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Sheya Mission - Nine Signs and Heavy Dub Volume 1

Sheya Mission - Nine Signs and Heavy Dub Volume 1

Sheya Mission - Nine Signs and Heavy Dub Volume 1

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A standalone entity which surpasses its source.

Sampler

The cool, cerebral productions of Stockholm, Sweden’s JonahGold are a sporadically issued but welcome pleasure for the global eared reggae listener. In 2013 he remixed his critically acclaimed 2008 album with smoky lyricist Daweh Congo, Ghetto Skyline in dub. This year he has done the same to secluded songstress Sheya Mission’s 2011 opus Nine Signs and Heavy Bliss.

Neither of the aforementioned vocal sets were purist reggae (the question “What is pure about reggae?” posed by singer Lloyd Brown is relevant, if perhaps too expansive for this review). Instead they absorbed a variety of styles including hip hop, blues and adult pop. Jonah’s studio craft continues the tradition of his teacher by proxy Dennis Bovell (via the late Internal Dread) - with plenty of Gold’s own ideas thrown in.

Sheya Once again, Nine Signs and Heavy Dub is a markedly different animal than its sung predecessor. Heavy Bliss was an exhaustive CD filling 20 tracks; here a comparatively manageable and LP ready nine have been selected (a second volume of mixes is in the pipeline). Sheya’s deep, detached voice is all the more striking for not being overused amid the sci-fi chatter of acoustic and electronic percussion, sitar and eerie unidentified chants, a second volume of mixes is in the pipeline.

As per the original material Colours is the most immediate standout – although every one of the remaining eight signs – from the beatbox rhythms of Dub Through to the Moorish flavoured Dub Valley – has its place. Jonah’s hand is sure when crafting new soundscapes with his faders, filters and echo effects. Only the stuttering use of a muting effect on the vocals may be an acquired taste – albeit in no way unpleasant. The name Heavy Dub is a misnomer – the bass is not excessive – but that’s part of the record’s subtle charm.

While his vocal records have been of high quality, Jonah’s creations really come into their own when he takes the role of mixing engineer. Like Dubby Skyline, Heavy Dub is a standalone entity which surpasses its source.

Jonah isn’t a prolific producer of long-players through his Goldheart Music imprint. Given his recent central part in Rob Symeonn’s Indigenous for Hawaii’s Jah Youth Production – let this review double as a request for an Indigenous flipside album (and that more labels use Jonah on their projects). 

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