The title of “King” in regards to a craft or technique in the arts is often thrown around a little too loosely these days. That said, I’m going to use it here with the disclaimer that my application of the word is not hyperbole; for Jackie Mittoo, one of the founders of the legendary group The Skatalites and musical director of Jamaica’s label and recording studio Studio One, the crown as “Keyboard King” is earned and appropriate. I’m no aficionado of musicology (although I pretend to be sometimes) but I’ll tell you this: Jackie Mittoo’s importance to the development and influence of the numerous different styles of music that came from Jamaica during the 1960s and 1970s cannot be measured. With that I humbly give you this week’s edition of The Joup Friday Album: Jackie Mittoo The Keyboard King at Studio One.
The enigmatic approach left behind, issue two begins with Nameless and his escorts as they arrive at Paul Darious’s Billionauts base on the dark side of the moon. Once situated we quickly get A LOT more of the Enochian language message we are introduced to in issue #1. We meet Dr. Croft, the base’s former expert on occult matters and see that something has either possessed her or sent her over the edge of sanity. The others on the base have quarantined Dr. Croft and when Burnham flashes to her we see that written on the walls of her cell in what is probably *gag* either shite or blood or a happy mixture of both, what appears to be a continuation of that Enochian message:
Again back to the early 90s? Come on Grez…surely you’ve evolved from there. I guess in some ways I have or just found a deeper appreciation for the music to which I listen for the past, um, 30 years. I did some homework on the band Dada and this is what I found:
‘Empire State (Son House in Excelsis)’ transports me to a gold and frozen 70s New York Morning. Like the intro to some film that doesn’t exist, the staccato piano stabs and underlying atmospherics serve as a sun-dappled Hudson, before the drums, bulbous bass and fluttering flutes summon-up some 16mm Manhattan panorama, speeding up, slowing down, growing in stature as though to pencil-in the enormity of it all. Horns come blasting-in after the 4:15 mark in a staggering pantomime of car horns, dizzying buildings, swelling and spinning until everything accelerates into chaos like the throng of vehicular and human traffic on the streets below. ‘Young Man’s Stride’ bids a final farewell to the galloping jams that made up much of 93’s exhilarating ‘Boces’, while also reminding you of just how much of a dry run that album was for this one, but while ‘Boces’ sounds like an extraordinary rock record, ‘See You On The Other Side’ evolves into something transcendent – it’s texture more deftly crafted but with organic and otherworldly results; muted and drunken trumpets, lilting wind instruments, wailing soul singers, an idealised, pharmaceutically-enhanced vision of the world’s capital city.