Yesking – Re-Record… Not Fade Away (Loop) CD REVIEW

5772a_53551LET’S IGNORE ITS rather silly title and the equally baffling moniker of UK producer Rhys Adams, and focus on the contents, not the package.

Released in NZ by Loop and in England by BBE, this is Adams’ second full-length album, and follows a couple of decades of work as an engineer and producer with the likes of Crazy P’s Chris Todd, Mark Rae, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Horace Andy and Rockers Hi-fi’s Different Drummer Soundsystem, amongst others. Yeah, the guy’s got credentials.

It’s specifically of interest to Witchdoctor audio connoisseurs because of the way it was recorded: at Adams’ home studio straight to a 1960s quarter-inch ferrograph tape machine, which the artist says was ‘integral to the unique and authentic feel.’

Well, it does sound rather tasty and just a little bit organic, and I’m guessing that on vinyl the album would have an extra layer of lustre shining through. What Adams means by ‘authentic’ is that Re-Record… is, in effect, a soundsystem album in the same sense as the first Massive Attack long player, and other classic contemporaneous releases from that golden Bristol era. That is, it’s made by what amounts to a collective of musicians, writers and vocalists (both singers and rappers) all adding their personalities to Adams’ grooves, which tend to err on the side of dub, with an infusion of old-fashioned Afro-American groove and a topping of reggae skank.

imagesThe problem with a project like this, however, is that producer-based albums with multiple contributions are kind of passé at this point, and it’s horribly hard to come up with something that carries a distinctive personality through the 10 songs. Re-Record… almost does achieve lift-off, due to its subtly different sonic signature, which provides some kind of recognisable unity through all the guest turns.

The bigger problem is that none of the singing, rapping or the songs themselves stick in the mind once the platter stops spinning. The whole thing is rather enjoyable on a simple foot-tapping level, and would probably make excellent background fodder in a café with a sound system capable of bass reproduction. It’s undeniably a real achievement, and there’s real talent behind it, but after a couple of pass-throughs, it’s as though I never heard it before.

Try one more time, you say? Hmm, life is short. GARY STEEL

Music = 3/5

Sound = 4/5

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