V/A – Tempo Explosion
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Heavyweight Dug Out edition, issuing the incredible mid-late ’80s Dancehall rarity ‘Tempo Explosion’; a run of one-off version excursions on Red Rose’s ‘Tempo Rhythm’ including three head melting dubs. It’s regarded as a masterpiece of reggae’s digital revolution and the finest release on Sugar Minott’s short-lived Black Victory label, utilising the “sainted” players from the Studio One and Music Mountain, Stony Hill studios in JA, and Lloyd “Bullwackie” Barnes crew at Wackies’ White Plains Road studio in The Bronx, NYC. Towering above them all is Minott’s opening statement ‘Devil Is At Large’, laying it out deadly cool and mellifluous amidst squirting, gurgling digi FX and a masterful blend of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Further vocals come from Chris Wayne and Willie Williams, but its only the balance of Ras Menilik Dacosta’s hoarse boom and astro synth bubbles on ‘Free South Africa’ that can test Sugar’s. On the instrumentals Jerry Johnson’s saxed-up version is pure NYC vibes, but it’s the trio of stripped synth, drums and FX-driven versions that makes this one so, so special. Jaws will drop at first contact with the skulking ‘Slow Tempo’, sounding the soundtrack to a missing scene from John Carpenter’s Escape From New York set in a smoked-out cyberdub bunker, while the ‘Up Tempo’ really chisels the rhythm with stunning mixing desk movements, like someone just let Chris Carter in through the back door for a midnight mix session. Mindblowing tracks. Huge recommendation!