Archiver & Matteo Boyero
Instrumental Thursdays – LP & Digital
i&i Musik and Wahever Records
If you look at my Facebook feed you would think that the reggae world is dominated by the vinyl single, I imagine your feeds are similar. There is some truth in that of course, as the vinyl single is obviously the staple of live sound system culture. Where would be without the dubplate or the B-side version! What I have noticed recently though is the increasing amount of good quality album releases. Whether this is a growing trend with artists wanting to shift to a different way of showcasing their work, I am not sure. Does the modern producer with cheaper technology at their fingertips, feel that the long form format is the best way to experiment and innovate? Recent releases from Dub Gabriel and the new re-working of Super Ape prove that the LP is a valid format for reggae, and that the single doesn’t have it all its own way.
The focus today is on another album that pushes the boundaries and you could maybe file it under ‘experimental reggae’, if such a category exists. It’s a duel production from i&i Musik boss Ben ‘Archiver’ Daly and Matteo Boyero from Wahever Records, called ‘Instrumental Thursdays’. First impression is that it will take its place amongst the best summer album releases. To whet your appetite have a listen to the track ‘Clocking Off’ below. This one is typical of the clash of styles that feed this album and includes African rhythms, Euro electro synths and subtle reggae inspired echoes and effects.
Ebb & Flow
With the melting pot of styles it would be easy for this album to end up in a chaotic mess. But one of the things I love, is that each track seamlessly goes from one to the next without any jarring. First track ‘Ebb & Flow’, probably the most reggae track, acts as a guide to what is to come. The steppas beat takes you by the hand and says ‘don’t be afraid, let’s go on a journey’. Second track ‘Didn’t Quite Catch That’, morphs into a more funky, souled out groove, it’s the type of track that wouldn’t be out of place in a 70s street film. Obscure reference time, but this one reminds me of Catskills Records artist Bushy. The aforementioned ‘Clocking Off’ is next, followed by ‘Tytoniu’ which is a more jazz inspired track. Have a listen to that beautiful trumpet line. The album’s a-side finishes with ‘Kamakura 0.1°’, a slightly more insula track, darker, dubbier and edgier.
I don’t like to include all tracks in my reviews, I want to leave something for you to investigate. So if you have stuck with me this far, I think you are probably intrigued. If you like some experimentation with your sounds then this album is well worth picking up. Instrumental Thursdays is not a conventional reggae album, but as I said earlier it's something different to get stuck into.
I like the fact that producers are pushing the boundaries, where would be without innovation, well we wouldn’t have dub for a start. Head to the i&i Musik bandcamp site for details on how to purchase, buying direct from the artists is the best way for them to get maximum income.
One final mention needs to go to the album cover artwork by Risa, it certainly captures the vibe of Instrumental Thursdays and gives an idea of the wide variety of instruments and effects that were used. Drum machine to steel drum, saxophone to synthesizer, passing through reel-to-reel tape, springs and delays.
Bless, Paper Lion
What has been your favourite reggae album release of this year, let me know in the comments.