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Revelation Congo by The Manor

Revelation Congo by The Manor

Revelation Congo by The Manor

By on - 4 comments

One man's journey through the music and culture he loves.


Reggae is often characterised, particularly by European enthusiasts, as a music of feeling over technique. Yet, even if we ignore the perennial tired stereotypes of African-rooted music as inherently visceral, this generalisation is demonstrably shaky. After all, both jazz and blues, which are perceived to be more "technical" disciplines, were replicated fairly easily by foreign acolytes, even if certain aspects were emphasised egregiously in keeping with said stereotypes. Reggae rhythms, by contrast, were rarely rendered or produced with any competence by foreigners until the last two decades or so.

'Revelation Congo', the second long format release on Springline Records by Londoner the Manor is a good example of such meticulous competence. It is quite openly and unashamedly influenced by the works of past masters, mainly Lee Scratch Perry, although Tubbys test-tones, the inexorable, snare driven minimalism of Scientist, and the UK digi-heaviness of Mad Professor also come into play.

Manor describes his guitar playing as informed by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, while the drums and bass are from Perry. The album is also replete with further Scratch-isms: cowbells, archive light entertainment samples and gnomic utterances. Manor’s voice, naturally cleaner than that of partner in his band Rainbow Nation and fellow Springliner Yabass, has been dirtied-up with processing and effects, and phrases everything in a remarkable impersonation of the Upsetter's grainy half-spoken style.

The numerous theological and biblical references are heartfelt, for the Manor is a committed, if unorthodox, believer in God. Reminiscences about “a government yard in Trenchtown” and discussion of the Bobo concept of the trinity in his lyrics may strike listeners as strange coming from a non-Jamaican – yet these topics result from his extensive reading on the subject.

Due to financial considerations, earlier Springline albums were issued without mastering. Thankfully, this release comes with a crisp, professional polish that suits Manor's painstaking production. At times the subtle precision and creativity of some of the drum sounds hark back even to the golden ears of the likes of Tubby and Perry themselves.

If “forward ever and backward never” means a commitment to the latest innovations, then this set may offer you little. But for lovers of reggae and dub the way it used to be, this is a sincere tribute: a nicely crafted window into one man's journey through the music and culture he loves.

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Read comments (4)

Posted by GadManDubs on 06.06.2010
I agree with you, The Manor has an authentic cultural vibe about his musical works.
We are honoured to be blessed with his fellowship over at the reggae family network.
Thanks for your great review!

Posted by Jules on 06.10.2010
Manor keeps it dread and conscious with his music. His style is broad, yet uncompromising in its dedication to roots and culture. A true legend of the underground, Manor continues to influence the sound and direction of genuine dub artists.

Posted by Dr. Strangedub on 06.12.2010
Just love everything I've heard from Revelation Congo. The Manor is unbelievably authentic, yet still unique in delivery. Fantastic modern roots release - with its roots firmly planted in the classic seventies Rastafari sound.

Posted by Don Fe on 07.02.2010
One of the most genuinely nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and this beauty resonates through his music......... straight from the heart!!! Blessings to the Manor!

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