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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.

January 25, 2010

My music

Iv'e been messing around in "Sony AcidPro" for some time now, doing beats/instrumentals or whatever you wanna call them but have not found anyone to sing or rap over them yet. Would love to hook up whit all artists out there, collaborate some and perhaps whip up a mixtape or a compilation or something....

There are no money involved what so ever (I charge nothing and won't pay u anything) so it's a "strictly for the love of music" project where talking about, check out my beats at my soundclick page and holla if you're interested.

Lyrical Soldier - True soldier

There's plenty of tiny little places in the middle of nowhere here in New Mexico, one of these are Carlsbad who is about 1 hour away from where i live in Roswell. It's from there that "Lyrical Soldier" comes from. Knowing that my all-time favourite NM Rap album comes from a Carlsbad act i was excited to pop this one in the cd-player. Things start whit an intro where he says that he may not get rich and famous of this album but that he's not going nowhere and that this album might make it easier for the next artist to drop something.It's made like an short song whit some dramatic violins and sounds quote good for an intro (violins is something we will hear plenty of on this album).

First song is "Ride whit us", one of the most commercial songs on this noncommercial album. The beat is based on this simple toy piano loop (slightly reminiscent of the "forgot about dre" beat) and is an boastful track about coming up, trying to make it in this industry. Next is the nylon string (and toned down) laced "From the start" which is a "remembering a easier past" typa song but way deeper than just mentioning worry free days in the ghetto and how everything is tougher now. Lyrical Soldier is basically covering the same grounds as many before him but goes way deeper in exploring the underlying thoughts and feelings.behind the things he says. That's one thing i like about him, he has quite an dept to his lyrics and are able to turn what could just be rap cliche's into something more meaningful.

On a more lighthearted vibe we get "My Cd", a boastfull track where "Lyrical Soldier" let folks know that it doesn't matter if they are hating because the streets respects him and producers keep on giving him beats to rap over just on the strength of how he spits. The woman who sings the chorus makes it catchy and it kinda has some sorta cross-over quality, whit some luck and the right marketing im shure this could be quite a hit. On a way more serious level we get "True soldier" a coupla songs further in the cd and it's not what you might think at first. This is not a dedication to the thugs and O.G's populating our city streets, see "Lyrical Soldier" served in Iraq and this song is dedicated to all soldiers shipped overseas to do military service and who got their fellow soldiers back in thick and thin. It's backed by an "thugged out" beat whit a groovy piano and autotune processed synth. If you think he's blindly patriotic pro-war you better think twice though, he's getting quite critical on some of his closing tracks.

Things turn quick and dramatic on this cd, want proof just check out the next track, "Summertime" whit it's oldies soul/doo-wop sounding backing that could have came straight out of one of "Capon-E"'s "Dedicated to the oldies" albums. It's a very smooth and relaxed song full of lyrics about partying and chillin in the hot New Mexican summer breeze. While i gotta admit it's catchy as hell and very good it's also the most cliched song on the album, about a million of these songs have been made already and this one does notdiffer from any of these. I'm however a believer of that it's more important to do what you do good than always be 100% original, the wheel can only be invented so many times.... But as said, still a good song.

Skipping a few more songs we come to track 12, "Broken dreams" and as you can guess it's way more serious than the previous song that i mentioned and is about how folks tend to be quick to criticize you although they don't give a fuck about you. It's quite deep and emotional and dramatic whit some mellow strings and a dark melody. The song "Fake" surprises me, it starts out as being about selling out in order to get mass appeal and how he refuses to and quickly turns political, dealing whit discrimination of Latinos and racial prejudice, all this over some pretty smooth guitar vibes. This is one guy who has spent quite some time thinking bout stuff.

Things quickly gets even more political on the last song, "The masses" which is about the hypocrisy of USA, war criticism and observation on how America has money to bomb places, build prisons but not to feed the poor. As an soldier you would think he's unadulterated patriotic, flag waiving and pro war but things ain't quite that easy. I feel he's very much against this Iraq war while at the same time being very supportive of our troops and it's individual soldiers.

Well, as usual i could go on writing line after line but i will try to avoid my urges of verbal masturbation. I gotta say i liked this album, it provided some food for thought, complex lyrics, interesting subjects and some honest raw emotions. I liked how this album had an hardcore street feeling to it without ever being gangsta, "Lyrical Soldier" keeps it positive while at the same time showing he's not to be messed whit.

He's for sure lyrical but i would not say in an typical East-coast backpacker way, he do have his metaphors and rhymes but it's not because of any clever wordplay his lyrics are good but more for the dept and relevance they showcase. If you want something that is both street and thought provoking i def. recommend you to go and get this album, if you need easily chewed, Radio friendly rap, search elsewhere.

Lutan Fyah - The king's Son

 The King's SonThere seems to be an an never ending supply of young, militant chanters out there who never misses an opportunity to regurgitate old "Bobo Ashaniti" cliche's. Don't get me wrong, im a major fan of this subgenre (and buys quite a few singjay albums) but feels as if the scene can get a bit overcrowded sometimes. There is however always room for more "Lutan Fyah", even if he recorded songs in a tempo that made "Sizzla" seem lazy. I like his softer sounding approach to the genre and his less aggressive (but uncompromising) lyrics. A new album from "Lutan Fyah" is always a cause for celebration if u ask me.

First up is the tender love song "My love is running over", a soft and emotional song where he confesses how much he loves his woman. I've always liked his love songs and have been able to relate to them on a personal level. I guess I'm kinda a sensitive guy who has never been into this "Let's get laid" macho attitude so many men seem to have and judging from his songs "Lutan Fyah" is neither. For the next track, "Currupt life style" the tempo is upped considerably and the lyrics changed in favor of an more cultural vibe talking bout the virtues of the bobo lifestyle, Prince Emanuel etc...

More utempo Roots vibes are served on "The motherland calling", a duet whit the before mentioned "Ras Shiloh" and they complement each other very, very well, i could absolutely see the 2 being in a group together. Next up is the title track "The kings son" wich serves us more uptempo vibes and is among my favorites on here, it's a catchy song and Lutan's flow is quite perfect, needles to say the lyrics are top notch as usual.

A coupla songs later on we get "Jah works must be done" which is another stand out tune and a slightly more melancholic sounding one although it never reaches quite the "sufferers music" depths it could. It's basically a motivational tune tellin us to keep things going when everything seems dark because gods works still must be done no matter what. Towards the end of the album he returns to the lovers style that started the album up whit "Loved by you", a sweet and warm track about the heartaches of a love gone wrong. It's another one of "Lutan Fyah"'s signature love songs which i like so much.

Over all this is another high quality album from one modern Root's Reggae's brightest shining stars, i like it how Lutan Fyah manages to show a softer, more humble side than many Bobo dj's while still being just as unrepentantly Rasta as the most militant out there. For those of y'all who want an happy sounding Roots album this is a perfect choice. Much recommended.

The King's Son

January 21, 2010

Hi Fructose

Just got my first magazine of "Hi Fructose" and i gotta admit, I absolutely love it. Guess it's kinda similar to the better known magazine "Juxtapoz" since it covers the same kinda "under the counter culture", lowbrow art. Still, it's no copycat magazine and the quality of the printing, paper etc is excellent and very much do justice to the gorgeous paintings it covers. Y'all gotta have a look at it, shame that back issues are expensive and rare. Will absolutely get the book collecting the first 4 magazines.

January 18, 2010

Musically Mad

Been wanting to see this ever since it came out and finally it happened, it's a documentary about the soundsystem culture in England and features interviews from a whole heap a big names and plenty of material from dances and more. It's a very interesting subject that is made even more interesting to me knowing it's made by people from my native country Sweden.

My first impression after finishing it is that it is very well made, the folks behind it had a thought of what they wanted to accomplish and did not just put together random clips and interviews and threw it out there. The almost 60 minutes we get is the result of 4 years of fliming and almost 80 hours of material. Interesting material who did not fit into the documentary is provided as extras, a very good initiative indeed but im sure there's enough interesting material left to fill a dvd box-set.

However, what's in the movie itself feels pretty darn complete, we get interviews whit tons of big names, clips from more current dances as well as classic material from the early 80ies and material dealing whit the more technical side of things such as pre-amps, builders of speakers etc.... One thing that hits me is that many of the veterans in the game seems to be kinda pessimistic about the current situation, there are less places to perform, the youths ain't that into the culture anymore etc...

That's kinda funny because coming from a place and time where Reggae was 100% unpopular iv'e always looked to England as second only to Jamaica when it comes to Reggae and keeping "up-to-date" whit releases and stuff i still sees plenty of good things coming out of England. But I speak from a fans point of view, i dunno nothing about sales, promoting events etc.....

The true test of a music documentary is whether it will be of interest to people who is not fans of the music or the scene it documents (like how i absolutely loved "Heavy Metal in Bagdad" or "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" without being into that kind of music) and i would say that "Musically Mad" should appeal to anyone whit an interest in music. If you're into Reggae it's an added bonus and an must.

January 14, 2010

Irie Up, new reggae magazine in English

Seems as if the future for Reggae magazines written in English has been very bleak lately, the English verision of "Riddim" started out great but went down way too quick, "Reggae Report" has been dead since forever and "The Beat" is not around anymore. In the midst of all these bad news comes "Irie Up", i have not been able to buy my copy of it yet but it sure seems very promising  and is something that is most def. worth supporting.

From checking out the info on their page it seems as if "Riddim Up" has an very international focus, something I highly welcome as there are great acts from all over the globe nowadays. Here in the US you can get it from almighty "Ernie B's Reggae" and it should be easy obtaining it in Europe as well.

For more info, check their page (which is under construction, rite now there's an temporary blog up).

January 11, 2010

3 M Crew - Rollin'

A couple of years ago i saw this groups first cd (when they went under the name Money Makin Mexicans) at my local Hastings store here in Roswell, the cover looked atrocious and I did the mistake of "judging the book by it's cover" and never got it. Not that they have much competition (when it comes to acts on a more professional level, whit albums released) but they are one of Roswells finest Rap acts and when I saw "Rollin' ", their second release I decided to not make the same mistake twice (because the cover is just as ugly this time around as well).

First up is the title track "Rollin' " which is one of the strongest songs on the album. smooth and catchy whit a very melodic beat and lyrics about chillin', ridin in your car and having a good time ( a theme which is dominant for the album). It reminds me of "thugged out" rappers more relaxed songs, the ones they make videos to and try to get a "cross-over" radio hit whit. I really like it. They continue whit the slightly different "Call 'em up" who has a stripped down beat mostly consisting of a drums and some computer bleeps, not much of a melody on this one. Reminds me a lil bit of Snoops "Drop it like it's hot", it could work perfectly on a strip club as it's basically about women shaking their stuff and partying. It's not a bad song but personally i like more beefy, melodic beats. After this it's a quick return to the riding tracks whit "See me" which is all about driving, partying and getting your money on. It has a funky, melodic beat and a catchy chorus, not bad at all.

On a more crunk, aggressive sounding tip is "Po' some liquor in it" who whit it's energetic vibe is a welcome change from the relaxed, chillin typa songs that's been on here so far (not that i dislike these sorta songs but variety is always a good thing). It's very energetic and in your face whit a aggressive chorus chanting "...po' some liqueur in it...", and yeah, it's all about getting drunk and would be the perfect choice for your party, just before you get ready to go to the club. Like that 3m Crew show some versatility on the flow and beats choice. There is more crunk vibes on song 7, "3's up" wich is also one of my favourites (along whit the first song) on here. The chorus has this whistling sounding loop and the rap is again a little more aggressive than on many other songs here. As far as lyrics goes it's of a boasting nature, telling the listeners how tight and untouchable "3m Crew" is.

There is a bunch of other songs on here such as the latin sounding "Get whit ya" ft. Dj Smooth and one of the 2 bonus cuts "Ride whit me" who is something of an anthem for Roswell and the only song where they realy makes a point of being from Roswell and New Mexico. A really needed song if you ask me, the album would not feel complete without an song representing the city of Roswell.

Over all i would say that this is a great album, the production and mastering sounds very professional and the rappers got a good flow. One could mention that this is a very one dimensional album as far as lyrics go, they are all about having a good time, partying, getting women and cruising. There's nothing deep on here, nothing personal or anything political, everything is very lighthearted. I do feel however that it's a conscious decision, some groups choose to be deep and serious and some choose not to and criticising them for it would be unfair. As always whit NM rap, i have no idea how you could get this album (if you're not in Roswell), it's not even advertised on their myspace page. If you however do come across it, buy it because it's good and just perfect for getting that party started or that crowd up on the dance floor.

Art I like

I just got the latest issue of "Juxtapoz" and thought i should write a post on the subject of art, even though I've always enjoyed drawing and "doodling" on papers I've never thought that i would seriously get into art, to the point where i have favorite "painters"  and buys art magazines and books. There is simply so much garbage and pretentious nonsense out there and nice museums are like "one in a million" experiences. When i say im into art I do not mean the self important scene where intellectuals admire a few untalented paint splatters on a canvas and tries to come up whit forced interpretations of them to show how smart they are.

There's this "lowbrow", "pop art" movement out there who produces amazing things, everything from more serious works to silly, playful stuff. I'm talking about painters like like Shag, Joe Ledbetter, Mark Ryden, Yoko D'Holbachie etc... There is about a million more artists worth to mention but the ones above are some of my favorites. Some good sources  to get your feets wet and start to discover more would be books like "Weirdo Deluxe" or "Pop surrealism" or magazines like "Juxtapoz" or "Hi Fructose" . Hope this post opened up your eyes and inspired you to develop an interest in art, there's some amazing stuff out there just waiting to be discovered.

Syster Sol - Domd att bli bedomd

Despite (or maybe because of) being a small nation Sweden has always been very keen on picking up international trends and styles and make it their own. One of our biggest international exports is our music, groups like Roxette, Abba, Ace of Base etc have had quite some success, not that i like any of the groups mentioned or that Swedish Reggae have had a huge international impact but still....

When it comes to Swedish Reggae there is like 2 different camps, the one who tries to put a Swedish perspective on the music, inspired by it's Jamaican roots but not interested in trying to sound like it and then the ones who tries to emulate it as much as possible whit patois accents and all. Im not going to take sides, i like both styles and i guess this is leaning more towards the "Swedish perspective camp" whit her highly original and kinda nasal way of singjaying.

Whit that being said, the backing is quite traditional, 70ies sounding but let's move on to the first song, "Nar vi kommer" (translation: "When we come") a happy, summer sounding song whit major crossover potential (although it's not a sellout song in any way). It's about how Syster Sol has other goals than what "Babylon" has and does not wanna achieve the same things or go the same ways. I guess the definition of "Babylon" here is more an secular, political one, this is not an religious, RastafarI reggae album.

Next up is "Reflektioner" is an very, very deep song about your inner life, your soul, emotions and how you can end up cause your own unhappiness due to look at yourself in the wrong way. It's the total oposite of the previous song whit it's slightly melancholic and slow sound, it's not bad but not my favourite on the album either as it's not all that catchy.

A couple songs later on comes "Vad hande sen" (translation "What happened then") a song which at first sounds like a song about failed love but is about false prophets and their hollow promises of a better tomorrow. It's an digital, uptempo song whit a rootsy vibe to it. Perfect for the dance-floor without being too trivial and adjusted to the club. The title track "Doomed to be judged" a deep song about the society we live in and how it tries to suppress us and our true selves, it's another uptempo roots song whit a good message about self realization.

Over all i would say this is a good album, it has dept, good production values and it feels very ready to take on the music industry and an wide audience without ever selling out. There are no major problems whit it but if i have to mention anything it would perhaps be that the lyrical content on here is very similar throughout the album. Whit a few exceptions it's basically 10 songs about inner struggle and (slightly abstract) criticism of our society and it's values and nothing more. But that's only if I'm nitpicking and tries my best to find faults whit it, "Domd att bli bedomd" is a  good album from an original artist i look forward to hear more from.

January 5, 2010

Blunt Familia - From Burque 2 Diego

Iv'e noticed that often when im lucky enough to get a New Mexico rap cd i tend to somehow not bother to listen to it, even if i like it and recognise the artist in question got skills. This was not the case whit this album though, it's been spinning non-stop ever since i got it. These Albuqurkee (where else would a NM artist come from, lol) cats sounds good for real and this cd is 15 tracks of str8 fire.

By looking at the cover one would asume that this is some hardcore gangstarap and except for the ocational "club banger" ones asumptions are correct. These are some badass chicanos whit their feets firmly rooted in the Burque streets and a heavy San Diego influence in their music (someone in "Blunt Familia" just have to have heavy ties whit San Diego, coming from there or something) that features guys like "Mitchy Slick" and "Smigg Dirtee" but also local acts like Juan Gambino and New Mexico R&B sensation David Wade among many others.

First up is "We run the streets" (ft. 'Boss Man Hogg") and yeah, that is the first track, there's no intro taking place in at a faux radioshow whit lame listeners called in or anything else. They start whit a song (amazingly there are no intros, skits or anything like that on here) and a good one at that, some sorta anthem for the southwest and NM. Been huming "'s all the same, nothing change in New Mexico" ever since iv'e got this album. It's a fairly simple beat, not too melodic and works well whit the agressive flow and lyrics on here about what goes on in the NM and how "Blunt Familia" runs shit. A very good start to the album.

Next up is "Tha Mob" wich is not quite as good (although it's nowhere near bad), it feels like a song in it's own right but kinda has the lenght of a skit and a monotonous violin based beat. Okay but im not sad over the fact that it's as short as it is. Next up is one of my favourites on the album, "In tha southwest" wich deals whit the day to day struggle of living and trying to get somewhere in life, both as an rapper and individual. I realy like the chorus of this one, whoever does it sounds slightly like "Young Jeezy" although the beat is more of an eastcoast sounding, sample based one (okay, it's not suuuper eastcoast sounding but still....). Song 5, "Mob deep" has nothing to do whit the classic group of the same name but gives us mafia stories over a dark orchestral beat (whit a strong precensee of flute). It's one of only 2 songs whit no features on and "Blunt Familia" shows that they can hold it down on their own.

What follows is "Good 2 floss", a smooth, westcoast sounding track whit San Diego underground legend "Mitchy Slick", pefect to cruise to. A coupla songs further on, track 11; "Southwest hustlers" features classic latino rapper "Mr.Shadow" and "Obnoxious", it's very catchy whit it's repetitive loop and lyrics uniting San Diego hustlers whit Burque ones. I guess the 13th track on here, "V.I.P" whit NM R&B top dawg "David Wade" is the albums designated club banger whit it's chill lyrics and melodic backing. While it's competently made it feels a bit unimaginative but that is probably just as much due to me not feeling these type of tracks as it can be contributed to any faults by the producer or "Blunt Familia". The album ends at 15 tracks deep whit "Shine on" featuring one of the more prolific Burque rappers out there, "Juan Gambino". I only got 1 of his albums but my experience is that he often blends a heavy R&B vibe while still managing to keep it thugged out. This last cut fits him perfect as it's smooth and jazzy while at the same time being firmly rooted in the streets.

When talking about "NM" rap i often use phrases like "....unusualy good for being from NM" but saying anything like that when talking about these guys would be unfair, they are just plain good. Unless your'e in Albuqurkee this album will probably be kinda hard to come by as distribution for NM rap sucks to a point where it's tough getting any even if youre in NM but if you happen to come across "From Burque 2 Diego", don't hessitate to buy it. It's a good album whit a varied content, plenty of songs for the streets and a few for women and the clubs. These guys rep New Mexico and does it real good.

Ras Shiloh - Coming home

One of the biggest losses in contemporary Reggae has to be the very untimely death of "Garnett Silk" in the mid 90ies, he could have become one of the brightest shining stars of the genre. Luckily we still got "Ras Shiloh" who has a voice that is very similar to the dead "superstar-to-be". It's hard to tell from listening to him but he's American, born and raised in NY. This album from 07' is one of his most recent and best.

It starts geniously whit "We need more love" who calls out for "more love" and is very critical to how we treat each other nowadays and how he's "tired of walking the streets being afraid of my own shadow", the music is very smooth and relaxed without straying too much from a distinct backbeat. This is the kinda riddim that works just as well on an British "lovers rock" song as an more conscious one, an excellent start to this album and one of my favourite "Ras Shiloh" songs of all-time.

Next up, on "Voice of the people"  he criticize the governments of the world and how they oppresses "the voice of the people"  and how that will cause 'nuff negativity such as riots and social unrest. It features Rasta/12 Tribes super group "Morgan Heritage" and is a lil bit more uptempo than the first song, it's a good song whit an important message but fails to reach the heights of the first song. A couple songs later we get "The new rising day" whit Ragga artist "Bascom X", it's similar to the first song in content but ads a bit of dancehall vibes to the preachings of love and understanding, a great uptempo roots song whit a contemporary feel.

For those who want's lovers songs he continues whit "Need your love" and "Are you lonely" who are just as smooth and relaxed as these sorta songs should be, i think it's a nice touch when more conscious, rootsy artists ad a few love songs to their albums, it softens them up a bit, ads variety and iv'e personaly always enjoyed sappy love songs done to a backbeat.

 Don't think that "Ras Shiloh" strays from the more straight religious subjects on here, "Volume of the books" deals whit the words of the bible and on "Come down Jah Jah" he pleads for god to return to earth, all over some catchy uptempo riddims. Over all i would say that this is a very good and well rounded album where Ras infuses some of his own personality into his music and shows that he's more than just a "Garnett Silk" copycat artist. I may not have mentioned every song on here but this album certainly is one without any fillers, if you're into smooth, contemporary roots reggae whit a touch of "lovers rock" you would do very good in buying this.

 Coming Home   Only King Selassie   Babylon You Doom   From Rasta to You   Melchizedek Vibes Vol. One

January 4, 2010

I'm back

I have not really cared about this blog for a long time but i got a burst of motivation and will start writing again. I might restructure it a little bit and start covering subjects i did not cover before but im still the same old guy so the focus on music will most likely still be there.