UK BUBBLERS RIDDIM REVIEW

BY NAIJAJAMAICAN

Sonically speaking, Reggae as we used to know it, is presently gasping for breath. Some even claim it is in coma, while this conclusion is definitely a stretch, truth is, the genre is in dire straits. Icons are dying off while up and coming artistes linked with the genre appear to be flirting more with other genres for crossover appeal while pretending they are jumping ship to avoid being 'boxed in'. They say it is absurd to be tied to one art form. Oh well, but how often do they circle back to Reggae from their exploration of these other sounds? Purists are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the direction proponents of the genre are headed. This reviewer is a voice in the wilderness, screaming 'Bring Back The Reggae!' It is not all doom and gloom though. There is solace in a few artistes and producers who are still keeping it real. Man like Zige Dub, who is consistently keeping the juggling culture alive in the UK when it is being left for dead in Jamaica....of all places.
Zigedub has put out another juggling material dubbed 'UK Bubblers' - a project unmistakably stamped with that unique rub-a-dub/lovers rock UK vibe that prioritizes clarity of message over hype. First glance at the tracklist, one notices the riddim has more juggernauts on board compared to Zige's immediate past production. That could be a curse rather than a blessing sometimes y'know? As it could ramp up one's expectation and leave one disappointed when delivery falls below a set bar. So I kept my excitement in check until I pressed the play button and boy was I impressed! 
The phenomenal Althea Hewitt got the project started with an uplifting song titled 'Rise and Shine'. Her vocals did justice to the riddim which re-introduces the immortal 'Queen Majesty' bassline to listeners in a scintillating fashion. Her message perfectly soothing and suiting for 4 AM when my alarm clock goes off. You won't hear many songs to serve as motivation for a new day than this one. Althea ticked every box to drown the fears I had about juggernauts underperforming 
Next is Daddy West on 'Accusations'. Well, just like another Nigerian on the list, this man doesn't sound 'African' on a Reggae beat and this is a compliment not a diss. There's a ridiculous notion among some Reggae Heads, particularly in Jamaica, that a Reggae act from Africa cannot deliver as good as acts in Jamaica or the UK but Daddy West tears that argument to shreds and he keeps getting better at what he does. This one is for the lovers who work things out despite unfounded suspicions of infidelity. One of my favorites on the tracklist. 
In comes Fiona with 'Stranger In The Dark'; another artiste who made this project a bedtime material. This is the most seductive song on the set. Her voice like aphrodisiac to the ears - problem! As sexy as this song is, it isn't what she did that makes it very likeable, it is what she didn't do (an Intro). Intros are not always necessary. By skipping that part, Fiona lets the listener appreciate the beauty of the wind instrument on this riddim (Zige, is that a flute or wah? Jeezum!)
Next is Isha Blender on a track titled 'Blessing Unseen'. Not bad but would have preferred she did more deejaying (dancehall stylee) than singing on the riddim.
Now, it's time to deploy the device. It's kind of confusing. Has Jah Device always been Gospel-inclined or is he increasingly tilting toward that niche in recent years? He's got to be the best Gospel Reggae Artiste out of Africa, if this is his new niche. The humming bridge is nice and the backing vocals are infectious. Solid!
Here comes another juggernaut, Peter Hunnigale on the song 'Heartbreaker' - one of two songs addressing the subject on the Riddim. Decent.
Throw a big bedroom voice into a mix-pot containing the concept of Mighty Diamonds 'I Need A Roof' and ask Zigedub to stir - what you get is Peter Spence's 'Stormy Night'. Lovely song.
Richie Davis 'Broken Heart' is perhaps the best entry on this project. Something about the mixing, the backing vocals (I'm a sucker for backing vocals when they are flawlessly done). The hook as well, the note the artiste hit when he went 'youuuuuu'
Robert Emanuel's 'So In Love' is another amazing track on UK Bubblers Riddim. (for almost the same reasons sighted in the previous paragraph). Another bedtime capsule. Please don't play if you're lonely (sic)
Sabrina Diva serves some summer loving on 'Summer Crush' which is another decent Lovers Rock song on the riddim. Come to think of it, it is presently summer in the UK, innit?
We are back on the Baritone avenue with 'Make You Love Me' by Steve Santana. You will find a little bit of Garnett Silk on this one
Last but by no means the least on the tracklist is Troy Anthony with 'Start A New'  - another gospel-sounding tune on the riddim. Something about the song that reminds one of Frankie Paul, not in terms of vocals but delivery. Familiar wailing at the intro by the way. Also fascinating is the concept in lyrics - the singer advises you to consider and submit yourself as a record to Jah who is the selectah that would take control of the console. Interesting.
By and large, UK Bubblers is undoubtedly a bigger and better project than the immediate past juggling from the stables of Zigedub, both in terms of the number of guest artistes and quality of delivery.
It is refreshing and reassuring to still find projects that exemplify Reggae at it's purest form in a time when industry folks are frolicking in unfamiliar territories.
Big ups to Zigedub and every artiste on this project.
Strongly recommended !

UK BUBBLERS RIDDIM

VARIOUS ARTISTS

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The UK Bubblers Riddim is finally here, after months of anticipation it has finally landed. When people hear the term "UK Bubblers" some maybe taken back to when UK based record label Greensleeves that was founded by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick created a subsidiary label called "UK Bubblers" which focused on reggae acts from the UK, the UK

The UK Bubblers Riddim is finally here, after months of anticipation it has finally landed. When people hear the term "UK Bubblers" some maybe taken back to when UK based record label Greensleeves that was founded by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick created a subsidiary label called "UK Bubblers" which focused on reggae acts from the UK, the UK Bubblers riddim is something different. The riddim pays homage to the sound coming out of the UK,that rub a dub lovers rock flavour that dominated the UK in the late 70s and the 80s. The compilation provides a strong message of empowerment and positivity, the overarching theme revolves around seizing control of a UK identity even though the artists are from different parts of the world. The emotional resonance of the lyrics in the songs are uplifting and motivational, urging listeners to embrace optimisim in the sound. From an artistic standpoint, the simple yet impactful language used in the lyrics effectively conveys a clear and direct message....The power of Rub A Dub music is still here and thriving Songs from the likes of Peter Hunnigale, Richie Davis, Peter Spence, Troy Anthony, Steve Santana, Jah Device, Sabrina Diva, Althea Hewitt, Fiona, Daddy West, Isha Blender and Robert Emanuel

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jah device

LOVE RUDIMENTS UNRELEASED VERSION

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RUDIMENTS RIDDIM REVIEW

BY NAIJAJAMAICAN

Okay so, while I'm still preeing wah a gwaan inna di reggae circuit back a yard Jamaica from far with discontent due to this new 'experimental' trend pundits have come to explain away with one word - 'evolution', I got to really discover how much I've been missing out with my fixation on developments in Jamaica when many artistes and producers outside of JA actually stick to the foundation - the 'roots'.

One of such names is Zigedub (Don't be fooled by his name, he isn't Wayne Lonesome that specializes in dub-cutting, neither is he focused on Dub Reggae - that art form of scanty 'sawn-off vocals on fading loops spinning on versions (or what a novice would call 'instrumentals'). Zigedub is much more than all of that, he wears so many caps on his intellectual head (yet always wears one on his display pictures). Zigedub is an On Air Personality, a Pundit and a Producer -  Stingray Records Associate (last time I checked) as well as so much more. Anyway this is not a Zigedub citation. This is about his new project aptly titled Rudiments Riddim

The riddim is indeed a reminder to those who  perhaps distracted by the frenzy of fusion/hybrid experimentation, have forgotten about the rudiments of Reggae.Reminder, cos it does sound familiar , innit? I thought it was too...but couldn't quite  tell where I heard something similar until I visited zigedub.com and there it was; a re-work of same bass line Cornell Campbell classic "Queen of the minstrels" was recorded on.  I love reprised riddims, one of them (Dutty Money Riddim; a reworked or some might argue, an exact replica of Go-Go Club Riddim) is presently taking Dancehall by storm.

Rudiments open with Troy Anthony 'International Love'. A call for people to turn a new leaf; away from vices and schemes that threaten the bond we ought to share, regardless of differences in race, creed, religion or political affiliations. I love the song, delivery is like Everton Blender and Luciano in one person. Not saying he sounds like those greats, he just reminds you of them in his own unique way. It's my second best cut on the project.

Next is (I actually played the first track a couple of times before I hit the Next button) is Sabrina Diva with 'Ital Love'. I love the song, especially how she hit the modulation button while transitioning to the hook from the verses and if cupid could wail, I guess a part of this song could probably suffice for that... sonically. I need to listen to other materials from her. The song is also my second best song on the protect..you see, I got a tie for runners up (if riding the riddim were a contest)

In comes di tune called 'I Thank Jah'  by Steve Santana. Is he related to Mad Sam? Something similar in their voice texture, except for the fact that Mr Santana is slightly closer to a Barry White on a vocal scale  than the former.

Jah Device. Now, this is interesting. I'm perhaps more familiar with this brother's catalogue than everyone else's on the project. I love how he opened the song. The intro gave me that "this song is gonna be fire as usual' feeling but it kinda tapers off after that. I can't pin-point why I'm scoring it slightly above average instead of excellent as most of his songs are. Could it be Jah Device throwing in patois that hits slight differently from his economical use of the lingo in other jams or the fact that I feel he slightly over-played backing vocals? Maybe it should have been deployed more sparingly. I know Jah Device, artistically speaking (not in person) and I perhaps expected more. This brother dropped the best Gospel Reggae song I heard in 2023

Nyha is next with 'Love Yourself ". Message  remind me of a Mr Vegas song of same title . Good song. Some Dennis Brown texture in his vocals (and he ain't the only one on this project that has that ingredient )

It's gonna be alright by Daddy West has got to be my best on project. I love how the backing vocals are chimed in intermittently at some points and generously in others.

There's a bridge in this song, did you notice it (around 2:11 - 2:17 mark)? Did other tracks have this? Oh they did? I guessed I missed them. Message is key but it is some other minute details like this that actually blow me away (I guess I am in the minority, most reggae pundits come to define reggae solely on the basis of message/lyrics whereas I study harmony/melodies and structure more)

Ablewell Foundation did okay on 'Jah Love'  but I didn't quite put it on repeat like I did others.

 

Overall, this project is a solid material for the lovers of Classic Reggae

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