Tiger HiFi
Tiger HiFi
Island - Universal
September 28, 2007

Track list
  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Toop Toop
  3. Music
  4. Connected
  5. Obstacle No. 1
  6. Trials And Crosses
  7. Fuck Forever
  8. Hashpipe
  9. King Of My Castle
  10. Waiting Room
  11. Can't Keep Running Away
  12. London Calling
  13. You Give Me Something
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
Kraans de Lutin, the Berlin based originally rap-producer, also involved in Mellow Mark's releases, producer of most of Martin Jondo's releases so far, like his first solo outing early in 2005 "Rainbow Warrior", then early 2006 "The One" and "Are You Really Waiting", followed by Martin Jondo's debut album "Echo & Smoke" and the EP's/singles "Jah Gringo", and "Hurtful Game" now unleashes his own band and remix project Tiger HiFi's first full-length self-titled album "Tiger HiFi". Released like Martin Jondo's EPs and CD on Germany's Homeground Records, the label of a.o. Culcha Candela (currently holding the number 1 spot in the German pop charts with their latest release "Hamma!", the first single taken from their just released self-titled album) and Mellow Mark as well and the label that just released their wholeheartedly recommended first one riddim album "Give Thanks".

Tiger HiFi have done something, that's been done before, but not the way they've done it. The Easy Star All Stars covered Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" on their "Dub Side Of The Moon" and Radiohead's "OK Computer" on their "Radiodread" to full satisfaction, but Tiger HiFi has taken all kinds of famous pop songs to 'reinvent' them for this album and 'dubificator' Kraans de Lutin together with vocalists Olivia Christou and Vido Jelashe and Peter 'Wah Wah' Barton on guitar, with the help of additional vocalist Ann Shakes, guitar player Lars Clln, Uwe Breunig on drums, Joh Weisgerber on bass and Tobias Krczig on percussion impressed already with their magnificent stunning takes on Genesis' "Mama" and Madonna's "Music" which were both released as a teaser for this album on the single "Music". This album opens with a surprise as big as their take on "Mama", reworking the opening track and first single from U2's 1983 album "War", one of U2's (if not th) signature songs "Sunday Bloody Sunday" delivered magnificently over Tiger HiFi's interpretation of Studio One's famous 1968 Soul Vendors' 'Drum Song'-riddim with Olivia Christou's beautiful smooth singing countered by the toasting of Vido Jelashe .

Then Tiger HiFi rework French house music duo Cassius' 2006 single "Toop Toop" that originally combined Clash-style guitar riffs, dance beats and megaphone distorted vocals, but now has become a brilliant funky dub tune (and that has also been released as a limited edition vinyl single), followed by the full (and even better than the Radio Edit) version of their magnificent take on the titletrack of Madonna's 2000 album "Music " creating a dubby roots tune that is extremely impressive and leaves Madonna's fine effort, recorded with French house producer Mirwais Ahmadzai far behind and a smooth dubbed up reworking of the Stereo MCs' "Connected", on which it sounds as if Martin Jondo makes a cameo appearance and the strange experience is that no matter how different this Tiger HiFi version sounds, it's still easily recognizable as a cover of the Stereo MCs tune. New York post-punk sensation Interpol has never ever released one single song that appealed to me, but once more the Tiger HiFi take on their "Obstacle No. 1" reworks not exactly my kind of music into a very pleasant gloomy downtempo listening experience.

"Trials And Crosses" is a fabulous slow dubbed up reworking of Nitty Gritty's early digital dancehall classic that becomes almost threatening over this soundscape, before much (and in my opinion completely undeserved) if not over hyped Britpop band the Babyshambles (getting into magazines more because of the (drugs & booze reigned) lifestyle of leadsinger Pete Doherty) sees their "Fuck Forever" turned into a simply brilliant dub soundscape before Californian rockband Weezer's "Hashpipe" is transformed into a poppy roots reggae tune that incorporates the Fugees' "Oh La La La" towards its end and Wamdue Project's 1999 house hit "King Of My Castle" gets a beautiful dub treatment as well. "Waiting Room" combines almost ambient dub soundscapes with ska-influenced riddims without losing cohesive vibes supporting the fine vocals by Vido Jelashe, followed by a great take on the Pharcyde's "Can't Keep Running Away" (also known for being sampled in Mya's fallen a couple of years ago) and a surprisingly subdued version of the Clash' "London Calling".

This "Tiger HiFi" album is (even clocking in over an hour, way too early) closed with a gospelblues ambient dub version of James Morrison's "You Give Me Something" that sends the (very popular) original to the basement, as one final time Vido Jelashe's vocals take complete control over a superb backing. This album is a must for pop, roots reggae, dub and downtempo aficionado's alike, even if I've used it before this year, this really is th debut album of 2007, (Kraans De Lutin & 'his') Tiger HiFi rules!