Various artists album review
Rhythm & Sound w/ The Artists
Burial Mix-Indigo
29 - 09 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. King In My Empire - w/ Cornel Campbell
  2. Queen In My Empire - w/ Jennifer Lara
  3. Jah Rule - w/ Paul St. Hilaire
  4. We Been Troddin - w/ Shalom
  5. Mash Down Babylon - w/ The Chosen Brothers
  6. Music Hit You - w/ Jah Batta
  7. Best Friend - w/ Love Joy
  8. Making History - w/ The Chosen Brothers
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 3/4

For one of the several anonymous projects linked to the mysterious Berlin dub-techno duo Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, Rhythm & Sound, these recordings were initially released as a series of 10" records over the last 3 years on Burial Mix, both labels distributed by Hardwax, much more dub-influenced and less techno-orientated than the duo's previous, and more legendary, dub-techno recordings as Basic Channel and Maurizio. The latter, the Maurizio/M-Series releases are often incorrectly identified as Von Oswald's solo work, but these are as much Von Oswald and Ernestus projects as the other releases. Where those earlier recordings synthesized a Detroit-influenced style of minimal techno with dub-reggae bass lines, the late-'90s Rhythm & Sound productions emphasized the dub-reggae aesthetic rather than the more dancefloor-orientated techno sound of the early-'90s Basic Channel and Maurizio recordings. Thus, the Rhythm & Sound records weren't quite as popular or well-known as the duo's Basic Channel recordings, which instead retained their popularity over the years, becoming quite legendary and oft-cited within the techno scene. Nonetheless, Von Oswald and Ernestus' Rhythm & Sound work prevailed into the early 2000s, being compiled on "Rhythm & Sound" (2001) and the Paul St.Hilaire album "Showcase" (1998). More on their releases, whether technodub on Basic Channel or their Rhythm & Sound and classic Wackie's (re)releases can be found here. This album opens with the absolutely stunning "King In My Empire" where Cornel Campbell's multitracked vocals grace a brilliant minimalistic dubbed backing. A slight variation in theme and pace takes us to the female version of the first track, "Queen In My Empire" sung by one of reggae's most underrated songstresses Jennifer Lara. The backing seems to be stripped even further for long time Rhythm & Sound habitué Paul St.Hilaire who contributes not only his wicked vocals but some sparse guitar accents as well to "Jah Rule". A more traditional reggae beat is underpinning Shalom's sufferer's tune "We Been Troddin", an absolute gem. Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes himself contributes two tracks under the disguise of the Chosen Brothers, first "Mash Down Babylon" and closing the disc with the even stronger "Making History". Jah Batta's "Music Hit You" is an excellent excursion of rootsy vocals over a minimal riddim that is enhanced by the guitar of Wackie's sessionplayer Jerry Harris. Love Joy sings the sad story of "Best Friend" (And My Lover That I Saw Together) with a bluesy feel in her multiple layered vocals on yet another superb track on this essential collection.