For some time now it seems to have been an international trend to give current productions a clear timestamp - in the sense of "back to the past": the item may sound like it was from the 1970s or 1980s, but it is brand new. Sometimes you get the impression that you are dealing with music that sounds more original than the original. All the ingredients that once accompanied reggae on its way to its zenith are called up to offer the listeners a very special kind of déjà vu experience: vintage instruments and studio equipment, classic arrangements and songwriting as you would expect no longer knows in the genre today. Voilá: Everything like the good old days, only much better.
Anyone doing such a production must have done their homework and dealt intensively with the historical recordings; has to know how to get that special sound out of instruments and mixer; must have immersed himself in the classical genre-specific voice guidance or its arrangements - reggae compulsory subjects, so to speak. That is roughly equivalent to a university degree in "Vintage Reggae 101", and I take my hat off to anyone who deals so thoroughly with the subject.
Chapeau in front of Roberto Sanchez aka Lone Ark, who mastered this task perfectly and internalized it as a producer - as one can find on Earl Sixteen's "Natty Farming"Or Ras Teo's"Ten Thousand Lions“Can listen, including wonderfully earthy Dub Versions. Now Sanchez is not only an instrumentalist and sound engineer with his own studio, he also stands in front of the microphone as a singer - just remember his somewhat stiff vocals, which he fronted his Basque Dub Foundation has sung. He has since remedied this shortcoming, as can be seen on his new release "Lone Ark Meets The 18th Parallel: Showcase Vol. 1"Can listen to:
Wonderful, the reviewer couldn't be happier: Superb production; clear, down-to-earth and powerful mixing; Echo & Hall fly wonderfully low and last but not least: Beautiful, soft vocals transport harmonies in the typical vocal trio style. And yet, especially with the above "Build an Ark (Extended Mix)" a strange feeling arises. Haven't I heard that before? The chorus seems to be from the Wailing Souls, the verses from Black Uhuru ... isn't that the vocal line of "Shine Eye Gal"? The text even begins similarly: "I rise early looking some tea ..." (Michael Rose) vs. "Early in the morning while I make i-self a cup of tea ..." (Roberto Sanchez). Hmmm ... frowning is the order of the day - is anyone else like that?
Intentional or not, repetitions or similarities arguably inevitable in the historically accurate evocation of the glorious old days. Ultimately, however, it can never be too much of a good thing, and with the Lone Ark / The 18th Parallel Showcase Vol. 1 we have a very successful release in front of us, which can be recommended without reservation - especially what the Dubs concerns: Sanchez lets the snare roll through the soundscape, the singing spits out staccato-like echoes - KingTubby would probably not have done it differently. It dawns on me: You don't have to keep reinventing the world; Sometimes it is also beneficial to process the old qualities and thus celebrate a piece of history in the here and now. That means: After Vol. 1 comes Vol. 2, and I'm already looking forward to it.