Ireggae - Album Reviews rastafari
assini.jpg (7606 bytes) Midnite & I Grade
I Grade Records
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Bass: Kenyatta Johnson, Phil Merchant
Drums: Phil Merchant, Dion "Bosie" Hopkins, Donnie Dread
Guitar: Laurent "Tippy" Alfred
Keyboards: Ron Benjamin, Laurent "Tippy" Alfred, Donnie Dread
Vocals: Vaughn Benjamin
Arrangements: Vaughn Benjamin, Laurent "Tippy" Alfred

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All Songs written by Vaughn Benjamin
Music by I Grade Productions and the Midnite Band

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Track List:
  1. Old Robe
  2. Worker Be
  3. Balance
  4. Ises
  5. Reminder
  6. Blaze Up
  7. Highly
  8. Humble Wah?
  9. Womb
  10. Good Remnant
  11. Dry Bones Live
  12. Mouth Of Ancients
  13. Safe
  14. Piranha (Come To Feed)
  15. Sing Ye
  16. No Fear No Sorrow

Every once in awhile, I find an artist or group that totally blows me away.

Nasio Fontaine has been that artist since 1998. This singer/songwriter from Dominica is one of the most talented and righteous bredrin I've ever heard. I still feel he's deserving of superstardom.

But recently I was turned on to a group called Midnite and they are, in a word, incredible.

Hailing from St. Croix, this quintet has a raw roots sound which is unlike any other. They've released three excellent discs, but the one that's being reviewed here is their second collaboration with I Grade records (their first is another crucial release entitled "Nemozian Rasta").

This sophomore effort, entitled "Assini - A Midnite I-Grade Collaboration," is one of the strongest discs I've ever been fortunate enough to hear in my life. The 69 minutes of crucial sounds adds a little hip hop to some of the rootsiest and most well-constructed reggae music ever created.

Midnite's lead vocalist, Vaughn Benjamin, is here in all of his glory. When you think of some of the coolest voices in reggae, he's right up there with Bob Marley, Winston Rodney, Pipe Mathews, Albert Griffiths and Nasio. This guy is intense.

The backing band on "Assini" is a mixture of Midnite and I Grade's talent in St. Croix. And what a mixture it is!

The CD consists of 16 tracks with clean and smooth production. The opening tune, "Old Robe," kicks things off with a few bass notes and from there it's just a musical journey which is guaranteed to knock you out.

It's fitting that the bass starts things off, because this entire release is bass-fueled. You start listening to the bass, then you realize the choppy guitar, then the drum pattern, then back to the bass, then the keyboards, then that VOICE, which is all over the place chanting and singing in an incredibly unique style.

The tunes range from upbeat to mellow, but always with an incredibly infectious beat and always with outstanding musicianship. Each song is good enough to stand on its own as a single. Seriously.

I could go on and on about the brilliance of this recording, but you really need to hear it for yourself. I've been listening to it non-stop since I got it and am still just figuring out certain lyrics (which are ALWAYS righteous) as well as other little nuances.

This is serious music, with just a crucial, relentless sound. Do yourself a favor and pick it up. Without a doubt, "Assini" deserves to be in each and every one's collection. 
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Review courtesy of Professor Skank

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