Search My Blogs

Friday, May 5, 2017

Number 6 - "Dem Never Know", Rhythm and Sound

Dem Never Know - Rhythm and Sound

See Mi Yah (2005)

Another one that was largely absent from the other charts. What is this? Well it's essentially Basic Channel, Berlin duo Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald.

Von Oswald is a particularly interesting character, kind of like a less annoying but far more Tuetonic Adrian Sherwood. He's been almost singlehandedly responsible for pioneering this genre of ultra-authentic roots/dub/reggae with a minimalist techno bent.

The point of the exercise is to obtain a purist, authentic original dub reggae (analog) sound with modern (digital) technologies.

And that he's been able to work with some of the biggest names in the notoriously insular reggae business like Cornel Campbell, Jennifer Lara and Love Joy is some testament to the authenticity of the effort.

And this here outing carries the imprimatur of none other than legendary 70s/80s Jamaican DJ Joseph Cotton/Jah Walton, appearing here just for simplicity's sake as Jah Cotton with Ranking Joe, U-Brown AND the Blood & Fire Sound System.

Basically nothing could possibly go wrong, and so nothing does.

The track is lifted from what is unquestionably one of the most obsessively purist of musical exercises ever attempted, and one of the greatest. It's ten different vocal and one instrumental versions of the one rhythm.

They're for the most part only subtly different from each other, but the tonalities of the differences are the work's genius. The artists' claim that

"the tracks are lined up in a way that allows the listener to enjoy See Mi Yah as one continuous program running for about 46 minutes. It's never a bore - and goes on in the listener's head, when voices, rhythm and sound will be long gone."

is entirely credible. But the pinnacle is unquestionably this track.

It belongs here for electing to utterly excel at only one thing. And for honing in on that thing with an obsessive's mania. It soars above the rest of the decade's noise.