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Trinity - Eye To Eye

Trinity - Eye To Eye

Trinity - Eye To Eye

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Musical comfort food for foundation fans. Trinity and Irie Ites take a loving look into reggae's past.

Sampler

Since 2003, French sound-turned-one-stop-reggae-label-shop Irie Ites have been knocking out relicks of classic rhythms with Jamaican artists old and new. Their latest album compiles previously released singles and fresh tracks from one of the island’s greatest deejays, Wade Brammer AKA Trinity. He’s the musical glue that binds a veritable pile-up of well-loved backings, compositions and phrases featuring a joyous reunion of vintage voices.  

Trinity - Eye To EyeTrinity was among the talkers who followed in the wake of cultural pioneer Big Youth. And his similarly charismatic, dread-regal yet mischievous style still stands up. His voice is grainier than in his heyday, toasting over platters for Channel One, Joe Gibbs and Vivian Jackson/Yabby You. But he hasn’t lost the magic - particularly when the reverb is wacked high.

With a deep bag of rhythms, links and regular dubplate sessions between their Le Mans studio and Kingston it’s no surprise that Irie Ites have a serious roster of names at their disposal. And as such 'Eye To Eye' is a loving look into reggae’s past with few deviations from its rulebook. This is not one of those comeback records where Trinity tries his hand at bashment or pop.

The surprise, for those new to the label, is the sheer number of veteran vocalists for Trinity to spar with: from Leroy Sibbles to Beres to old friends like The Mighty Diamonds. Some deejay longplayers suffer from vocal monotony – there’s little danger of that here.

The opening track typifies the classics upon classics ethos: Trinity riffing on Inner Circle’s hit Bad Boys with Prince Alla on Irie Ites 2011 Mafia & Fluxy relick of the latter’s Bucket Bottom. He also revisits Mr Gibbs on another big single, the Heywood brothers remake of Naggo MorrisSu Su Pan Rasta.

Love is Like Candy is a different cut on 2009’s do-over of John Holt’s Strange Things than its B side Strange All Over The World. Here Trinity torments the love-crazed Holt with the sweet taste of what he’s missing. The standout is Jah Time Now revisiting Vivian Jackson’s Old Testament invoking Run Come Rally (both Trinity and Tony Tuff, who sings Jackson’s part, voiced for the Jesus Dread). 

The vocals were laid at Mixing Lab (run by Roy Francis of Phase 1 Records fame). And it’s not one long affair with the 70s. Trinity rides digital backings like Gregory Isaacs’ 1988 Mixing Lab production Enough is Enough (later the Cool Ruler is eulogised on 2010’s Tamlins, Naggo Morris and Dillinger combo Tribute To Gregory). The varied styles are unified by Irie Ites trademark clear yet never too glossy sound - courtesy of house engineer Jericho.

With its parade of perennial dependable artists, delivered with tight quality control, this semi-compilation album is truly the sum of its parts. There are no leftfield excursions: just musical comfort food for lovers of reggae’s foundation. Trinity has the voice, flow and wicked playful humour to make this a fun if unashamedly nostalgic summertime spin.

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