Umberto Echo - Dub The World Smoke - Routes

Tracklist

  1. Intro
  2. Island
  3. Save All the Kids
  4. Don't Leave Me Today
  5. Hily Place
  6. Wasn't It You
  7. Mao Interlude
  8. Iron Man Wang
  9. The Great Wanderer
  10. Addicted
  11. 2 Of Them Interlude
  12. To Them
  13. Everything You Are
  14. The Ogoni Interlude
  15. Ken Saro Wiwa
  16. Let There Be Light
  17. If

Release Details

LABEL : ECHO BEACH
DATE : February 20, 2009
FORMAT : CD / DIGITAL
CATALOGUE : Echo Beach CD072
(17 tracks - 73 minutes playtime)

Smoke - Routes

February 20, 2009

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In winter 2007 "SMOKE" (the current line-up is Alessandro Soresini on drums, vocals and production, Gianluca Pelosi on bass and production, Marco Zaghi on sax, flute and production and the South African singer Séan Daniel Martin, who became Smoke's official singer in summer 2006) entered the studio to celebrate their second album "ROUTES"…! A side project, a collaboration with Europe's most reputable soundsystem, POW POW MOVEMENT from Cologne, spawned a 7-inch release of "Save All The Kids" on the POW POW label.

"Routes" marks the breathtaking return of this Milan-based band; it sets the bar for future reggae productions. The album skirts passing trends adroitly (dancehall..? Raggaton..?) The style is reminiscent of a pre-digital era, where digital instrumentation wasn't the be-all it is today; the vocals are strictly melodic (may remind some listeners ad music lovers of early Horace Andy) and the clever lyrics contain mature ideas.

Songs like "To Them" (a condemnation of the Apartheid system in South Africa, Séan's mother country), "Ken Saro Wiwa" (the story of a man killed by the Nigerian military regime for having fought against the environmental devastation caused by the Shell oil company), "Ironman Wang" (a reflection on the consequences of the Maoist regime through the journey of a young Chinese worker) and "Save all the kids" (a hymn to the protection of children's rights inspired by Ishmael Beah's book 'A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier') have the purpose of focusing listeners' attention on issues that afflict the planet and that are all too often ignored in the media. Other songs like "Let there be light" (inspired by the book of Genesis), "The great wanderer", "Every thing you are", "Island", "If" emphasize the values that all living beings share and speak of the on common desire for universal harmony. Every track lives on its own light, but at the same time works as a fundamental key for the record's completeness.

"Routes" is a stunning and complete work, a circle that closes disclosing the artistic and spiritual maturity of "SMOKE". "Routes" is an exquisite and splendid blend of modern roots reggae with a vibe heavy influenced by soul. "Routes" is a 17 cuts album, destined to become one of those unifying albums which everyone plays to death… !!!

Is really three the perfect number? Smoke amazes already at their second record, which someone has defined "the most difficult in the career of an artist". But Routes is after all the first one made together with Sean Martin, the singer that took the place of Dree Love already after the release of the debut album entitled Smoke (2005). The journey started by Alessandro Soresini, Marco Zaghi and Gianluca Pelosi finds now new routes. The line-up, enriched by the voice of Sean and his conscious compositions, takes a path packed with images gathered around the world, "exposed" on lyrics that describe a cross-section of contemporaneousness, among injustices and spirituality, brotherhood and broken rights. The sound is both powerful and relaxed: a disentangle of roots plunged in the most classical reggae, keeping a very contemporary and multicultural vision, without trying to mimic the trendy dance hall's rhythms.

"Routes" is a stunning and complete work, a circle that closes disclosing the artistic and spiritual maturity of "SMOKE". "Routes" is an exquisite and splendid blend of modern roots reggae with a vibe heavy influenced by soul. "Routes" is a 17 cuts album, destined to become one of those unifying albums which everyone plays to death… !!!

Love. This is the keyword that has inspired Routes songs. A consistent connection that finds in the encounter and exchange of its first property, fortified by the collaborations that harmonize in the record songs. The four members, in fact, aren't alone in the enterprise; they have a prestigious crew: Casino Royale's Patrick Benifei plays the keyboards on Addicted, retaking the bond with Smoke after their common debut, Bluebeaters' Fabio Merigo plays the guitar in three episodes, Raymond Wright sings in Hily Place, a song that opens winking at the best Dennis Brown. And of course there is Alborosie, who shares with the band a past together with Reggae National Tickets; he was the one that in the occasion of a Smoke concert in 2006, explained for us the connection between Italian music and reggae: "The melodies: in Afro-American soul they moves on other scales".

It's exactly in this that Routes is different from the entire Italian reggae production. The connection with the Motown sound is evident. Sean Martin moves among the notes as only a soul singer can do, even if he hasn't a high singing voice range nor a deep tone; his interpretations are, what's more, worthy of being compared to those voices of the 60's and 70's (Horace Hinds Andy in primis), and, except for rare moments, maintain untouched the essence of a past that is still in auge. The songs form a journey that blend different experiences, both musical and real, as those lived by the characters of the story-telling that goes from the racial tragedies in South Africa, to China's "red" injustices and the Nigerian environmental abuses by the governments and the multinational oil companies. Without forgetting spirituality and the new musical frontiers. If ends the record with a flourish, among modern suggestions that takes the Kumina tradition towards the new Millennium. Because maybe three is the perfect number, but you can always get closer to the top a little bit earlier.

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