Zion High’s Nyacoustic Chants delivers that old time religion
By Midnight Raver http://midnightraverblog.com
With Nyacoustic Chants, Zion High Productions continues to evolve the modern sound of reggae. The album features the best artists of yesterday and today unplugged over brilliantly-produced percussion riddims. Zion High seeks neither fortune nor fame with their productions. They are wholly committed to revolutionizing the sound of reggae roots and expanding its influence at any cost.
Zion High Productions is one-third of the critically-acclaimed production collective Zion I Kings, which also includes Laurent “Tippy-I” Alfred of I-Grade Dub and Corrin Haskell and Andrew Bain of Lustre Kings. One of the most influential production collectives to emerge in reggae since Sly & Robbie, Zion I Kings’ work with the Virgin Islands reggae contingent, especially their innovative collaborations with St. Croix’s Midnite, has ushered in the most inventive and transformational period for roots reggae in more than thirty years.
Nyacoustic Chants casts some of reggae’s most beloved artists along with several of its newest talents as chanters over well-produced percussion arrangements. The album opens “inna de yard” style with an acoustic piece by the legendary Earl “Chinna” Smith, one of reggae’s most revered guitarists. It is an exceptional album opener, anchored by ceremonial percussion and understated horns. The Congos follow with “Chant Iyahbinghi” and Michael Rose comes with a strong performance on “Honour and Praises,” a tune of Biblical proportions featuring a chanting Rose over a heavy, dubbed out nyabinghi riddim. On “Chant Again,” Midnite’s Vaughn Benjamin is right at home as he goes “chant and call” over knocking hand drumming, acoustic guitars, and melodica. It’s all strings as Third World’s Cat Coore showcases his supreme musical talents on violin and harp on “Harps & Bows” – a stunningly beautiful multi-layered, intricate arrangement and one of the best tunes on the album.
Nyacoustic Chants is an incredibly refreshing album with a unique sound unlike anything else you will hear this year. The album is a thirteen-track “Grounation” reminiscent of the long lost sounds of Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari and one of the most original and worthwhile listens of 2015.
Midnight Raver is owner and chief web editor at midnightraverblog.com. A well-known and respected writer and blogger within the reggae community, he is also a regular contributor to worldareggae.com, ppcorn.com, and bobmarley.com
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