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Sly & Robbie: Red Hills Road

I almost get the impression that the world is now ready for instrumental reggae. Perhaps the ever-growing popularity of Dub pioneered the little sister “Instrumentals”. But it can also be that some dancehall aficionados - starved by the minimalism of the beats between hip hop and trap - are now demanding a full sound, rolling grooves and real arrangements (we are all getting older). Clive Hunt's fantastic album “Blue Lizzard” as well as the superb “Jamaica By Bus” from Addis Records - both released just a few weeks ago - arouse hope. Not to mention “Manasseh Meets Praise” or the beautiful albums by Marcel-Philipp - all impressive instrumental works of more recent date. Probably standard for the colleagues from the Ska faction, it causes us reggae listeners to get excited. And now Sly & Robbie come with their new instrumental album "Red Hills Road“(Taxi) around the corner - no Dub, mind you. “I have a great love for instrumental reggae,” explains Sly Dunbar, “In the times of Ska and Rocksteady there were a lot of instrumentals, but not afterwards. Especially not with dancehall ”. The one developed in a very similar way Dub-Music. In times of full-bodied roots rhythms, the genre flourished and then - at least in Jamaica - finally blessed the time with the advent of digital dancehall beats. Only outside of the island does the genre live on and today forms a reggae parallel world that surprises even the globetrotter Sly and is more European due to the mighty “rumbeling sound” Dub-Soundsytems raves: “Europe is a huge market for Dub - Dub is just nice there ”. But Sly & Robbie wouldn't be the Riddim Twins if they just followed trends. With their life's work in their pockets and the sheep probably halfway dry, the two no longer have to prove themselves and just do their thing, beyond trends, mainstream expectations and chart placements (just as they have always liked to do) . With this relaxed attitude, the two twins, who are as physically different as they are emotionally closely related, created crazy instrumental tunes in the pop studio that mock any concept and stylistic uniformity. The lowest common denominator is that most of the tunes try to think of dancehall as instrumental. But there are also Kumina and Mento borrowings, musky soul schnulzen as well as age-old recordings from the 1990s. To call the collection an “album” is, in any case, imposture. But, what can I say: Nothing fits together here, dancehall in the form of instrumentals definitely doesn't work and no one needs to bang Dean Fraser saxophone either - and yet “Red Hills Rd.” Is somehow a charming work. The quirky bizarre productions, the radical rollercoaster of sounds (everything has to come out) as well as the audacity to break so badly with the good reggae taste give “Red Hills Rd.” The status “worth hearing”.
Incidentally, Red Hills Road was Kingston’s nightclub street in the 1970s. This is where Sly & Robbie got to know and appreciate each other when they played in competing clubs (Sly in "Tit for Tat" and Robbie in "Evil People") and used the breaks to visit and listen to each other. So the album is something of a homage to this legendary street - and their studio is still located at number 30 to this day.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

2 replies to "Sly & Robbie: Red Hills Road"

"But it can also be that some dancehall aficionados - starved by the minimalism of the beats between hip hop and trap - are now demanding a full sound, rolling grooves and real arrangements."

Not possible! ………… ;-)

Minimalist beats between hip hop and trap! You can't take it for long anyway. Typical Heipa Heipa music without class. Trendy Andy music. Mass instead of class. Sorry, if I had to go one step further, but the quoted sentence speaks to me from the bottom of my heart.
How good that Sly and Robbie have always been trending, doing their thing and still doing it. And they don't have to follow the European “rumbeling sound” either.
If so, then they set the trends and that was a good thing. If everyone just followed certain trends or hype, it would be like an algorithm in which everything is adjusted at some point and there is no longer any diversity. Until someone invents a new trend that everyone can or want to follow again. Then you could no longer recognize Sly And Robbie by their unmistakable style and they would z. B. (at the moment) only making "Rumbeling Sound". It is good if everyone does their own thing, because this creates variety, or variety remains.
Even if there is almost no reggae on “Red Hills Road”, I would probably have recognized immediately that Sly And Robbie are at work here. Especially since I already have a similar disc from the two of them or from the taxi gang. But this one I like even better. I don't feel like it every day, but this morning, for example, it catapulted my good Friday mood into the best holiday mood. The very first tune "Yaw yaw yippee" tickled my buttocks and it was difficult for me to sit still. Until then the keyboard came and played a few "forbidden tones" and repeated them every now and then. Then I was out of the number. Mad Piano hasn't really grabbed me either and I thought, all right, to the files with the disc. But then “Linsted Market” follows! I think that's really great. The riddim pushes me a lot and the violin and the benjo (?) Play some very charming little melodies. That's almost enough to click BUY. “Belly Dancer” doesn't have that fine “tinsel” around the riddim, but then I stay on the dance floor and continue hotte. Sweet "Dub“Is difficult for me. Bass and Drum pump me up tremendously and I don't even need to spend the night in a Kabadose to get a little bit of "megalomania". Aaaaaaaber dear Sly Dunbar the sound of the snare - or the beat on which the snare usually drops - does not work for me at all. I don't like that drum sound at all. I can’t resist the following “unfortunately” ;-)…. "So far away"! ???
How good that René has already "cleared" the way for me a bit. "Nobody needs to make a noise with Dean Fraser playing the saxophone."
I agree !!! But hey, one of them still works ;-) …… .. It awakens the association with me, a new episode of Bergdoktor is currently on and Dean Frazer is playing for the "happy ending".
(His saxophone sound only sounds to me as if it had been gendered too much).
“When Love Is New” …… NAAIIN (NO) Yes! Oooh! "Barry White" or what? Neeeee, I'm gone. I go into the gate voluntarily.
Then rather "Hall and Pull Up"! I don't know how long this will last for me, but at the moment it works really well for me. I also take "santa Barbara" with me by the way,
whereby the "snare" knocks too penetratingly for me here. "El Bang Bang" !!! Yeah man !!! Caribian Roots Music !!! “Nayabinghy” a la “Beat Box” always works for me. The oppressors have to be killed every day, otherwise we will never come to peace on earth here. "Two Thirty" splashes completely past me without getting me wet.
And “Coronation Market” fits my stuff very well just because of the accordion. That's exactly how I like the accordion and that's exactly how you could do it for me in one or the other Dub transfer.

Have I really written so much about the record now? I don't eat that good either! But I like it …………………………. lemmi

I found it particularly interesting that in his Gleaner interview (from which I had quoted) Sly Dunbar felt the need to tell his Jamaican readers about the Dub- Enlighten sound from Europe. This shows how far the worlds of contemporary reggae / dancehall and Dub have diverged.

But you have to admit that Dub evolves much, much more slowly than dancehall reggae. On the other hand, it is much more independent - and, in my opinion, musically more demanding - than dancehall. The latter can hardly be distinguished from the styles cited in the article.

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