CD Review: NYC Reggae Collective, alieNation

NYC Reggae Collective alieNation coverNYC Reggae Collective
[Benchwarrant Records, 2004]

I hope you can afford the commitment that “alieNation” requires, because it will keep you busy. First there’s the music, 70:30 worth; or 73:30 if you count the three minutes of silence before the last hidden track. Then you’ll want to play the whole album again, and yet again, so already we’re at over three and a half hours of your valuable time. For some perverse reason, the small-print lyrics face north, south, east and west, so all that turning and reading take time too. Contemplating the strange and beautiful ugliness of the inner-fold art isn’t an instantaneous thing either, especially when you try to link it (and the front and back cover illustrations) to the lyrics, an unavoidable temptation.

Still with me? Next, you’ll want to get on the Web to find out more about the creative people involved, and when you do you’ll discover various permutations and combinations of them and their projects (including New York City’s critically acclaimed THE MOT!VES), all of which involves the old time factor. Your Google search on “theremin” will take several minutes to explore satisfactorily, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So by now it’s bedtime, and you’ll have to save your fourth listen until tomorrow, which is a shame.

As a few people will now realize, given the above band reference, the amazing talents of Louie Fleck come to the fore in this album. He did most of the song writing, then produced, arranged and engineered to boot. Nevertheless, NYC Reggae Collective is a nicely unified band: the sound from one track to another engages and coheres, despite the variety of lead singers involved—seven, if I counted right. The musicianship is impeccable; if you decide to have a banjo player as a guest, for example, who better to choose than Béla Fleck?

From track one’s plaintive lead vocal, optimistic lyrics, and warm warbley wahwah instrumentation, through to the danceable and dance-themed eight minutes of the hidden track 16, it’s a multi-faceted and enchanting journey. A major commitment on your part, sure, but I can’t think of many more enjoyable uses of your precious time than becoming thoroughly aleiNated with this album.

Purchase CD on Amazon.com.

 



About Ted Boothroyd :

Ted has enjoyed music all his increasingly lengthy life. He has gone through various favorite artists along the way, from his mommy crooning lullabies at crib side to his dad singing folk songs on car trips to The Everly Brothers to Ian and Sylvia to The Dave Brubeck Quartet to The Lovin’ Spoonful to The Kinks to The Miracles to Ravi Shankar to Tchaikovsky to Pentangle to Miriam Makeba to The Red Army Chorus and Band to Captain Beefheart to Gilbert and Sullivan to The McGarrigle Sisters to The Clash to Louis Jordan to The Flying Bulger Klezmer Band to Manu Chao. He has trouble choosing favorites when it comes to reggae - that fixation has been too longstanding and too complete. Ted started writing about music late in 2002 with a book review in The Beat, continuing with book and album reviews until the magazine's untimely passing. His association with Jahworks.org dates back to 2003, and he has hosted a couple of radio shows featuring reggae and "world music". Ted also sculpts in plaster and wood. | View all posts by Ted Boothroyd

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Ted has enjoyed music all his increasingly lengthy life. He has gone through various favorite artists along the way, from his mommy crooning lullabies at crib side to his dad singing folk songs on car trips to The Everly Brothers to Ian and Sylvia to The Dave Brubeck Quartet to The Lovin’ Spoonful to The Kinks to The Miracles to Ravi Shankar to Tchaikovsky to Pentangle to Miriam Makeba to The Red Army Chorus and Band to Captain Beefheart to Gilbert and Sullivan to The McGarrigle Sisters to The Clash to Louis Jordan to The Flying Bulger Klezmer Band to Manu Chao. He has trouble choosing favorites when it comes to reggae - that fixation has been too longstanding and too complete.

Ted started writing about music late in 2002 with a book review in The Beat, continuing with book and album reviews until the magazine's untimely passing. His association with Jahworks.org dates back to 2003, and he has hosted a couple of radio shows featuring reggae and "world music". Ted also sculpts in plaster and wood.

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