Augustus Pablo, Message Music: Digital Productions 1986-1994

Monica Isaac

Augustus Pablo, Message Music: Digital Productions 1986-1994 [Pressure Sounds]

Roots Reggae was touched by pure genius when Augustus Pablo broke out his melodica. It's a childlike and whimsical instrument with a youthful and nostalgic ton where melodies abound with a harmonic ease that's not steadfast, but still leaves an embedded impression in your soul.

Though the melodica was his signature musical endeavor, Pablo experimented with a host of electronic sounds during the period of 1986-1994. The results weren't your stereotypical Roots Reggae (synth, drum machine), so it was generally brushed to the side. Thankfully, technology has opened a whole new world of lost albums and recordings. A brave soul (or record label) will always dig deep into an artist's collection and this is a perfect example of that effort. Pressure Sounds gives us Pablo's experimental material beginning in 1986. It starts off with a futuristic take on “A Java”. Beat-heavy and catchy, it's a casually produced modern remix track done right. Standout tracks like ”Seven Winds From Zion” and “Isis” (Dub Version) carry a happily upbeat, slightly pop centric vibe that could easily be played at any dance club around the world.

Tradition is always comfortable and appeasing, but Pablo was adored enough to take risks and still be embraced by reggae loyalists. As much as the synth and drums reign particularly true on these tracks, they never overpower the melodica or the genuine intention Pablo had: To showcase Roots Reggae his way.

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