Super Hi-Fi – Blue and White (Very Special Records, 2018)
Blue and White is the new album by Super Hi-Fi, a collective of musicians based in Brooklyn who combine a powerful mix of dub reggae with rock, jazz and world music elements. It’s led by bassist and vocalist Ezra Gale.
Super Hi-Fi’s sound is characterized by the use of vibrant bass, dub effects and two dueling trombones that provide captivating interactions. Although Super Hi-Fi was primarily instrumental in previous recordings, band leader Ezra Gale sings on several tracks.
On Blue and White, the band reaches out into multiple genres incorporating fascinating elements such as Afrobeat and a joyful mix of ska and traditional country music featuring steel guitar.
Super Hi-Fi is into analog sound and this recording was recorded completely to tape.
The lineup includes Ezra Gale on bass, vocals, acoustic guitar; Rick Parker on trombone; Jon Lipscomb on guitar; Madhu Siddappa on drums; Alex Asher on trombone; Robert Stringer on trombone; Jeff Lampert on pedal steel guitar; Drew Fleming on vocals; Vincent Giangola on vocals; Erica Rutt Gale on vocals; Mitch Marcus on keyboards; Mamadou Konate on jembe and talking drum; Vera Sousa Marina on vocals; Bryan Benninghove on vocals; and John Blevins on trumpet.
The album is available on vinyl LP, cassette and digital.
Overdubbed (Echo Beach, 2018) is the new album by dub masters Sly & Robbie and Dubmatix. The album is scheduled for release January 19th, 2018. The recording will be available in 12″ Vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
The wizard of dub music, Lee “Scratch” Perry will release Super Ape Returns to Conquer on September 22, 2017. The new album is an explosive mix of percussive roots reggae, masterful dub electronic effects, Ethio brass and the booming bass that is so popular now.
The lineup includesd Lee “Scratch” Perry on vocals, rock stone, thunder claps and ganja pipe; Larry McDonald on percussion and vocals; Troy Shaka Simms on saxophone; Emch on live dub mixing, melodica, guitar, keyboards, samplers, reverbs, vocals and computers; Screechy Dan on vocals; Omar Little on trumpet and cornet; Jahdan Blakkamore on vocals and Ari Up of the Slits on vocals.
New York artist Double Tiger (Jay Spaker) makes appealing modern dub reggae loaded with electronic effects, reverb and pop hooks. On Sharp & Ready he incorporates a mix of Jamaican styles: ska, roots reggae, dub, dancehall and lover’s rock.
Despite the current political situation, Jay Spaker believes that it’s important to make positive and heartening music, bringing joy and inspiration to listeners.
Sicilian-born reggae vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Alborosie has a new album titled Freedom and Fyah. Alborosie has spent over a decade living in Jamaica. He presents revolutionary songs with deep, heavy roots rhythms that have become his trademark.
Alborosie has produced a series of bestselling albums since his 2008 debut Soul Pirate.
Freedom and Fyah has a very intense dub influence, with signs of dub-step and electronic music in some of the tracks. Lyrically, he covers topics such as love, revenge, politics and other social commentary.
I‘ve long asserted that Latin music was the first “world” music to make its way into the mainstream. Arguable though that may be, there’s no doubting the variety of what can rightly be labeled Latin nowadays. Part of the reason for such variety is how the music has evolved; another is recognizing how much variety there was to begin with.
Vintage Latino (Putumayo, 2015) is a various-artists collection that steers clear of overly familiar names (no Tito, Tito or Machito to be found) and earns extra points for featuring some that were around in the early days as well as contemporary musicians keeping the classic sound alive.
So it is that the love songs of old time Cubans like Trio Melodicos and the rural roots of Venezuela’s Simon Diaz fit comfortably alongside contemporary revivers like the utterly charming Las Rubias del Norte from the U.S. and France’s excellent Republique Democratique Du Mambo. And if the best of both worlds is your thing, check the seamlessly splendid combination of Uruguay’s late great Lagrima Rios and acclaimed Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla on the candombe-flavored “Un Cielo Para Los Dos.” Each of the 12 tracks is a gem, so count this one a must.
Should you be craving the sounds of a Brooklyn-based Mexican brass band, that craving will be more than satisfied by Banda de Los Muertos on their self-titled release (Barbes Records, 2015). Founded and led by Oscar Noriega and Jacob Garchik, veterans of jazz and classical music, Banda de Los Muertos’ brass and reeds attack is not just rousingly good fun. It’s also an impressive display of great musicians doing their thing.
The intertwined trumpets, trombones, alto horn, sousaphone and clarinets (plus a solid backbone of drums) are loaded with traditional Mexican flavors and sport nuances ample enough to appeal to fans of jazz, klezmer and big band music. And no hard feelings if you don’t dig the band’s instrumental cover of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” or the sexy, husky guest vocals by Mireya Ramos, though some serious self-examination might be in order.
Thoroughly modern but with a clear understanding of age-old grooves, Empresarios out of Washington D.C. give us The Vibes (Empresarios Musica, 2015) a hot mash of cumbia, reggae, dub, house, jazzy experimentation and hip hop. They combine real and programmed rhythms as deftly as they shift from sung to rapped vocals, and their subject matter likewise ranges from self-referencing celebration to social consciousness.
A thinking man’s party band, these guys likely won’t appeal to staunch Latin music purists. For everyone else, they definitely bring it. And the last two tracks (instrumentals “Rootsy Jam” and “Alegria”) are killer.
Bosse Skoglund and Zilverzurf – Mantra Sessions (Diesel Music C-52, 2016)
This cross-cultural recording couldn’t get more interesting. Two Swedish musicians, a drummer and a bassist, performing meditational Indian music fused with jazz, blues, African and Jamaican influences. A fascinating world music jam.
The album includes two discs. The original version features distant mantra chants and trance-like rhythms intertwined with jazz-rock fusion stylings. This is the organic part of the Mantra Sessions featuring electro-acoustic performances by Bosse Skoglund and Zilverzurf and their guests.
Disc 2 is the Dub Version. Here, electronic effects transform the original versions into seductive Jamaican-influenced dance club pieces.
Bosse Skoglund recorded drums, bass, mantras and overdubs at his home studio in Ekerö, Sweden. Additional sessions were recorded by Zilverzurf at Casa Carma in Portugal. The mantras performed by Yatra Children were recorded at Yatra Arts Foundation in Kuilapalayam, India, by Johan Zachrisson.
Mantra Sessions delivers a set of hypnotic performances rooted in various traditions of the globe.