Echo & Smoke
Martin Jondo
Homeground - Groove Attack
June 30, 2006

Martin Jondo - Echo and Smoke Track list
  1. Are You Really Waiting
  2. Caught In A Ghetto
  3. Guiltiness
  4. Just The Other Day
  5. Clearly feat. Gentleman
  6. Children
  7. Hold You
  8. Running For Gold
  9. Hurtful Game
  10. The One
  11. Jah Gringo
  12. Rise Up
  13. Oh Gosh feat. Miss Flint
  14. All I Ever Know
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
"Echo & Smoke" is the long awaited debut album of Germany's newcomer of the year in 2004's poll of Germany's 'Riddim'-reggaemagazine without an official solo release under his belt, just known for the wonderful "Wunderlampe" on Silly Walks' "Songs Of Melody", then impressing last year ago with his first EP "Rainbow Warrior" and last year with the equally impressive (song taken from the soundtrack for the German big screen movie picture by Peter Thorwarth "Goldene Zeiten") "The One" and recently having released his third EP "Are You Really Waiting", Martin Jondo, Berlin resident, son of a German father and a Korean mother, who rose to a certain fame (at least in Germany) through his appearance as support act on Gentleman and Mellow Mark tours, and his guestspot alongside Tamika on Gentleman's "Live" for the song "Rainy Days". Produced like "Rainbow Warrior", "The One" and "Are You Really Waiting" by the Berlin based - originally rap-producer, also involved in Mellow Mark's releases -, Kraans de Lutin, who co-wrote all selections on both his second and third EP as well on this album with the exception of "Clearly". Opening this album is the titletrack "Are You Really Waiting", a fine summer vibe love tune with great saxophone, smooth & sweet, followed by the great "Caught In A Ghetto" of your own, "Guiltiness" - not the Bob Marley tune - and the superb tune about having his ex-lover calling while being with his new lady as a prisoner of her love "Just The Other Day" you called me. "Clearly" is the excellent combination with Gentleman (and Tamika) speaking out against the leaders of the world, fading away and not going to be shown any mercy. The dread vision of a no future is made heartfelt in the sami-acoustic ballad ain't it hard to see the "Children" and to see them having no place to go Lord yeah. "Hold You" is a wonderful uptempo love song that is followed by "Running For Gold" on which Martin Jondo like fellow German reggae singer-songwriter Patrice invokes memories of Bob Marley both in vocal delivery, lyrical style and musical accompaniment to full satisfaction. With Patrice he shares his melodic delivery, the ability to sound vulnerable, but also the ability to be so much in command of the riddim that even as a singer Martin Jondo is also able to ride the riddim, clearly audible in the beautiful oh please Lord never let me fall in love again / cause this is such a "Hurtful Game". The earlier mentioned "The One" from the EP with the same title is in fact the title song of the German big screen movie picture by Peter Thorwarth "Goldene Zeiten" for the soundtrack of which Martin Jondo also contributed "Just The Other Day", and is yet another wonderful tune that was on the EP available in three brilliant versions. "Jah Gringo" is the 'full band' version of the conscious tune that was in its acoustic version included on the "Are You Really Waiting"-EP, and this version has Martin Jondo sounding as much as Patrice as the acoustic version did, and that's a big compliment for both. "Rise Up" is a great tune, after the to my ears false start of the (sampled/programmed?) salsa trumpet intro, but then this upful tune, with the trumpet accents timed well throughout the tune, has you skanking even when you're sitting or lying down, before Miss Flint joins Martin Jondo for the beautiful R&B-ish semi-acoustic ballad "Oh Gosh" and this excellent full length debut album by one of Germany's most promising rising reggae stars is brought to a close by the acoustic "All I Ever Know" - that reminded even one of my never reggae listening colleagues of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" - in very fine style. One thing's for sure, anyone who owns one of his three EPs and likes it or has seen Martin Jondo live on stage or is fond of Patrice's (reggae) tunes knows why, else you have to trust this reviewer that Martin Jondo's "Echo & Smoke" is a very impressive must have debut album.