Forward Outta Babylon
Jahson Ites
Sick Donkey Records
October 26, 2009

Track list
  1. Down In Babylon
  2. New Day feat. Bluejay & Essential I
  3. Standing Firm
  4. R-A-S-P-E-C-T feat. Bluejay & Essential I
  5. Easy Vibe
  6. That's Rastafari
  7. Nah Murdah
  8. One Of These Days
  9. Warmonger
  10. Focus Ya Mind feat. Essential I
  11. Vulture
  12. Giving Thanks & Praise feat. Adrian Xavier, Bluejay & Essential I
  13. Rasta Things feat. Essential I
  14. One Of These Days (Radio Edit)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Jahson Ites began his musical experimentation and spiritual striving early in his childhood, encompassing organ, electric guitar, classical guitar, bass guitar, Nyahbinghi drumming, and other types of hand percussion in the musical spectrum, and studying Orthodox Christianity, Zen Bhuddism, Sufism, and Rastafari. He has two decades experience playing punk rock, accoustic folk, roots reggae, and dancehall, performing Nyahbinghi drumming and chanting with his family as Ites Family Dread, teaching Nyahbinghi workshops at gatherings throughout the Pacific Northwest, and writing for fanzines published accross the U.S. and around the world.

In 1990 Jahson Ites moved to Santa Cruz, CA, where he made his first links with Rastafari People and was introduced to Nyahbinghi drumming and chanting by widely respected Kette drummer David "Dave-I" Wright. He learned to play the heartbeat and sing his first chants in an ocean-erroded cave on the beach north of town. This well-known spiritual focal-point has since been reclaimed by the rock and sea water that created it, but over the following years Jahson Ites would often hear Nyahbinghi drumming and chanting within himself reverberating from the deep foundations of that cave.

In February of 2001, Jahson Ites and his family moved to the remote mountains of Northcentral Washington to live Ital and simple according to their Rastafari ideals. Their 12'X16' cabin beside a small creek, with no plumbing, telephone, or electricity, became a conduit of musical and spiritual inspiration, and after a 3 week trip to Jamaica in 2004 a flood of songs, which has still not slowed, began to issue forth from the heart and mind of this simple woodcutter.

Jahson Ites has worked with and played supporting sets for artists such as Stephen & Damian Marley, Rocker T, Ras Attitude, Adrian Xavier & the Dub Championz, Steffen Franz aka Stand Out Selector, Bill Ortiz (of Santana), Karney, Sizzla Kalonji's Judgement Yard, the Crucialites, Hawaii's Freesound and many others. He is as likely to be found chanting at a generator-powered sound system party miles past the end of the pavement on a far-flung mountain road, in small clubs packed to the gills and overflowing into the street, or on a festival mainstage in front of thousands. This has all culminated in the release of Jahson Ites' 2007 debut album "Forward Outta Babylon", which reached us recently along with Jahson Ites' original "Standing Firm Riddim" that has been released as 'one riddim' album by Sick Donkey Records.

Throughout the album Jahson Ites shows his ability to adjust his vocal style to the riddim he has to ride. It's his strength, but on the other hand it might also turn out to be his weakness because as a listener you simply don't get the chance to become familiar with his vocal delivery as it can go in every direction. Luckily this is not the case with his lyrical delivery. From beginning to end the listener is treated to strictly positive and insightful lyrics and conscious messages. Musically the album has its fair share of modern roots reggae tunes, but besides that it also contains tracks with a strong hiphop vibe, which might turn off the true reggae fan. This would be a real pity, because with tunes such as the solid album opener "Down In Babylon" with its sparkling musical backdrop, the mellow sounding "Easy Vibe", "Warmonger" with its appealing anti-war and anti-violence lyrics, the skanking "Rasta Things", and "Standing Firm", the undisputed standout of this set, Jahson Ites shows that he has enough potential to draw notable attention from the reggae massive.