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Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds

Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds

Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer Sounds

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Impressive look at the sounds & influence of digital reggae music.


Back in 1984 King Jammy came across the Casio MT-40 keyboard. He plugged it in, switched it on, chose one of the auto rhythms called rock which was based around the old Eddie Cochran hit ‘Something Else’, hit one of the tiny keys on the left hand side that added a bass melody and the shape of reggae music was changed forever as what emanated from the little built in speaker was what would become known as the ‘Sleng Teng’ riddim.

Invasion Of The Mysteron Killer SoundsThe Casio MT-40 back then was like electronic punk rock in that it now enabled a lot of ordinary people with no musical ability to easily and relatively cheaply, it retailed for around £100 pounds, make music with all sorts of sounds from trumpet to glockenspiel, add drum beats and of course bass melodies and do all types of exciting things, I should know I had one back then as well!

Anyhow history lesson over this 2 CD, 35 track collection, compiled by Soul Jazz’s Stuart Baker and Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin embraces, past, present and future sounds of digital reggae and dance music that at times paints stark almost post apocalyptic visions in your mind, can draw you into an almost hypnotic trance like state or just makes ya wanna move. Disc 1 is down to The Bug and Steely and Clevie’s hip hop flavoured opener ‘Streetsweeper’ certainly falls into the latter category as it’s precise, crisp beat has something of a parade ground drill feel about it. Lenky’s ‘Diwali’, celebrates the victory of good over evil to a beguiling Bhangra / Bollywood beat, while Fira’s ‘Hummer Version’ feels like a creepy mix of Halloween and Blade Runner. In amongst all the various styles of disc 1 there is also an appearance by the irrepressible Tippa Irie with the Grynch on the more traditional dancehall sounding ‘Electro Agony in Dub’.

Disc two, with Stuart at the controls, has more to offer digi-reggae fans as some familiar names and riddims stand out. The daddy that started it all ‘Sleng Teng’ is mashed up with panache by King Tubby on ‘Fat Thing Version’ and Sly Dunbar leaves Robbie to team up with Christopher Birch on the frenetic space age dancehall styled ‘Corners Boy’. Prince Jazzbo and Pliers follow a different path as they take old Studio Riddims riddims ‘Heavenless’ and ‘Give Me The Right’ and very subtly add digi touches on ‘Great Stone Version’ and ‘I’m Your Man Dub’. The best mix of old and new for me however is by Henfield and Shadowman, a couple of artists that are new to me, with their cut ‘Babatunde’ which uses the hook line from the ‘Slaving Riddim’, probably best known for its use on I Roy’s ‘Blackman Time’, to create a very contemporary, digi – organic, dancehall hybrid number with a classic twist that is just dying for a “chat”.

Soul Jazz have over the years garnered quite a name for themselves when it comes to compilations, go listen to their Studio One or Dynamite series for proof and this impressive look at a musical genre that is sometimes cheaply regarded as being cold and soulless completely disproves that theory. The cuts here are varied and exciting slices of technological wizardry and with the majority of songs coming in at just over 3 minutes none out stay there welcome. Although not what I’d call a regular reggae album the traditions and influence of it can be felt in every electronic beat and note and highlights the profound influence that digital reggae music has over many modern dance music styles.

Tags: Soul Jazz

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