and produces Rootsmusic whit a modern, updated sound and strictly conscious lyrics.

The first thing that hits you is the enormously beautiful cover painted by Ras Terms (you have to check out his myspace page) and I'm not kidding when i say that this is one of the nicest Reggae covers iv'e seen in a very long time, I'd love to have this on a t-shirt. But enough about it, you don't listen to a cd-cover. Biblical is a singjay dj and while keeping it Roots you can absolutely feel a dancehall vibe on this cd, not as rowdy as some less conscious acts but....

First up is "Jah works",music wise it kinda reminds me of the backing of a early Yammie Bolo track or something, strong digital roots vibes whit a touch of more organic sounds. Not a bad song at all but not incredible memorable either. As far as lyrics goes it's one of many songs on here paying tribute to Selassie I and Jah. Like I said, Biblical is a singjay Dj but whit a more "singy" style than toasting, nothing like the much prevailing Bobo chatters. His voice is what I'd call "rough lite", a lil raspy but not very much for still being considered that. Next comes "Let luv in", a plea to all warmongers out there to chill and let god and love into their lives, it does not feel quite as "digi-roots" as the first track, once again a good song but not amazing (this is the albums biggest problems, being good but not too memorable).

3rd track is "Eyes can see" about how obviously true Rastafari is to Biblical and how it stands for everything good in the world, it's a smooth track whit soft and relaxed backing. A few songs further in comes"deliver the poor" whit labelmate "Ishene" and deals whit Biblical wanting god to provide for the poor and make shure that they overcome all their problems. It has a strong backbeat and is so far my favourite on the album, it's also the first song whit another artist (and the last except for another one whit "Ishene"). The presence of "Ishene" ads to "deliver the poor" and makes it pleasantly stand out from the other tracks on here. Another good song is "Psalms and proverbs" and to keep things short it deals whit receiving the blessing of Jah and how you can't go wrong if you do receive it. It's once again a pretty smooth song but still Biblical at his most energetic and most toasting, this is no hype party album but you won't come closer to it here than on this song.

The rest of the tracks is pretty much more of the same thing. There is plenty to like about this album, Biblical is diehard Rasta and does not compromise,he does not rely on washed out riddims used to often by others and the lyrics are interesting if yet a bit repetitive. But I gotta be honest, it fails to be really memorable and Biblical is a little to monotonous in his flow sometimes. But he's very new artist and this is his first album, give him some time and i think he really will shine. Buyworthy if you have some money laying around but not essential.