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Pyrotechnist: Fire Crackers

Then it's slowly enough again with the 70s revival. There have been plenty of new recordings lately with a glorified view of the good old days: Here a part Roots, there a part Lovers Rock, spiced with a touch of Ska and / or Rocksteady, which can be stirred or shaken with analog instruments and DubEffects - the new, old cocktail as it is now served on American and European platforms is ready. The roots-oriented productions of Roberto Sanchez proven: He has succeeded in replicating the essence of Jamaican productions of the late 70s and bringing it into the present day. With this, Sanchez has set a milestone that can be used to measure other productions - even if they start earlier and use recordings from the early 70s as a reference.

One can and should ask the question whether such a 70s revival trend makes sense at all: Why reproduce a sound of which there are plenty of excellent originals thanks to labels like Pressure Sounds? Why imitate the old masters of the genre if you can't muster up their inventiveness, enthusiasm for experimentation, but also audacity and disrespect for all technical standards and customs? Back then, these weren't considered, balanced sounds that caressed the ear, but rather the full broad side beyond the stop: A King Tubby didn't care whether an effect was completely overdriven and the PA or studio monitors were overloaded; only the result counted. The replicas completely lack this daring; Sometimes you can't help but get the impression that only mid-o-esque background sound was recorded for dignified shopping malls à la Galerie Lafayette: boring, irrelevant. And yet the revival bands have a certain status as a live act; With a much more powerful sound, they make the stage a place where the arrangements á la 70s can be really fun. 

I assume that it is similar with the Belgian band project Pyrotechnist. Their album "Fire Crackers" (Badasonic Records) has just been released and offers not only a clean sound but also dignified arrangements that are not too short DubEffects are offset. The focus is on the early 70s; memories of Jackie Mittoo, Augustus Pablo, Dave Barker & Ansel Collins, but also Sly Dunbar are sought. All in all, this results in an eclectic and unspectacular mixture of reggae and rocksteady with a hint of Ska. It only gets exciting when brass sections come into play; when drums are mixed so far in the background that only snare and fills can be heard; when (finally again) the Clavinet plays a role or the sometimes outstanding ones Dub-Push effects into focus. 

Of course, one can understand the album in its entirety as a bow to the aforementioned master instrumentalists; the recordings do not do justice to the originals. So who will enjoy “Fire Crackers”? Probably nostalgic and the Lafayette Gallery; I recommend the corresponding releases of Blood & Fire, Pressure Sounds & Co. to everyone else.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

3 replies to "Pyrotechnist: Fire Crackers"

I can't do much with Rocksteady, so I recommend the Roberto Sanchez productions "Ten Thousand Lions" (Ras Teo)
https://open.spotify.com/album/77fQw2MoiWbW3CCilCzc45?si=4nvO85nhRp-K0NJs8rBVGQ
and "Natty Farming" (Earl Sixteen)
https://open.spotify.com/album/05qt8lEQd7baYREZhpiNcK?si=2CnQCZaVTY-_99OIh9bOiw
as well as the wonderful compilation "Deep Roots Music & Dub: The 10 ″ Collection “
https://open.spotify.com/album/0kihxjAzpQz1eiiU39gPSs?si=3JAXPb5XQs2YHSic0WkKHQ

Sorry if this is only brief now (well, he finally wants to be brief, maybe some or all of them think) but I can only say that I have this disc on my shopping list, so I probably didn't find it at all so bad. Probably the connection to the fantastic originals blinded me again. But as gtkriz has already written so nicely, the remakes come with a clean sound, dignified (not staid) arrangements and not too concise Dubeffects in our ears and I probably can't get out of my skin again. I'm a nostalgic anyway, with
the penchant for science fiction. So a split personality with firm principles ... if anyone knows what I mean ;-)
Yes, and I will definitely like the new Alpheus again, like everything from him.

Cheers ……………………. lemmi

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