Monday, 23 August 2010

'Duppy Writer' - Roots Manuva & WrongTom (review)

When remixing an artist with a heavy cult following one has to be careful. WrongTom has been careful and the result is 'Duppy Writer' - a collection songs truly worthy of being called a Roots Manuva LP.

The typically sparse production of your average Roots Manuva track has been stripped away and replaced by the most delicious dubby Reggae and in most cases each track is better than the original! You see, WrongTom hasn't tackled the biggest and bestest Roots Manuva tracks (I'm not accounting for personal tastes here), he's generally taken the tunes which took the back seat the first time round and put his sunny spin on them.

The album kicks of with 'Butterfly Crab Walk' featuring Riddla which is a re-imagining of 'Hol' It Up' from 'Run Come Save Me' - the original had that old Bontempi feel to it whereas WrongTom's is "Tropical". 'Chin High' from 'Awfully Deep' was never going to be as easy to swallow as the album's title track or the single 'Too Cold' but the version available here on 'Duppy Writer' brings a little more melody to the mix and renders it to have more appeal.

'Duppy Writer', the third track, is the only reference to Manuva's pièce de résistance 'Witness (1 Hope)' before the secret track from 'Awfully Deep' gets a remaking - 'This World Is Mine' becomes 'Worl' A Mine' and WrongTom really makes the most of a great chorus. 'Big Tings Gwidarn' featuring Seanie T is probably equal to its original - not one of the best remixes here.

'Jah Warriors' featuring Ricky Ranking is the album's first single and is a brand new collaboration - a very great track, hopefully WrongTom will produce more new material for forthcoming Roots Manuva releases. 'Proper Tings Juggled' is a great track but is probably the one track on here that doesn't live up to the original.

Three tracks from 'Slime and Reason' receive new production - 'Lick Up Your Foot', 'Rebuff' and 'Son Of Bodda'. Each track fits in with the original aesthetics of 'Slime and Reason' with 'Rebuff' being a vast improvement on the original and 'Lick Up Your Foot' being a great alternative version. 'Motion 82' sounds authentically old school reggae, sounding nothing like 'Motion 5000', which is an awesome track - this isn't a case of which is best - both are good.

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