Sound The System, which was released in Europe in July, boasts the perfect balance of live instrumentation and analogue recording techniques and is filled with Alborosie’s signature thought-provoking lyrics, satisfying vocals and classic contemporary sound. The modern-day Renaissance man demonstrates a mastery of traditional reggae, while pointing the way forward for himself and the genre.
The re-emergence of “live” reggae and timeless dancehall music owes much to the trail he blazed on earlier albums such as Escape To Babylonand 2 Times Revolution - the difference being that he has now raised the bar even higher. Alborosie not only lives and breathes the music, he’s assimilated it to the point where he’s now indistinguishable from the pioneers who created it – possessing the same spirit and sharing the same goals. For example, “Positiveness” and “Warrior” are the kind of songs that icons like Bob Marley or Toots Hibbert would write, since both are guaranteed to have audiences on their feet, singing along and feeling togetherness. It takes a special talent to pen songs that are catchy, all-inclusive and convey a righteous message. Alborosie clearly has that gift, which may explain why Bob Marley’s son Ky-Mani steps up to the mic for a wonderful reworking of “Zion Train,” or legendary Jamaican vocal group The Abyssinians put in a rare guest appearance on “Give Thanks” – a track they decorate with harmonies sang in Amharic, the sacred language of Ethiopia. He also collaborated with Italian singer Nina Zilli on “Goodbye,” which brings vivacity to scintillating ska beats.
No matter whether its roots or dancehall, he’s equally adept as a singer, singjay or MC and can battle it out with all comers. He will drive a crowd into a frenzy with songs like “Who Run The Dance” in pitch-perfect raggamuffin talk, while “Shut U Mouth” is a burial tune in true sound-system tradition and “Rock The Dancehall” is a clarion call – one that’s already an anthem in reggae circles.
He’s traveled far from his origins in every sense, although his Sicilian heritage peeks through on “U Got To Be Mine,” which has a Mediterranean feel. This blend of compelling yet seemingly disparate influences makes his palette much broader than most reggae artists. He takes it to another level on “Memories” featuring Kemar “Flava” McGregor, which is a musing on life and death set to a shuffling rhythm wrapped in harp strings. This daring nature and willingness to take risks is why his music is so unique and continues to evolve.
Alborosie, real name Alberto D’ Ascola, was born in the Sicilian town of Marsala. After relocating to Milan during his teens he played in a variety of bands before joining Reggae National Tickets, who regularly toured Europe during the mid-to-late nineties. One day the Tickets were invited to perform in Jamaica – an event that inspired Alborosie to quit the band and change his life around. Soon, he was living in Jamaica and working as an engineer at Gee Jam studios in Portland, where he worked with many leading foreign and Jamaican artists. Twelve years later and he’s in the vanguard of an exciting new era for reggae, and with a quartet of critically-acclaimed albums to his name.
2. Play Fool (To Catch Wise)
3. Rock The Dancehall
4. Zion Train (feat. Ky-mani Marley )
5. To Whom It May Concern
6. Who Run The Dance
7. Goodbye (feat. Nina Zilli)
8. U Got To Be Mine
9. Love Is The Way
10. There Is A Place (feat. Kemar)
12. Don’t Pressure It
13. Warrior (feat. Nature)
14. Give Thanks (feat. The Abyssinians)
15. Shut U Mouth
ALBOROSIE Sound The System (Vinyl LP) Track Listing:
A1. Play Fool (To Catch Wise)
A2. Rock The Dancehall
A3. Zion Train (feat. Ky-mani Marley)
A4. Who Run The Dance
A5. Goodbye (feat. Nina Zilli)
B1. To Whom It May Concern
B3. Don’t Pressure It
B4. Warrior (feat. Nature)
B5. Give Thanks (feat. The Abyssinians)