Riddim Driven ~ Fresh Ear Productions Presents: To The World Volume One
VP Records - Groove Attack
August 26, 2008
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
VP Records have followed suit after Greensleeves decided to
concentrate on reissuing lots of albums from their back catalogue and even newly acquired
ones, apart from a couple of new artist albums releases, with Greensleeves seeming to win
the reissue battle, but VP Records releasing the bigger (dancehall) artist albums. And
although VP Records haven't (yet?) called it curtains for their Riddim Driven series (as
Greensleeves haven't yet done for their Greensleeves Rhythm Albums) they have both certainly
slowed down heavily with releases, but what they do release still is top class. As is this
release with tunes from Arif 'Fresh Ear' Cooper in a new format, "To
The World Volume One" is a three-riddim-album and it's unclear whether that's VP Records'
new Riddim Driven format or just Arif Cooper's new series within the series. This first
volume contains the toned down of Arif Cooper's first one-drop riddim, the magnificent 'Guardian Angel'-riddim and
two new hardcore dancehall riddims, 'Revolution' and 'Up & Live".|
The first riddim, the 'Guardian Angel (Acoustic)' version is a top-notch one-drop riddim, masterfully produced, yet I liked the original version of the riddim better, with from the overload of superb tunes across it, five tunes appearing acoustic here, with Trinidadian Jamelody shining bright on the conscious "My King (Acoustic)" followed by T.O.K. delivering the title track of the "Guardian Angel (Acoustic)" riddim in great style and Jah Cure contributing the magnificent "To Your Arms Of Love (Acoustic)". Songbird Alaine is one of the best female singers in reggae currently and her "Rise In Love (Acoustic)" is a prime example of that (especially since on this album the great "Over And Over" by Tami Chynn - that was featured on Greensleeves' "The Biggest Reggae One-Drop Anthems 2007" - is lacking) and Vybz Kartel once more shows how easily he can ride a one-drop riddim delivering the smooth lovers tune "Missing You A Lot (Acoustic)".
Then the next 5 tunes are across Arif Cooper's newer 'Revolution'-riddim, a truly big and powerful dancehall riddim with "Money Over War" by Vybz Kartel being the first strong contribution, followed by the excellent "War Zone" by Assassin, who shows he is one on the best - and therefor still underrated - DJs in the dancehalls when it purely comes down to the flow of the delivery. THE standout tune across the 'Revolution'-riddim however is "Mourning In The Morning" by the 'Gangsta Ras' Munga Honourable who puts in one of his best efforts ever, as he profits most from the riddim adding an irresistable hook, highlighting all of strengths of this big sounding riddim to the max. Sanjay delivers the strong "What Are They Fighting For?" that however suffers from the editing, what the .... dem fighting for just sounds stronger when the four-letter-word is heard as well ... and on the last tune across the riddim "Doner" Big Yard/Birchill protégé - and 2005's Digicel Rising Stars winner - Christopher Martin hits out against all those guys just making their donation in bed for the baby without being a father once the child is born, one of his strongest songs ever.
The third and last riddim on this "To The World Volume One" is the 'Up & Live'-riddim, a true dance riddim as the names of most artists appearing on it will tell you, with the first tune being the very catchy (non-dance tune) "One Truth" by Sweden's Million Stylez, followed by the tune giving this "Up & Live" riddim its name by Voicemail, the only 'boygroup' in Jamaica (no: in the world) currently even approaching T.O.K.'s pure genius, which either or not coincidently is to be heard in the tune immediately following, T.O.K.'s "Sexy & Ready". "Pum Pum" (which is not the Patois word for a pumpkin as an ex-girlfriend of mine once believed it to be ... ) by Elephant Man, the excellent "Body Wine" by the only artist (fully justified) present on all three riddims Vybz Kartel and the even stronger "Midas Touch" by Sean Paul are however the three best tunes across the 'Up & Live'-riddim, with Sean Paul outperforming all others. To show the dance character of the riddim, the tune giving this great three-riddim album its name "To The World" brings you the Jamaican club dancefloor vibes of Soltex 3000 and Taz of Timeless Dancers. Pick this up and pray for VP Records to continue this format within their Riddim Driven series.