Zion High Productions
CD / Digital Release
July 15, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
The Human condition in this time is in need of refreshment and nourishment by honest, raw and natural elements. That's exactly what "Nyacoustic Chants" provides. Yet another upstanding offering from the visionary and ever evolving collective of Zion I Kings. A spectacular ensemble of artists deliver messages of praises and upliftment over firm Niyabinghi driven riddims crafted from Zion vision. Ancient order presented triumphantly for these crucial times. The Heartbeat of Creation lives infinitely...
This project continues the impactful tradition of Zion I Kings. Project coordinator Ras Elliot Leib, Laurent "Tippy I" Alfred and David "Jah D" Goldfine link with a Royal roll call of singers and players of instruments that have come together for timeless and enduring albums for over a decade now. The presence of luminaries Mykal Rose, The Congos and Third World's Cat Coore exemplifies the respect this Roots collective has garnered throughout the music world. Jah D handles the majority of instrumentation and production values with true experience. The contributions of guitarists Earl "Chinna" Smith, Andrew "Moon" Bain, Padraic Coursey is pure ites. Keyboardists include legendary Jawge Hughes (mainstay of California Roots survival), Andrew Stoch, Tippy I and Judah David. Saxman Jah Bless and trombonist Grayson Farmer add ethereal depth. Great melodica from Mr. Stoch and flute from Sheldon Bernard! This glorious testament is mastered by Tippy I with great mixing from Jah D amongst other veteran engineers. Honorable to the contributions from Chet Samuel; who has been part of the Zion I Kings family for so long. It is the work of The Most High how the aforementioned musicians (and those not mentioned) intertwine time and time again to deliver such glorious sounds...
The intro sets the Earth tone verily so! Wonderful Counselor delivers a stream of consciousness that shines like a blazing Fyah. The thunderable Niyabinghi background is a slice of Mt. Zion with backing vox from many; including Jah D, Jah Bless and Arkaingelle. Amazing atmosphere! "Morning Now" takes the listener right to Chinna's "Inna De Yard". His guitar evokes so much depth and emotion and is taken to higher heights with Jah Bless's sax work. Jah D's Niyabinghi drumming strings it together into a masterpiece indeed. The Congos' "Chant Iyahbinghi" takes us back to the magnitude of "Heart Of The Congos" sessions. Cedric Myton's royal falsetto is remarkable and is hand in hand with the musical mastery from Jah D, Sheldon Bernard, Tippy I and Padraic's pick guitar. Top grade! Mykal Rose has been delivering recent works with a seasoned grace that defies description. He's in regal form on "Honour & Praises". Absolute praises to The Most High on top of a Fyah riddim that's fueled by Moon's guitar chops and Andrew Stoch's Pabloesque melodica. Spectacular mix by Jah D at Zion High Studio. Certainly one of Mykal's finest moments of his lengthy career! Jahdan Blakkamoore and Lutan Fyah have shined on previous ZIK albums and their collaboration on "Trumpet Sounding" is resonating work. This track evokes memories of The Wailers' "Pass It On" with ethereal bubbling from Mr. Stoch and licks from Moon. Unique, authentic and uplifting all the way! Midnite's "Chant Again" is on par with their past two sets for ZIK. Vaughn Benjamin is powerful and triumphant and this instant classic is furthered with Andrew "Bassie" Campbell's Kette drum and Stoch's melodica. A river of thanksgiving!
"Thanks And With Praise" is an ode for all times. Lloyd Brown was magnificent on ZIK's "Rootical" and he comes forward again with incredible Heart and Soul to the Highest degree. The concept of adding Cat Coore's limitless cello work is brilliant. (Yes indeed, he is trained in Classical Music theory). The result is nothing short of ground breaking and demands instant replay. Respect in every aspect. "Closer" is a display of the natural ability of Jah9. This Empress shined on 2013's "Songbird Riddim" and she has furthered her diversity with excellence. She rides the upstanding riddim featuring Jawge Hughes' massive key work. The lyrical intellect is maximum and there's slight nuances of the legendary Jean "Binta" Breeze. Jah9 certainly belongs on this set; she brings it in totality! Pressure Busspipe has worked with ZIK with ites results. "Lift I Meditation" shows his pure chanting style and versatility. "Wicked man try so long, Binghi man prove them wrong". There's a Jazz feel to the atmosphere that recalls Count Ossie. A driving riddim that's layers and layers of true music value. Excellent! "Harps & Bows" is mind blowing! Cat Coore is allowed to roam freely and his mastery of the cello is Divine. He has played this instrument at countless Third World concerts and studio sessions and that experience is brought to full attention. Cello meets Niyabinghi; yes indeed!!! "He Is King" is Glen Washington at his very best. His "Masterpiece" set for ZIK renewed interest in this veteran and he evokes maximum conviction and emotion with a beautiful riddim deepened by Jah Bless and Grayson's masterclass ability. Real authentic sounds! Guyana's Arkaingelle was golden on ZIK's "Jah Golden Throne" from 2012. "Wat A Woe" showcases his unique chanting style. He commands a richly organic riddim sweetened by Chet Samuel's intricate guitar and "Bassie" Campbell's Kette flow.
"Nyacoustic Chants" is a total success. The essence of Niyabinghi stands predominant from the first note and also breaks ground in unique and dynamic spirit. The ancient and ambient atmosphere is cohesive with capturing past, present and future. This album stands alone due to the artists' absolute delivery and the intertwining of masterclass musicianmanship presented with forward engineering and production value. An original blueprint of a Roots collective envisioning enduring works and following through to a Blessed reality. Highest recommendation. GO DEH!!!