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Midnight Riders / Speng Bond / Steve Knight / Tippa Lee – Outta Road / Dem A Fraud

Red Robin / Jahtari

Red Robin 1Continuing the longstanding reggae tradition of producers cutting basic rhythms and then letting different singers and deejays work their vocal ways into the mix, New Zealand-based duo Naram and Art laid down the core tracks for this first EP released under the aegis of Te Mata hill farmer and radio figure Red Robin on his new imprint via the estimable Jahtari in Leipzig.

On this 12” vinyl release, the first of the two tunes is “Outta Road”, sung with harmonised, conscious charm by Midnight Riders about their home district of Kingston 9, while London deejay Speng Bond gruffly decries the bullshit of politicians and chancers everywhere, especially the UK, on “Dread Outta Road”. Here, his attitude and style are summed up neatly, calling for unity regardless of if one is from north west east or south, and topically, “whether you’re inna the EU or whether you are out”. Speng also reminds the prime minister not only that she reaps what she sows, but to reap some “good colly weed”. Nice.

Toronto’s Steve Knight is similarly concerned with probity on this flip side with “Dem A Fraud”, singing mellifluously yet bitingly about people with ideas well and truly above their station, politicos or otherwise. On the version, Tippa Lee turns his mic to “Salute The Veteran” (himself in this case), outlining his extensive experience on the dancehall scene and his claim to fame as one of the originators of the form.

Naram dubs up both tracks with help from Jahtari’s Disrupt, chopping up the vocals and applying the deft desk manipulations and echo trails that are as fond of digital FX as they are of the heavyweight analogue bass. It’s a promising opening gambit from Red Robin; and if this selection is anything to go by, bound to be the first of many classic 12” releases from the imprint.

-Linus Tossio-

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