High Smile HiFi – Three the High Way
The Reggae Roots Review bus is rolling into Switzerland, with a focus on this excellent album from a trio called High Smile Hi-Fi. Founded in 2012, High Smile HiFi are made up of Icky Top (the musical backbone), Kebilli (DJ and selector) and Pappa Irie (DJ and vinyl junkie). The Crew have been putting on live events since 2004 in various guises and have a clutch of digi Dancehall inspired singles to their name, Three the High Way is their first full length album.
Digi Dancehall is a bit of a blindspot for me, I am a more roots and dub kind of guy. But it’s good to try something different and get a bit of an education in a more unfamiliar style of reggae. I know my Sleng Tengs from my MIDI, but don’t really have the in depth knowledge to give a historial comparison, all I can say is that this collection is excellent! Check out this piece from the High Smile HiFi boys for a good digi overview.
Three the High Way
Three the High Way – Vol. 1 is High Smile HiFi’s first full length album and features artists like Little Harry, Koa Aloy, Speng Bond, King Ital, Tenna Star, Ras Negus I and S’Kaya. The eleven track album contains five tunes that were previously released on 7“ vinyl, plus two new tunes and riddims by the boys. It sounds a very authentic collection, transporting you back to sweaty clubs and intense dances. It’s difficult to single out tracks as the whole collection is excellent, although ‘Deejay Livication’ is probably my favourite. It’s a cultured slice of digi with an slinky upfront skank and features vocals from France’s S’Kaya. His vocals are contradictory, by being both raw and sung with much feeling. I will definitely be picking this one up on 7″. ‘Hard Life’ is another contender for top track, it wears it’s digi sound on it’s sleeve and combines it with a serious message on life at the bottom of the tree.
I love the way Switzerland meets Jamiaca on this album, it sounds like an unlikely combination but it works beautifully. It’s one of the bonuses of this blogging job that I can hear new stuff and this collection has lit a digi (neon) light with me. Time to investigate further……
Head to the High Smile HiFi website for details on where to pick up the album and their previous singles, have a listen below to some samples.
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