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The Jahtari sound can be jarring - its raw digital reggae is almost still gestating - loaded up with vintage effects and featuring rugged, hazy production. Yet engaging grooves abound, interesting layers emerge from the soundscape, and thoughtful brevity keeps the journey moving ever forward.
 
Monkey Marc lets the void build before unleashing the dark, ambling beat on “Danger Earth,” the first track on this, the fourth installment of the Jahtarian Dubbers compilation series. Pupajim’s high-pitch vocal rides a dissonant shuffle, in an honest - though self-confident - declaration: ‘we not the richest, we not the strongest, we not the best, but we know how to make a hit, we know how to turn on the heat, nobody can stop we.’ EarlyW~Rm’s “The Dub Deal” is echo-laden machine-music dub, distinctive in its murkiness as much as in its high-powered riddim. 7FT Soundsystem contributes the catchy “Shut Ya Mouth,” with Mentor Irie providing the chat.
 
Another powerful vocal follows in “Good Foundation,” El Fata’s reliable and distinctive tenor being paired with a tight 16-bit sound. Label head disrupt’s contribution comes in equal SNES style, a fitting homage to the classic RPG “Chrono Trigger.” Jah Screechy’s upbeat “Love We A Deal With” fades into a sparser groove from Jahtari Riddim Force, which slowly builds, ending more interestingly than it began. Shanghai’s Cha Cha brings it on the breathless crooner “Black Eyes Stranger,” which connects into Diggory Kenrick’s version, entitled “Stranger Flutes,” via a familiar Timothy Leary sample. The eponymous instrument fits surprisingly well against the slow-marching digital beat, mixed in as a proper dub element. Rootah’s “Dancing Chords” provides a brief interlude with some nice Eastern influences, leading to another slow-burner - the Mungo’s Hi Fi / Shanti D collaboration “Know Your Roots.” Over a minimalist beat, the French MC sings of the need for knowledge, as crucial as ever in modern times.
 
A strong statement once again from Jahtari, and in typical vintage fashion the album will be available on cassette (in addition to digital) when it is released on 3 July. Full album preview streaming now:
 

 
The Jahtari sound can be jarring - its raw digital reggae is almost still gestating - loaded up with vintage effects and featuring rugged, hazy production. Yet engaging grooves abound, interesting layers emerge from the soundscape, and thoughtful brevity keeps the journey moving ever forward.

 

Monkey Marc lets the void build before unleashing the dark, ambling beat on “Danger Earth,” the first track on this, the fourth installment of the Jahtarian Dubbers compilation series. Pupajim’s high-pitch vocal rides a dissonant shuffle, in an honest - though self-confident - declaration: ‘we not the richest, we not the strongest, we not the best, but we know how to make a hit, we know how to turn on the heat, nobody can stop we.’ EarlyW~Rm’s “The Dub Deal” is echo-laden machine-music dub, distinctive in its murkiness as much as in its high-powered riddim. 7FT Soundsystem contributes the catchy “Shut Ya Mouth,” with Mentor Irie providing the chat.

 

Another powerful vocal follows in “Good Foundation,” El Fata’s reliable and distinctive tenor being paired with a tight 16-bit sound. Label head disrupt’s contribution comes in equal SNES style, a fitting homage to the classic RPG “Chrono Trigger.” Jah Screechy’s upbeat “Love We A Deal With” fades into a sparser groove from Jahtari Riddim Force, which slowly builds, ending more interestingly than it began. Shanghai’s Cha Cha brings it on the breathless crooner “Black Eyes Stranger,” which connects into Diggory Kenrick’s version, entitled “Stranger Flutes,” via a familiar Timothy Leary sample. The eponymous instrument fits surprisingly well against the slow-marching digital beat, mixed in as a proper dub element. Rootah’s “Dancing Chords” provides a brief interlude with some nice Eastern influences, leading to another slow-burner - the Mungo’s Hi Fi / Shanti D collaboration “Know Your Roots.” Over a minimalist beat, the French MC sings of the need for knowledge, as crucial as ever in modern times.

 

A strong statement once again from Jahtari, and in typical vintage fashion the album will be available on cassette (in addition to digital) when it is released on 3 July. Full album preview streaming now:

 

 

Roots Raid's From The Top features consistently tight dub/reggae production, in addition to a bevy of smooth-singing guest vocalists, allowing the whole album to glide along with a firm sense of identity, purpose, and place. Lighter future roots? Aware modern dub? Regardless, it’s all thick multi-faceted grooves that cleverly still sound sparse.
 
Turbo Turps and Billy Berry alternate on the mic on “Western Rumors,” a gripping vocal examination of present-day socioeconomic concerns. A taught delayed guitar and echoed effects carry the track even when the riddim section is cut out. The first of two Shanti D tracks, “Don’t Love My Style,” celebrates rub-a-dub, from its drum-and-bass to its echo chamber to its sinsemilla, all sung in the seasoned French MC’s distinctive style. Ranking Joe’s opening shoutout to Big Family Sound precedes a rather unique production, with samba-esque digital drums and a pitch-shifting synth melody. “Steppaddict,” with Mael Hornsraid providing the funky, layered horns, is a hazy-yet-polished instrumental; then Billy Berry returns on vocals - which sound especially inspiring when given room to breathe - atop an arrangement that hints at an Afrika Bambaataa influence. Immediately following is the dub, which takes the traditional approach of introducing the original track before pulling out, and then experimenting with, instruments and voice alike.
 
“Chant In Down (Ruff Cut)” appears to feature an uncredited Billy Berry, but the clear priority is the heavy dubbing, including some doom-filled low-end rumblings. “Get Out,” with Mighty Cricket, follows a similar ‘verse into chaos’ formula, though the track drags just a bit as the dub completely collapses and then staggers forward for several more minutes. Next, Shanti D chants down urbanity on the seemingly sparse “Beware; thankfully the horns tease just enough as the rhythm provides a sturdy musical framework. “Swimming With The Dub” does carry some aquatic qualities, with its plinking guitars, but it’s the dubbed-out vocals (from “Beware”) and the second-half shift of the groove to the forefront that make this version so memorable.
 
As the album winds down, “Riddim Wise” - a slightly crashing instrumental - keeps it short and sweet; in closing, the spiritual “Sâdhu Teachings” mixes the dub aesthetic with subcontinental influences, including a powerful-yet-uncredited female vocal. Available for free digital download from ODG Productions, which continues to carve out a crucial niche for itself in the modern dubiverse.
 

 
Roots Raid's From The Top features consistently tight dub/reggae production, in addition to a bevy of smooth-singing guest vocalists, allowing the whole album to glide along with a firm sense of identity, purpose, and place. Lighter future roots? Aware modern dub? Regardless, it’s all thick multi-faceted grooves that cleverly still sound sparse.

 

Turbo Turps and Billy Berry alternate on the mic on “Western Rumors,” a gripping vocal examination of present-day socioeconomic concerns. A taught delayed guitar and echoed effects carry the track even when the riddim section is cut out. The first of two Shanti D tracks, “Don’t Love My Style,” celebrates rub-a-dub, from its drum-and-bass to its echo chamber to its sinsemilla, all sung in the seasoned French MC’s distinctive style. Ranking Joe’s opening shoutout to Big Family Sound precedes a rather unique production, with samba-esque digital drums and a pitch-shifting synth melody. “Steppaddict,” with Mael Hornsraid providing the funky, layered horns, is a hazy-yet-polished instrumental; then Billy Berry returns on vocals - which sound especially inspiring when given room to breathe - atop an arrangement that hints at an Afrika Bambaataa influence. Immediately following is the dub, which takes the traditional approach of introducing the original track before pulling out, and then experimenting with, instruments and voice alike.

 

“Chant In Down (Ruff Cut)” appears to feature an uncredited Billy Berry, but the clear priority is the heavy dubbing, including some doom-filled low-end rumblings. “Get Out,” with Mighty Cricket, follows a similar ‘verse into chaos’ formula, though the track drags just a bit as the dub completely collapses and then staggers forward for several more minutes. Next, Shanti D chants down urbanity on the seemingly sparse “Beware; thankfully the horns tease just enough as the rhythm provides a sturdy musical framework. “Swimming With The Dub” does carry some aquatic qualities, with its plinking guitars, but it’s the dubbed-out vocals (from “Beware”) and the second-half shift of the groove to the forefront that make this version so memorable.

 

As the album winds down, “Riddim Wise” - a slightly crashing instrumental - keeps it short and sweet; in closing, the spiritual “Sâdhu Teachings” mixes the dub aesthetic with subcontinental influences, including a powerful-yet-uncredited female vocal. Available for free digital download from ODG Productions, which continues to carve out a crucial niche for itself in the modern dubiverse.

 

 

One ought to be in Hong Kong when writing the #HKMU, right? Back to the humidity… and LOTS of music!
 
Starting with the freshest of the fresh, Sert has literally just dropped the June installment of his ongoing “Soul Healing Session” series:
 

 
DJC is getting increasingly prolific, releasing his first live mix from Fly last month - a 2.5 journey through trap-laden future house - and he’s also put out a electro-influenced hip-hop mini mix entitled “Flying High:”
 


 
Sinista Sounds, aka DJ Redman, takes on Pharell on his breakbeat tune “Get Down:”
 

 
Jeremy Cheung keeps it frisky for this special hour-long Frisky Loves China house mix:
 

 
Further friskiness comes from Ocean Lam, with her own special 1-hour mix, as well as a podcast for Love.Play:
 


 
With contributions from Dan Findlay, Ben Becker, Casey Anderson, Miko Van Chong, Arun R, Roy Malig, Frankie Lam, Cookie, and Paragon Sound System, most every genre is covered in Boom Asia’s engaging article “A DJ’s Greatest Nightmare: Death By Request.”
 
Speaking of Paragon, LëKSs has a chart-hitting (mostly) instrumental hiphop mix, loaded up on jazzy influences:
 

 
And again from the Paragon camp, ▶▶△ have a new tune out entitled “Grenade.” I’m calling it tribal-hop, but you can decide for yourself:
 

 
Bass Music China has released a pair of live videos from their May event, featuring Scratcha DVA, while their latest guest mix comes from Re:Flex. Expect uptempo bass music:
 



 
Tokyo Matt of Otaku Soundsystem has a track - “Higher & Higher” - coming out on 12” on the Beard Science EP 8 “Listen With Mother.” He’s also released an older mix and track:
 



 
Rifain gets dark and brooding on “From Hong Kong With Love - 01,” while also managing to keep things funky and groovy:
 

 
No embed possible apparently, but J-Hoon and DJ MADD have kindly shared an in-the-lab jam session. J-Hoon has also recently released a re-edit of “Dill n Bass” for 2014:
 

 
Yes, this is more than a month old, but Wildstyle Records’ 4:20 tribute does deserve to be heard by a wider audience. Featuring Mic Li, YoungQueenz OZMA, and Klassick, this is collaborative and multi-lingual HK hip-hop in full effect:
 

 
Also from the similar time-period is AK ft. Lh on “B SIDE,” from Macau’s Blacklist:
 

 
Perhaps the poppiest tune ever to appear on the #HKMU, “MiVi Song” from Kikitam definitely features some positive vibes (and production from DoughBoy)! Another DoughBoy collab, “Ally” featuring Jill Vidal, ventures into some worthwhile social commentary:
 


 
While in the realm of hip-hop, EazyBeatz keeps them coming with two trap-influenced bangers; one for TDolla, while “One Of A Kind” is an instrumental:
 


 
SAiNT has released an introspective, “The Showreel (2009-2014),” loaded up with six years worth of tunes, showing the musical journey of an HK MC:
 

 
While perhaps not quite “music” in and of themselves, Bboys are certainly a crucial element of hiphop. So here’s some highlights from BboyHK.com of the recent R16 Hong Kong Qualifier 2014:
 

 
Switching gears, JayMe is concerned with a different set of classic traditions: disco!
 

 
Asia-trotting DJ Solo has two new mixtapes out, both funky though one is apparently more dope than the other:
 


 
Special thanks to Arun R for linking up, here’s his housey “Studio Break Mix.” Vinyl only for those purists about:
 

 
And from around the ‘neighborhood’ comes…
 
Shanghai’s Jado has finally hit the clouds of sound, with a few vocal cuts on some nice riddims. Most recent is “Man La Dubplate” on the “Real Rock” riddim:
 

 
Macau’s N1D has dropped two fierce bass-laden freebies for new label FTK, with “2nd Babylon” pushing into broken jungle territory while “A Pure Ganjaman Tune” stretches Collie Buddz into the nether:
 


 
Also out of Macau, Youth Somoan has a live video out, mixing the “No Bush Weed” riddim in studio:
 

 
Yours truly The Groove Thief has also been keeping busy (of course, haha), with an apparently controversial article on local sound systems for Time Out Hong Kong. If you’re into “future style roots” then my review of Dub Terminator & Ras Stone’s album Fyah Level, for NiceUp, is also well-worth reading. And if your ears are need of some lengthier bassxplorations, give my latest mixtape “Ill Future” a listen. Criss-crossing genres, it explores hiphop, reggae, and more than a few styles of bass:
 

 
Until next time, keep doing what you’re doing Hong Kong underground - the #HKMU is listening!
 
One ought to be in Hong Kong when writing the #HKMU, right? Back to the humidity… and LOTS of music!

 

Starting with the freshest of the fresh, Sert has literally just dropped the June installment of his ongoing “Soul Healing Session” series:

 

 

DJC is getting increasingly prolific, releasing his first live mix from Fly last month - a 2.5 journey through trap-laden future house - and he’s also put out a electro-influenced hip-hop mini mix entitled “Flying High:”

 

 

Sinista Sounds, aka DJ Redman, takes on Pharell on his breakbeat tune “Get Down:”

 

 

Jeremy Cheung keeps it frisky for this special hour-long Frisky Loves China house mix:

 

 

Further friskiness comes from Ocean Lam, with her own special 1-hour mix, as well as a podcast for Love.Play:

 

 

With contributions from Dan Findlay, Ben Becker, Casey Anderson, Miko Van Chong, Arun R, Roy Malig, Frankie Lam, Cookie, and Paragon Sound System, most every genre is covered in Boom Asia’s engaging article “A DJ’s Greatest Nightmare: Death By Request.”

 

Speaking of Paragon, LëKSs has a chart-hitting (mostly) instrumental hiphop mix, loaded up on jazzy influences:

 

 

And again from the Paragon camp, ▶▶△ have a new tune out entitled “Grenade.” I’m calling it tribal-hop, but you can decide for yourself:

 

 

Bass Music China has released a pair of live videos from their May event, featuring Scratcha DVA, while their latest guest mix comes from Re:Flex. Expect uptempo bass music:

 

 

Tokyo Matt of Otaku Soundsystem has a track - “Higher & Higher” - coming out on 12” on the Beard Science EP 8 “Listen With Mother.” He’s also released an older mix and track:

 

 

Rifain gets dark and brooding on “From Hong Kong With Love - 01,” while also managing to keep things funky and groovy:

 

 

No embed possible apparently, but J-Hoon and DJ MADD have kindly shared an in-the-lab jam session. J-Hoon has also recently released a re-edit of “Dill n Bass” for 2014:

 

 

Yes, this is more than a month old, but Wildstyle Records’ 4:20 tribute does deserve to be heard by a wider audience. Featuring Mic Li, YoungQueenz OZMA, and Klassick, this is collaborative and multi-lingual HK hip-hop in full effect:

 

 

Also from the similar time-period is AK ft. Lh on “B SIDE,” from Macau’s Blacklist:

 

 

Perhaps the poppiest tune ever to appear on the #HKMU, “MiVi Song” from Kikitam definitely features some positive vibes (and production from DoughBoy)! Another DoughBoy collab, “Ally” featuring Jill Vidal, ventures into some worthwhile social commentary:

 

 

While in the realm of hip-hop, EazyBeatz keeps them coming with two trap-influenced bangers; one for TDolla, while “One Of A Kind” is an instrumental:

 

 

SAiNT has released an introspective, “The Showreel (2009-2014),” loaded up with six years worth of tunes, showing the musical journey of an HK MC:

 

 

While perhaps not quite “music” in and of themselves, Bboys are certainly a crucial element of hiphop. So here’s some highlights from BboyHK.com of the recent R16 Hong Kong Qualifier 2014:

 

 

Switching gears, JayMe is concerned with a different set of classic traditions: disco!

 

 

Asia-trotting DJ Solo has two new mixtapes out, both funky though one is apparently more dope than the other:

 

 

Special thanks to Arun R for linking up, here’s his housey “Studio Break Mix.” Vinyl only for those purists about:

 

 

And from around the ‘neighborhood’ comes…

 

Shanghai’s Jado has finally hit the clouds of sound, with a few vocal cuts on some nice riddims. Most recent is “Man La Dubplate” on the “Real Rock” riddim:

 

 

Macau’s N1D has dropped two fierce bass-laden freebies for new label FTK, with “2nd Babylon” pushing into broken jungle territory while “A Pure Ganjaman Tune” stretches Collie Buddz into the nether:

 

 

Also out of Macau, Youth Somoan has a live video out, mixing the “No Bush Weed” riddim in studio:

 

 

Yours truly The Groove Thief has also been keeping busy (of course, haha), with an apparently controversial article on local sound systems for Time Out Hong Kong. If you’re into “future style roots” then my review of Dub Terminator & Ras Stone’s album Fyah Level, for NiceUp, is also well-worth reading. And if your ears are need of some lengthier bassxplorations, give my latest mixtape “Ill Future” a listen. Criss-crossing genres, it explores hiphop, reggae, and more than a few styles of bass:

 

 

Until next time, keep doing what you’re doing Hong Kong underground - the #HKMU is listening!