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Bost and Bim - Special Blend - Ladies First

Bost and Bim - Special Blend - Ladies First

Bost and Bim - Special Blend - Ladies First

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A dreamy bubbling cauldron of dub, jazz and pop.


For 15 years saxophonist Matthieu Bost and guitarist Jérémie “Bim” Dessus have remained among France’s most consistent production duos. Best known as rhythm makers to Matthieu’s brother Pierre Bost’s Special Delivery records they also work in the remix and mashup domain under the name the Bombist.

Bost and Bim - Special Blend - Ladies FirstTheir creations have backed big names from Sizzla and Gentleman to Chronixx. Yet their latest project is something different: a six vocal, five version, reggae remix album featuring some of Europe, Africa and the USA’s most promising female jazz singers.

Of course, reggae meets jazz is nothing new. They’ve long been bedfellows in Jamaica and nearby London – notably in the catalogue of Dennis Bovell. But this Special Blend continues the legacy with a similar cool continental flavour that can be heard in Parisian reggae artists like Mo’Kalamity.

The singers all deliver their words in English. Their songs usher you into a world of sultry voices, smoky rooms and idiosyncratic lyrics without the usual non-Jamaicans-doing-reggae topics. It’s enjoyably eccentric pop music – set to Bost and Bim’s percolating space age dub.

First track Love is a 2009 collaboration with Atlanta-based Rosey which puts Western soundtrack style tremolo guitar and Mariachi trumpet to her heavily emoted solicitations. Sweat King - a catchy tale of vertical and possibly horizontal dancing - transposes the tart but compelling phrasing of California’s Brisa Roche from the song’s 2010 rock backing to a horn crested double drummed beat.

No Way by Sierra Leone/Germany’s Mariama is a departure towards conscious electro dancehall. The muted-brass voice of Ugandan-born Sweden-based Jaqee weaves an Entangled Situation to a celestial glockenspiel lullaby.

The album’s second half lets guests remix the remixes. Fabwize turns Sweat King into a rhythmic smog. Masta strips the vocals from Love. Ellen Birath’s suitably childlike Monsters to Stars gets mutated three times – most frighteningly by Left Lane’s robotic metallic dubstep.

At a time when female artists are heard less in reggae and dancehall than they should be (and the industry - this magazine included - is guilty of concentrating on the men) Ladies First is a refreshing and enjoyable venture. If you like Hollie Cook, Brenda Ray or Winston Mcanuff’s experiments with BazBaz and Fixi then this dreamy bubbling cauldron of dub, jazz and pop is for you. 

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