As a taster of the forthcoming ragga / bashment retrospective mix from John Eden and me, here’s a mix of the Pepperseed riddim: my favourite riddim of last year. Huge, powerful and joyous, Pepperseed is a maximalist version of dancehall: it has all the propulsive energy of big-room house music. As soon as I heard it I knew I had to do a mix of it, because it is compulsively danceable.
This mix started life in the recording sessions at John Eden’s house that led up to the Lyric Maker mix. In fact Pepperseed was the first mix we completed: when it came to the edit I just launched into cutting up John’s vinyl mix of the riddim , which we recorded on tape, and flung out a finished article. But midway through that project we decided it didn’t really fit with the flow of the other tunes and took it out. We are vicious about throwing away material that we can’t both agree is great; there’s a vast amount of audio littering our computers which doesn’t make the cut for each mix. It was the same story with the new bashment mix. Pepperseed didn’t fit, and though we both liked it, out it went. But I think it still stands up as a stand-alone piece, so I’m putting it up here as a modest musical diversion for you.
The cuts featured here interested me partly because they’re an example of Europe providing quality dancehall. They’re all on the Natural Mystic label (they rename the riddim after themselves as Mystic) http://tesfualazar.com/naturalmystic/label.htm from Germany. There’s MCing in German, which, unexpectedly, rocks, as well as some amazing singing in what I can only presume is an African language, plus the usual English / patois. Not all the vocal talent is German however; they’ve brought in some JA people like Degree. We’ve stitched these performances together into the monstrous juggernaut of sound you’ve come to know and love. However, while Pepperseed slams, it still maintains much of its focus on the original vocals; it isnt as much of a Steinski-style cut-up as some of the stuff on Nervous Ragga or Lyric Maker (the Stalag section, for example). The track listing is as follows.
Pepperseed (Mystic) Riddim
Natural Mystic, Germany, 2004
Lazy Youth & Degree: Lady Killer
Tesfu: Africa (Komp./Text: Tesfu Haile Alazar)
Dr. Ring-Ding: Call Mi Fi Ram
As ever, if you like this, bung me an email, cos the comments are spam-bait right now.