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Message Music - Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994

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Album Review

From his incredibly long dreadlocks to his hypnotic melodica playing, producer/musician Augustus Pablo seems to be the quintessential roots reggae man, but Message Music focuses on the legend’s often ignored digital era, which has plenty of detractors. Get past the instrumentation — plenty of synths and thin, electronic drums — and there’s little support for the hatred, as these digital tunes feature the same mysticism, uplifting melodies, and solid grooves that characterized Pablo’s early work. Some of the music here actually consists of re-recordings of earlier favorites, like the opening “A Java Instrumental,” which now opens with a bleepy deep-space synth the Orb or even could appreciate. Check the light and bouncy “Kidd Lane Specially” for Pablo at his most playful or the trippy clash of nyahbinghi drums and sound effects called “Revolution Dub,” a sure influence on producer Adrian Sherwood. This is a small — some feel insignificant — part of the Pablo picture, and focuses strictly on dubs and instrumentals, with none of his digital productions for vocalists included. Still, if you want to find out if you have the taste for digital Augustus in dub, you couldn’t ask for a better sampler than this.


Born: 1954 in St. Andrews, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

As any business person will tell you, the way to success is through the discovery of a niche or a previously unexploited market. Still, few business people, and even fewer musicians, would have believed that there was a market for the sound of the melodica. What next, they would have sniggered, a kazoo? Yet Augustus Pablo would take this child's toy and launch a revolution in Jamaican music. Not only was Pablo's melodica unique, it would sweep the entire island's scene and become an integral part...
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Message Music - Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994, Augustus Pablo
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