by: Jarret Lovell
Various Artists – Listen to the Music (Pressure Sounds UK)
Listen to the Music is a stellar compilation of 21 Caltone recordings that span the years 1966 to 1969. One spin of this disc takes the listener on a journey from the ska years through to early reggae. Included are tracks by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics, the Clarendonians, as well as many rare 45s that have never been re-issued since the original Jamaican pressings. According to the Pressure Sounds press release, “It was Bunny Lee and Phil Pratt who handled most of the hands-on production” for the Caltone label, so you know good stuff is in store. Enjoy!
Dr. Israel – Ghetto Defendant (Dr.Israel.net)
Anyone who over the past two decades has dabbled in dub, drum and bass, electronica, punk or reggae has surely heard of the Brooklyn-based artist Dr. Israel. This is because, well, Dr. Israel himself has dabbled in all of these genres. When his second solo release “Inna City Pressure was released in 1999, it made quite a impression on the music scene. Before the days of Girl Talk and other mash-up artists, the Doc was blending early Black Sabbath samples with drum-and-bass, and he was also recording with rising punk stars Rancid and receiving great coverage in Rolling Stone, Vibe, LA Times & The Village Voice, among many others. Then something happened: halfway through his tour for “Inna City” and some 3000 miles away from home, his label Mutant Records closed its doors, leaving Doc literally stranded and without resources. From that point forward, Dr. Israel has been in full control of his music – even releasing much of it himself as free mp3 downloads, as is the case with “Ghetto Defendant” – a terrific 5 song e.p. that tells the tale of a dreadlocked insurrectionist battling an evil post apocalyptic corporate empire. Dr. Israel is currently the frontman for the highly acclaimed group super-group “Method of Defiance” featuring legendary bassist Bill Laswell and P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. The track “Elijah’s Lament” is a reworking of the MOD track he penned. But for me, I’d start with #4 “Slaver.” All clean, and all super-cool! Play!
Various Artists - Jahtarian Dubbers Vol. 3 (Jahtari)
One of the more noteworthy aspects of the soundtrack to the film version of Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World was the use of early video game sound bites to form musical compositions. Of course, for those in the know, the recording artists that comprise the Jahtari catalog have been making what they call “digital laptop reggae” for years using only computers. So everything on the Jahtari (get it? Atari and Jah) is glitchy video game reggae and dub music. The combination of sounds works surprisingly well, as computers can aid in the creation of distortion typically done manually by such dub artists as King Tubby and Scientist. If you are new to this, you are in luck, for here is the 3rd label sampler. This stuff is terrific for RPM and electronic shows as well as for reggae/dub. Thanks to J. Pulaski for the heads up on this one. Enjoy!