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Posted : Jul 15, 2005 19:44
Ganja Beats – Paradise & Tranquillity
Cover: http://tinyurl.com/7awoj (front) + http://tinyurl.com/bot4o (back)
Artist: Ganja Beats (UK)
Title: Paradise & Tranquillity
Format: CD (jewel case)
Label: Organic Records (UK)
Cat. #: ORGCD0101
Date: 27 June 2005
01. 06’15” Mystical Experience
02. 06’04” Herbalised
03. 06’25” Space Is High
04. 05’52” The Sacred Dub Vibe
05. 06’45” Utopia
06. 06’02” Roots Of The Ganges
07. 05’16” Herb Is Good
08. 06’07” Rhythm Of Dub
09. 05’11” Internal Energy
10. 06’35” The Gift
11. 06’35” The Lost Forest
12. 05’53” Sister Bliss
13. 07’16” Deep Tranquillity (Bonus Track)
.m3u-playlist: http://tinyurl.com/8te8y (all tracks)
Requiem for Jake.
UK-based Organic Records are out with their 10th CD-release… After the Tsunami Benefit compilation and the brilliant Invasion From Hyperspace compilation, it’s time to chill out for a bit… Time for some peace and tranquillity… Ganja Beats is Jake Stephenson who sadly passed away recently at the age of 42 after suffering an epilepsy attack. Jake was a very dedicated and productive producer – among the most productive ever! He was the man behind the Kinetix Recordings label and his production aliases included Shamanic Tribes On Acid, 3rd Eye, Alien Mutation, Bass Meditation and countless others… He was also a member of the groups Optica, Optic Eye and Crystal Moon with Matt Hillier of Ishq… This album was completed short before he died… (R.I.P.)
Let me take you thru the tracks…
#01: Mystical Experience
“Rastaman dub vibration! Heavy dub sensation…” Jake Stephenson is collaborating with Jon Sharp here. And the vocals are by rastaman Micheal Neganah… This is laidback, spliffy dub… Puff, puff giiiiiiiive! It’s kinda boring though – not really my style and the samples annoy me…
Things pick up here… It’s still very laidback dub, but we get some floating melodies now, to spice things up a little… Oh, and the breakdown is nice and chilled… But yeah – focus is still on da herb as the title suggests… Decent track!
#03: Space Is High
Right, now we’re getting somewhere… This is much more my cuppa java… We start out with floating, beatless spacy ambient… An icy-cold sensation at first, but soon the ice is melted by the warmth of the subtle dubby vibes… And gone are the annoying rasta-samples… I totally dig this… I wish it was longer.. ;o)
#04: The Sacred Dub Vibe
As the title suggests we’re back in dub territory now… It starts off chilled and organic – dripping water and digital birds… And soon a lazy dub vibe is introduced carrying us towards some sacred location… A very dreamy, pensive, soothing track here… Nice!
Let’s dig deeper… The dubby vibes are practically gone here, and we’re left with a deep, cold ambient piece with just a few beats left to keep you awake… The intro is very cool: Synth experimentation mixed with – silence! Later on we get a little more action, but we’re still in ambient territory… A very different track, but I like it!
#06: Roots Of The Ganges
Yeah – we’re in India now… As the title suggests! Think a stripped down, lo-fi version of East Of The River Ganges – and you’ve pretty much got it… This is ethno-dub with oddly misplaced melodies… Weird to say the least! I’m not sure what to make of this… Parts of it are really good, others are too naïve for my taste… Decent track!
#07: Herb Is Good
“Herb is a plant. I mean, herb is good for everything!” Jake Stephenson is joined by Jon Sharp again and we back to the reggae-rasta samples… This is hard-core dub with annoying voice-samples and an even more annoying organ-melody… An unfortunate combo to say the least… Sorry, I don’t like it at all…
#08: Rhythm Of Dub
We continue down the same path here, though this time with vocals by Micheal Neganah – and they are less annoying… This is still hard-core dub with rich reggae influences – with nifty little melodies to balance things out… The experimental bridge is very cool… Very well executed fusion music here… I like it!
#09: Internal Energy
More rastaman lyrics here – alongside a deeeeeeeeep dubby beat… We also get some synth experimentation and a few melodies… Unfortunately it doesn’t mix too well… I tend to skip this track!
#10: The Gift
Ahh – much better now… The dubby bass and the floating soundscapes are now accompanied by a pretty sweet rhythm section + dreamy female moaning… It may sound cheesy, but it’s not. It’s all very nicely done and this is a very likeable track…
#11: The Lost Forest
More floating ambient here… Some bird action in the intro… Later on we get some lazy percussion… I especially like the tribal part… Yeah, this is very forest-like… Jungle-downbeat… Sweet track – but too damn short!
#12: Sister Bliss
This is, hands down, the best track on this album… Beautifully crafted ambient music that will send you straight to dreamland… The soothing vocals here are by Jayne Stephenson, and I’m guessing its Jake’s sister (hence the title…)!?… High quality, floating ambient here… With a flute line nothing short of perfection… Very well done! Only gripe is that this track is too short…
#13: Deep Tranquillity (Bonus Track)
This last bonus track here is also floating ambient – thankfully! Virtually beatless, this is one of the deepest, most dreamy tracks here… Running water, high-pitched xylophones, soft filters and atmospheric soundscapes… Designed to put you to sleep… And it works… What a great bonus track… Zzzzzzzzzz….
Well, I’m not sure what to think of this album… I know that dub, reggae and ambient are closely related, but to be honest I really don’t like the reggae tracks here… They seem to get somewhat in the way of the much better ambient/chill-out tracks… I know that this was Jake’s style, and I hope he doesn’t turn in his grave when I write this… But to conclude, I don’t really like half of this album… But the other half is extremely nice! What a complex!
So you could say that beautiful ambient tracks make up for the less good tracks here… And I’ll even admit that the reggae tracks might even serve their purpose when under the influence… But for me right now, I’ll skip ‘em… I’m sorry to see Jake leave this Earth so early – I hope he’s at a better place right now hanging out with Bob Marley & Curt Cobain… He’s made some great stuff in the past, and at least half of this album is very sweet… Obviously I’ll recommend this to fans of both ambient/chill-out and dub – and if you’re also into reggae you will not want to miss this album… I’m putting this up on my shelf next to Kukan-Dub-Lagan’s Life Is Nice released on Candyflip in 2004… If you liked that, you’ll love this… Enjoy!
Favourites: 3, 4, 5, 8, 10(!), 11, 12(!!), 13(!)
Organic Records: http://www.organicrecords.net
Saiko Sounds: http://tinyurl.com/bm4sr
On really romantic evenings of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion...