Here comes a new single release from Kalbata and Mixmonster’s ‘Congo Beat the Drum’ album (see reggaemusic.org.uk 2nd March 2014 for review of the full album). ‘Inna Skateland’ is a slow-burning dancehall-inclined track, featuring vocals from Puddy Roots and a particularly strong bass line, displaying the vintage sound of analogue-era reggae music at its best. With old tape machines and analogue mixing it’s an unusually authentic sound, generating a convincing roots/dancehall/reggae feel. The flip is a previously unreleased dub version of the vocal ‘Skateland’ track, an excellent old-school dub with driving bass and drum/echo; a B-side that more than justifies selection of this track for single release.

Kalbata and Mixmonster: Inna Skateland/Dub; released 23rd February 2015 by Freestyle Records; 7-inch/digital

Recorded in Kingston and in Tel Aviv, ‘Prisoner in Love’ is the first single release from Kalbata and Mixmonster’s forthcoming debut album on Freestyle Records. Their stated intention was to record an analogue dub album influenced by the early sound of dancehall and the classic style of producers such as King Tubby. With this in mind, they use a 16-track tape machine and an analogue mixing desk alongside – unusually enough – a group of musicians playing live throughout. After recording the instrumental tracks in Tel Aviv, they travelled to Jamaica and added the sound of selected vocalists and deejays to generate the intended retro sound. So in a sense this stands as homage to the reggae tradition upon which so much has since been built.

The measure of success is of course in the sound of the finished product. 80s’ dancehall pioneer Little John provides the powerful vocals for ‘Prisoner of Love’. The backing track provides a sparse and uncluttered rhythm upon which to base vocals that are as reminiscent of the soul songs of the time as they are of reggae. The single also includes a contrasting and more elaborate version of the same song featuring Kutiman, who adds manic keyboard and an upfront reggae rhythm to the basic bass and drum foundations of the song.

The ‘Prisoner of Love’ single is released on 17th March, with the debut album – ‘Congo Beat the Drum’ – due on 28th April (vinyl, CD and digital download).