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Busy Signal - Reggae Music Again

Busy Signal - Reggae Music Again

Busy Signal - Reggae Music Again

By on - 8 comments

Everything modern reggae can be today.


Busy Signal's albums 'Step Out' (2006), 'Loaded' (2008) and 'D.O.B' (2010) have seen the deejay-turned-autotune-crooner strike out beyond hard dancehall with increasing diversity. We’ve heard Busy turn Latin, go country and warble late night love, so one drop and other roots reggae was never going to be a stretch.

Busy Signal - Reggae Music AgainHis trumpeted 2012 throwback release 'Reggae Music Again' has rarely been out of the news since it was announced back in 2011. Several tracks were leaked and the promo championed by David Rodigan MBE, whose criticisms of recent Jamaican dancehall have caused much discussion. Whatever you think of Rodigan's appraisal of the music in general, his golden ears have served him well here.

The album is mixed by Busy's manager Shane Brown and his father Errol Brown (engineer of Treasure Isle and then Tuff Gong). Another key player is drummer Kirk Bennett, a possible latter-day Sly, who co-writes some of the rhythms. He is joined by various members of C-Sharp who are very much the cream collective in Jamaica.

Even when chatting positive lyrics over their rootsy reverberated backings Busy remains earthy and frank. Opener Run Weh, sounding free of pitch correction, warns that the wicked will have "the skin stripped from them face" by Jah (he doesn't invoke Selassie). Fiendishly catchy single Come Over (Missing You) and the moody minor key Royal Night (featuring a lovely Chinna/Al Anderson style solo from Lamont Savory) are clean but leave little to the imagination.

Most fascinating is the dubby, Barry Brown sampling Kingston Town, which seems to actively recast Alborosie's reality anthem of the same name, changing the perspective to that of an island resident from birth. 80s inspired combination 119 features a rather raspy veteran hype-man Joe Lickshot and an unchanged Anthony Redrose. But it's not all about looking back - Fire Ball synthesizes rapid fire deejay delivery with dub, whilst the R&B flavoured Running From The Law pairs Busy with another byword for class in Jamaica, Romain Virgo, who has his own longplayer ready to drop.

The sole nitpicking quibble is that perhaps the two tracks of Dean Fraser's sweet sax (Sweetest Life and Comfort Zone) could have been broken up rather than compiled back to back at the album's rear. The disc ends with Busy's moving statement of intent where he explains that "this music was never my first choice but I grew to understand".

"One drop" sets from dancehall artists are not new. Capleton cut one in 2010 and Mr Vegas was poised to release his currently postponed effort in early 2012. It might be tempting for some to point to this one, not as a first but as a pivotal moment like Buju Banton’s 'Til Shiloh' - but that is journalistic hyperbole, and for history to decide. There will also be suggestions that, like 'Til Shiloh' did for Buju, 'Reggae Music Again' might take Busy too far away from the dancehall - yet the quality of this album renders all such thoughts irrelevant. A fantastic example of everything modern Jamaican reggae can be today.

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Read comments (8)

Posted by eddy on 04.10.2012
You cool men !

Posted by michael oti on 04.12.2012
Album of the year no doubt !

Posted by donatien on 04.15.2012
If modern reggae is about auto-tune... it's not a good news at all.

Posted by Sug on 04.16.2012
I do think autotune is a part of modern reggae albeit overused. There is also the question of how well these songs will stand up in live performance but that is not relevant to the album review.

Posted by Bateya on 04.16.2012
Crucial album and very interesting review!
Busy is amazing on every styles.

Posted by bacarri on 04.16.2012
Hello I like you.

Posted by Lamilke on 04.16.2012
"It's been a long long long long long long time, we no have no vibes like this
Play di music again!
REGGAE music again!
It's been so so so so long –
We no listen to some old time Reggae song
Play di music again!
As a Reggae mek wi unite again

If you were in my shoes –
You would si seh mi nuh choose music, a mi music choose
Impossible fi mi refuse
Caah mek no excuse
And if a di good vibe you waah, bring di real ting come
Reggae music live on, can dun!
So mek it play
For the rest of my days"

-- Busy Signal - Reggae Music Again

Posted by Brooks on 06.27.2012
So de vibes me positive....atche.........................

Comments actually desactivated due to too much spams

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