Micah Shemaiah ‘Roots I Vision’ LP (Evidence Music) 4/5

The album was voiced in Geneva at the label’s Evidence Music Studio and mixed by one of the champions of the dub underground; Munich resident producer and soundmix engineer Umberto Echo with the music being provided by The 18th Parallel band.

‘Roots I Vision’ is presented as an eight track vinyl LP with the digital version benefiting from the inclusion of three bonus dub version cuts.
An easy to digest album when played in its entirety with a potent blend of vintage mixdown style and vocals and its progressive delivery courtesy of the underground arena, notably as example the use of speed control effects and percussive elements in the mix with the overall sound coverage tipping the nod to 1980s reggae roots and culture sounds, musically similar say to the later music of Gregory Issacs and the later Mikey Dread albums in fact I detect a few vocal refrains uttered by Micah throughout tracks that have that Michael Campbell touch and many other references appear throughout the set not least with its sub genres, we get healthy doses of rootsy one drop, mid tempo steppers style, rockers style and ambient leaning modern digi dub not forgetting that wonderful era of minimalist mid 1980s dancehall sound all blended together rather well making a short yet superbly crafted set.

From the album’s opener and title track ‘Roots I Vision’ through to its powerful closer ‘Death Trap’ we embark on a traditional reggae journey of roots and Rasta, of love and unity. Lets take the track ‘Boom Shakalak’ which has all the ingredients for a lovers sway, with Micah crooning away in positive vibe spreading unity not hate over a sumptuous down tempo slice of musical ‘gateau à la crème’ along side smatterings of fairground ride style sirens and a brass section -featuring on trumpet Alex Schneiter and on tenor sax Michael Borcord not forgetting Anthony Buclin on trombone- who give nice back washes and hooks throughout the album with some crucial drumming provided by the one Antonin Chatelain, indeed peppering the set are those hexagon shaped ‘syn’ drums of old giving a warm sound to the riddim tracks. I can’t detect any filler tracks to be honest in this creation. The album has a nice ‘mid’ range bass sound, it pumps but not overly ‘belly’ bass playing, not ultra deep like digi dub.

The high piece of the album comes to us by the name of ‘Death Trap’ which features Daniele Raia on the keyboards who also produced this track, all the other tracks on the album having been arranged and produced by The 18th Parellel band keyboardist Mathias Liengme. ‘Death Trap’ is a pure organ led roots special with some nice guitar picks from Léo Marin and lead guitar from Adrien Stern with handpicked subject matter from the voice of Micah Shemaiah, the dub version of ‘Death Trap’ is minimalist cool.

It’s a nice album to play in the background, calming and charming, a very Jamaican sounding band and the album absolutely benefits from the mix of Umberto Echo at the controls. The three bonus dubs (digital release) are underground heaven. Treat yourself to the vinyl LP and download the three dubs from a store, it’s rockers galore. Nice work by the backing singers Julien Plaza and Patricia Carvalho. A good team and a good project. A healthy 4/5 I would say.”

Gibsy Rhodes