One Ton / Nation Music - Soulfood Music
October 10, 2008
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
The Phenom Melody moniker that Swiss singjay
Dennis Furrer a.k.a. Phenomden used especially for his "Style-Generator" album - a
phenomenal (pun intended) tour de force with sheer brilliance shining through in
everything on and about that album, even in the choice of the name Phenom Melody as a
tribute to the Melodies that took the spotlight in the second half of the 80s - when in
the post-'Sleng Teng'-era digital riddims dominated the dancehalls - like Bobby,
Courtney, Delroy, Lilly, Mikey and Singing Melody to name a few ... even "Style
Generator"'s sleeve design made clear it was a serious project, looking like it could
have come out of any leading Jamaican studio in the second half of the 80s. And then the
tunes completed an album that seemed to simply have suddenly fallen down from the skies
after a 20 year journey - however has been traded again for his Phenomden modern roots
and a tad of dancehall style (except for the sleeve design) on "Gangdalang", the regular
successor of his very promising 2005 debut "Fang Ah".|
As usually released on One Ton Records, the label of Philip 'One Ton' Schnyder von Wartensee, executive producer of this album and bassplayer of the legendary Swiss reggae band Ganglords, who also contribute a riddim, but many of the riddims once more are provided by The Scrucialists (whose guitar player Luc Montini appeared on "Style-Generator" as Belly Ranking) with several other top (German) producers contributing riddims and production. The album opens with its first single "Stah Da" - accompanied by this nice videoclip - celebrating being on tour and then performing as singjay over a very nice backing by The Scrucialists, who also provide the backing and production for the wonderful "Roots", with Phenomden very nicely chatting about his own roots before addressing the rocky road of life in "Steinig" over a wonderful riddim by Supersonic Sound's Junior Blender for his Blenders Finest label and the brilliant love-gone-wrong tune "Schriibe" over Pow Pow Movement's one drop acoustic guitar 'Overstand'-riddim.
Then Phenomden again addresses the hardships of life in these modern times in "Moderni Ziite" over a beautiful bubbling riddim by Ganjaman, followed by the Lazy Youth (for - his former sound - Soundquake) produced combination "Viil Lüüt" featuring Gambian Rebellion The Recaller about the poor in the ghetto. The second Junior Blender production is the very catchy "Dance Im Olivehain" across the brilliant 'Love Is A Treasure' a.k.a. 'Kaffee'-riddim and then Phenomden delivers the smashing lovers tunes "Für Immer" over a very nice handclap driven riddim by Rootdown Records' Thilo 'Teka' Jocks and "Was Isch D'Liebi" over Supersonic's underrated 'Devils Angel'-riddim. The second riddim Ganjaman contributes is as strong as the first and features Senjay & Jamin of the Austrian IBK Tribe alongside Phenomden for the impressive "Chugle", before the absolute masterpiece of this album "Reggae-Kultur" is delivered, name-checking several legendary singers, DJs, labels and producers in a short history of reggae backed by The Scrucialists.
One Ton's Ganglords contribute the riddim with great organ and horn riffs (by the Kung Fu Horns) for "Zrugg Zu Dir" about longing to be back with his (former?) baby and then Pow Pow's Ingo Rheinbay provides the riddim for the excellent penultimate song "Lied Im Ohr" before this extremely strong Phenomden album is brought to its close with its Scrucialists backed Nyahbinghi influenced titletrack "Gangdalang". This album is a must but for every reggae lover, even if you are not able to understand Phenomden's Schwytzerdütsch lyrics (that sound even stranger to many German-native speakers then Patois to 'Queen's English'-native speakers), his singjaying and the riddims backing him will still win you over.