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Reality Shock Volume 1

Reality Shock Volume 1

Reality Shock Volume 1

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The acceptable face of UK roots and dub.

Sampler

Reality Shock Volume 1

The sound system driven fundamentals of UK roots and dub have evolved into a very different beast from its Jamaican ancestors. Yet there are still plenty of exponents of the art who keep a link with the past. The Reality Shock label - showcasing the productions of Kris Kemist - strikes this balance with their 10” singles and this full length compilation of both released and unheard work gives a clear lesson in how such a compromise can be attained.

First you need good singers and they don’t come better than Errol “Gideon Zinger” Bellot. The title track (and possible jingle for the label) marks a high point since his incredible 2001 cut on Jah Tubbys, Roots Gone International. The Greenwich Farm veteran Prince Alla’s biblical tones make for either fierce minor or serene major key numbers. His combination with Prince Livijah is one of the latter, replete with crashing echoing drums and piano sounds.

Then you want some quality foundations. The distinctively British sounding Chieftan Joseph rides a Kemist revamp of Phil Pratt’s Strange Things rhythm for Musical Farmer; Deadly Hunta laments the rise of hard drugs and violence over a retread of Studio 1’s Unchained; and Mikey Murka covers Bob Marley’s War – swapping the marching original for a moody creeping stepper overlaid with the Haile Selassie speech that inspired the song.

Finally interesting lyrics are a must. Lioness Fonts gives her controversial and archaic critique of the inoculation of children against disease at school during One Way System; while on Roots Rock Reggae Solo Banton chats from a similarly conservative stance talking down hip hop r&b and bashment to a suitably organic swing time one drop skank.

Kemist’s productions are not what you’d call innovative but value solidity, consistency and - crucially - melody above all else. So if you’re wondering what happened to the really good tuneful UK roots as opposed to all the excessive wallpapery stuff you hear at certain dances, this cd proves it is alive and well.

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