One riddim destined for the top, for sure!
Charles De Ledesma 2007
Their first studio album in five years, Live As One finds British reggae dub band Zion Train back on top of the roots market. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Neil Perch spent two years in the German studio constructing these sixteen tracks, using in all seven vocalists in various styles. The result is a creative tour de force, showing that reggae these days is much more than similarly metallic dancehall rhythms, ripe for MCs to boast a-top.
Perch’s vocalists range from the sweet-sounding, female voices, Lua and Marlene Johnson; the ‘righteous’, politically conscious Raiz and Tippa Ire – whose “What A Situation” castigates US ‘democratic’ interventionism; onto the deep-voiced, more MC-style Dubhadda. Lastly, there is the star of the show, newcomer YT, whose “Life That I Choose”, is a rousing, memorable lyric emboldening us all to ‘naw walk in another man’s shoes’.
As you would expect for Zion Train - together for 15 years and with eight albums before them - the quality of the musical content and production is exemplary. The ‘integrated’ dub version-vocal productions are sparkling with redolent horn lines, spacey effects, and lovely melodies; notably Sebastian Harzman’s trombone on “What A Situation” and Perch’s synthesised melodica on “Tribute to Keng Keng”.
Some know Zion Train as a pivotal nineties live act, which pioneered dynamic onstage dub mixing. Early albums, Siren and Passage to Indica are undoubted classics. Now, Live As One sees them generating strong, subtle and entrancing studio material as well. One riddim destined for the top, for sure!