Twilight Circus Presents Deeper Roots
M Records
December 15, 2005

Track list
  1. Big Youth - Lion's Den
  2. Dean Fraser & Vin Gordon - Lion's Horn Cut
  3. Cornell Campbell - Why Dem Gwaan So
  4. Jah Stitch - Universal Ruler
  5. Nambo & Ian Hird - Universal Horns
  6. Michael Rose - Throw Some Stone
  7. Ranking Joe - Don't Follow Babylon
  8. Brother Culture - Fiyah Well Hot
  9. Vin Gordon & Cannonball Bryan - Better Horns
  10. Big Youth - Lion's Den (Remix)
  11. Twilight Crew - Lion's Dub
  12. Michael Rose - Throw Some Stone (Megadub Mix)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 5
Ryan Moore's productions -- for the Orthodox listener at least -- simply couldn't be better, and he is clearly a man in his element, working with sounds, techniques and artists he is dedicated to.

So what the listener hears is a labour of love -- and indeed, the performances Ryan Twilight gets out of Cornell Campbell are beautiful and far, far superior to Cornell's recent tunes cut for ONU Sound on the "No Bed Of Roses" album which overall, felt somewhat icy in production values, and lacked a certain bite.

The tunes by Jah Stitch here, are far from formulaic as so often happens when modern engineers produce old time DJ's whose repertoire and style is clearly so much a representation of their time -- DJ'ing is not like dub, a form which breaks down concepts of linear time, thereby dissolving chronology and context as an irrelevancy : Rather DJ'ing is so powerfully rooted in the "post r n b / post Rocksteady" sound system culture of 70's Jamaica, and can prove difficult to decontextualise and put in a modern sound environment. That U Roy style-- so powerful in the mid to late 70ís-- can sound simply anachronistic and laboured in the 21st century. But Ryan gets one of the best performances out of an old school DJ that this writer has heard. The mix sounds vital and raw, as opposed to simply going through the motions, or sounding like an act of homage to long gone eras.

The horns versions here are commendable in that they don't limit themselves solely to adulation of decades old forms but -- thankfully -- throw in a little Blue Note/Impulse jazz in the mix which heats up proceedings considerably. Chinna, who has recently turned to a kind of Ali Farka Toure/Richie Havens/John Lee Hooker metallic percussive style -- puts in some immaculate, under stated and beautifully considered guitar work here too, it must be said -- and good though his current acoustic preoccupations are, it is a pleasure to hear his old style back once more.

But something is missing from this labour of love, in spite of all the "right orthodox JA sounds and studio techniques" being carefully referenced and reproduced -- some of Ryan's listeners will miss his earlier edgy, pugnacious and beautifully flawed sound as featured on "Other Worlds" and "Bin Shaker", both of which showcased a haunting ambience which pushed at the edges of orthodoxy -- rather than embraced the rule book as this album does.

Which just goes to show -- you can't please everybody all the time. Because this album and the new Michael Rose dub album will surely sell fast.