Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was convinced that (outside dub, which I consider a separate field, which just keeps evolving alongside technology), decent reggae stopped being made around the end of the 1970s. My old friend Alan, an avid reggae fan, musician, busker and DJ down in New Zealand has succeeded in convincing me otherwise, introducing me to the dubiously named, but otherwise wonderful crew from St. Croix (one of the Virgin Islands) known as Midnite.

Not only is their music superb, standing up very well against the finest 70's Jamaican roots music, they're also incredibly prolific, collaborate widely, and their lyrics are really interesting. Even some of my favourite 70's reggae gets a bit tedious lyrically (a few basic themes like Haile Sellasie, ganja, the Lion of Judah, Babylon, Ethiopia, ghetto sufferation getting endlessly recycled, often a few simple lines repeated over and over). Midnite's lyricist singer Vaughn Benjamin explores a lot of these themes, but has clearly spent a lot of time reading interesting books and websites, so he takes it all into other dimensions — concealed histories, technological evolution, conspiracy theories, biology, genetics, archaeology, finance, children's TV, on and on...

I've been listening to as many of their albums as I can (you can find them all here), just letting the rhythms and lyrical flows wash over me. The information content is on a par with good hiphop (which is one of the things I've always loved about that genre, and why I see it as having taken over from reggae in the early 80s) — some of the details are questionable, but I'm still glad that they're putting them out there. You can check some of their lyrics out here.

Thanks Alan!


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