BOB MARLEY / “Duppy Conqueror” (Fort Knox Five Remix)
Brer Bob, sound like him sneak up in Tuff Gong studio last night for a pure reasoning soundman session with some of his children’s friends. Bob Marley & the Wailers Roots, Rock, Remixed be a remix project of majestic provenance. Look like we will be forever listening ah Bob. Every year or so, some more surfaces. This one even got the family blessing over it. Give access of original tapes to sound mixers with one charge: make it work! Work good. Wind up and skank like if Gong himself was at the controls. Unfortunately the project does not officially drop until Tuesday 24 July 2007, so I am not commenting on the whole of the project. Fortunately the internet is humming, hence this extended preview. In the spirit of yard: if one get a slice, we all eat. I’ve got one official pre-release download and three others I picked up on my fishing expedition. Judging from what I hear of the evidence in hand, the line up of producers have avoided some of the major problems. Like how to make it modern without destroying Bob’s flava; like how to make it club friendly and still retain a roots vibe; like why even fuck with masterpieces when you know you can’t improve on them. In general from what I’ve thus far heard—and mind you I have not yet heard some of the tracks I really want to hear, nevertheless—this is a radical success with minimal failures. Take “400 Years” (Jimpster Remix) this version has very little, very, very little in common with the original but for me it works on the rhythm level. It a go trance country. Heavy bass and all. Peter Tosh’s pure dread-voice menacing the powers that be. Heavy bass drum bump like nyabinghi pulsing in the night. This is definitely not a remake and in crucial senses nowhere near a cover; this is ah one that should ah been called “Another 400 Years.” Another trivia note about the sound of “400 Years” is that whirl-a-thing sound of frogs you hear night time throughout the Caribbean. Almost sound like a sick air conditioner struggling to keep running, but mellow somehow, ya know? Of course if you’ve never heard it you can’t quite know, except that sound is all up in “400 Years.” A brilliant thing, that addition. Warning: it has a house vibe to it—you no like house, you sure no like this. Listening to “Soul Shakedown Party” I immediately think Stephen Marley. This one sound like he had something to do with it; probably not but it has that kind of sound—I mean the way the beat bounces, the spare but totally effective use of the bobbing and weaving bass line. FYI: in conjunction with this cut there is a video contest, go here for more info. “Sun Is Shining” sounds the most old skool of the four tracks; almost like it ah dub version. Bob’s voice is warm up front, ear level, with players of instruments mixed back. Got some trademark Wailers licks sprinkled throughout, including judicious use of melodica (or maybe it’s a keyboard sounding like a melodica). Whatever it is, it really serves up a classic sound. This Yes King Remix is the track that sounds the oldest. Finally, my favorite of the four is the Fort Knox Five Remix “Duppy Conqueror.” This the one Bob cut last night. Sounds like. If you want to know what a club-contemporary Bob might have sounded like, this is the one that brings it in dreads. I can see Bob stepping to this one. I really like the syncopations used through out, the pauses, hesitations and bumps that give the song a live flava as though everyone was in the studio, all on the one even thought in truth this a manufactured joint. Ok, you may now hit the repeat button. ;->) —Kalamu ya Salaam Sunday afternoon All of these remixes are good. Usually, I want to hear the remixer do something radically different, like Jazzeem's great remix of Nina Simone's “Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter.” But for the most part, these remixes stick to the original arrangement, just adding a heavy beat and sound effects here and there. If I hadn't heard these, I'd assume I wouldn't like it, but I do. These remixes don't have that deep, spiritual vibe of Bob's originals, but they do sound good. This is music for riding around in the car or cleaning the house on Sunday afternoon. My favorite one is probably "Sun Is Shining" - I really like that dub break in the middle. "Duppy Conqueror" and "Soul Shakedown Party" are nice too. Now, everybody knows I usually don't like house music, but I'm on the fence about "400 Years." It's got a pretty warm sound for club music. .... Aaagh, you know what? I don't like it. The Wailers and club music just don't go together. I'll take the rest, but I'm skipping this "400 Years" mess. —Mtume ya Salaam
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