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Various Artists

Bodo Riddim

(Minor7Flat5; US: 17 Jul 2007; UK: 21 May 2007)

What do you get when you combine one riddim, a roster of well-respected reggae veterans and new generation greats, and the production skills of Andreas “Brotherman” Christophersen? The answer is Bodo Riddim, a classical reggae compilation that ably demonstrates how one riddim may be used to express a wide range of roots messages. Recorded on tape at the famous Tuff Gong Studio with the help of musicians Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, Andrew Campbell, Lloyd “Obeah” Denton and Sticky Uziah Thompson, and dubbed by Brotherman in Gran Canaria, Spain, these fourteen tracks, which clock in at 54.9 minutes, prove that despite its generic beat reggae is a versatile musical form. Cocoa Tea’s voice uses the riddim to lament the social inequalities of society, Horace Andy’s to celebrate the often difficult progress of revolution, Jayne Dough’s to express the desire and need for love in the face of hatred and violence, and Anthony Red Roze’s to express the ambiguity punctuating human relations in modern times. Moreover, all of the artists featured on this longplay riddim disc, which also include Ras Myrhdak, Capleton, Smokie Benz & Tony Tuff, Sizzla, K-oss, Josie Mel & Lutan Fyah, Ricky Ticky, Beenie Man, and Al Pancho, employ different vocal styles in order to further spin the riddim in different directions. Minor7Flat5’s latest release is a fascinating listen precisely for this reason and should remind skeptics of the genre that a multiplicity of sounds may inflect one riddim and, conversely, that one riddim may suit a multiplicity of subjects. The downside of this disc is that while it showcases reggae’s versatility its uniform riddim risks boring the listener after repeated plays. Whether one is a fan of reggae or not, this lesson in the infinite variety of which one riddim is capable of producing is nonetheless well worth learning.

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