On the content of his character, and by the results of his recordings, Mad Professor (Neil Fraser) is one of the sanest record producers. The name Mad Professor was first given by friends at school, who were amazed by the experiments he carried out as a youth.
Having built a radio and telephone system at the age of 10 years, it was no surprise that his interest and subsequent career in electronics along with a love of Motown, Philadelphia International, Treasure Isle and music of all types propelled him onward.
The early Eighties, having built his own mixing desk, Mad Professor launched himself and the Ariwa Studio label from his front room in Thornton Heath.
Early works include sessions with Ruts DC, Reggae Regulars, Merger, Jimmy Lindsay, Mikey Dread, Johnny Clarke and many more international artists.
DUB ME CRAZY, the first in a 12 part series of albums, was to become his beacon for the label. With an episode being issued every year, each of the titles told a different story. With titles like “Beyond the Realms of dub”, “The African Connection”, and “Adventures of a dub sampler”, the distinct variation and surprising sound effects were unique for this time.
Dub and the cool sound and clarity of his mixing encouraged many artists to the growing label. By the mid-Eighties, the studio / label moved from its launch base of Peckham. The new location would be Whitehorse Lane, South Norwood, where it is still located. At this time he incorporated remix projects for the Orb, 400 Blows, Beats International (Lindy Layton), Sade and Brilliant. A heavy schedule of touring Germany, Holland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Spain Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, USA, Canada and Japan, while still managing to produce the various artists’ projects was an enormous workload.
The label by then had a healthy 104 albums with more in the infancy stage of planning. By the mid Nineties, Mad Professor’s profile increased to legendary status after remixing Massive Attack’s second album, Protection.
The latest offering from Mad Professor is entitled “Electro Dubclubbing” ~ Read more about Mad Professor at www.ariwa.com
Channel One Sound System
In 1979, Mikey Dread and his brother Jah T began to play at blues parties and local dances having spent many years under the watchful eye of their father, owner operator of the famous Admiral Bailey Sound. They chose the name Channel One in homage to the legendary Jamaican record label of the same name whose tunes featured heavily in those early selections. Inspired by Bob Marley’s belief in uniting people through reggae music, Mikey was keen to introduce new people to dub reggae music and started touring around universities, where he secured a solid fan base.
Channel One’s mission is to break down barriers via reggae music, they have achieved this by playing new venues, new festivals and different countries, taking their unique sound to Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey and all over Europe. Channel One also celebrated 30 consecutive years at the Notting Hill Carnival making them one of the must see soundsystems for attendees to Europes biggest street festival.
2009 saw Channel One embark on their hugely successful national Dub to Dubstep Tour, with financial backing from the Arts Council, via Blackroutes and support from Punch and Vagabondz. Channel One took their sound system to 6 cities, touring alongside Kromestar, RSD and Jazzsteppa, showcasing their dub reggae sound system as part of the tangible heritage behind dubstep. In 2011, Channel One have been on another tour, this time Dub to Jungle alongside Congo Natty, Tenor Fly, Congo Dubz, Nanci and Phoebe and Klose One. And finally in 2012 Channel One went on a Jamaica Party tour, celebrating Jamaica’s 50th year of independence – alongside Coki, Mala, Shy FX, The Bug and Flowdan, Top Cat, The Heatwave, General Roots, RoxXxan, Rtkal and Screama. Finally Channel One have toured with the legendary Twinkle Brothers, a concept put together by Mikey Dread. These tours have been a great way for Channel One to reach new audiences.
Channel One Sound System were the Red Bull Culture Clash winners in November 2010, beating Skream and Benga, Metalheadz and Soul Jazz. Channel One competed in the Culture Clash in 2012 at Wembley Arena, against Major Lazer (with Usher and Rita Ora), Boy Better Know and Annie Mac Presents. Channel One are the first reggae sound system to have taken their sound to Wembley Arena.
Channel One Sound Systems hand built custom speaker stacks provide a rich heavyweight bass sound which compliments their tight selection of old and new dub reggae classics, all played from a single vinyl deck and accented with echos and sirens. MC Ras Kayleb compliments Mikeys deep draws with Rastafarian chants and song.
~ More info at: https://channelonesoundsystem.com/
Sir Coxsone Outernational Soundsystem
Sir Coxsone recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. That’s a lifetime, and founder member Lloydie Coxsone has spent his promoting reggae music to the heights. The veteran soundman has won every accolade the reggae world can offer, and no other sound-system in England can claim such mythical status.
Their reputation among Britain’s Caribbean communities runs deep, but there’s now a younger generation of reggae and sound-system fans from around the world who are discovering them, and loving what they hear. Lloyd is originally from Morant Bay, in the Jamaican parish of St. Thomas. Music was all around and the lure of the local dancehalls proved irresistible but Lloyd left for England soon after Jamaican Independence and “by September 1965, the sound was up and running.”
Lloyd had made his debut at a West Indian social club in Balham before joining Barry Sky Rocket and then building his own sound called Lloyd The Matador. That sound got destroyed in a crowd fight and so Lloyd reluctantly went over to Duke Reid, which became a champion sound with him at the controls. One night when Duke Reid was playing a dance, someone assaulted Lloyd as he stepped outside. He fought back, not realising the man was an undercover police officer. Within minutes police with dogs surrounded the house and Lloyd was taken to Tooting Bec police station, where he was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon – a foot long knife that he’d never seen before. The owner of Duke Reid neglected to give evidence on his behalf and as a result, Lloyd was given a six-month jail sentence.
“I said to myself that I’m not going to come out of this struggle and play for this man again. I’m going to come out and build my own sound. They had two big sounds in Jamaica – Duke Reid and Coxsone – and so I say that I’m going to call my sound Sir Coxsone and rival him.”
The rest as they say, “is history.” Sir Coxsone was one of the first sound-systems to play reggae in the West End. They played at the Flamingo Club in Soho, but it was their residencies in Carnaby Street that put them on the map. Count Suckle had paved the way for them at the Roaring 20s, where they played soul and reggae to multi-racial audiences. Those same premises were later renamed Colombo’s, and Coxsone continued to play there right throughout the seventies. Bob Marley would often stop by when he was in London, and wrote Kinky Reggae about a night out at Colombo’s after he’d narrowly missed getting caught in a police raid. “I think I might join the fun, but I had to hit and run. Seems like I just can’t settle down, in a kinky part of town…”
Lloyd was already making frequent trips to Jamaica to cut dub, and was influential in its development after urging King Tubby to be more creative at the mixing-board. Coxsone didn’t just play good music, but tracks you couldn’t hear anywhere else. That’s what drew the crowds and kept the sound on top. It was renowned for playing dub-plates by artists like Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown and other legends and it remains an unforgettable experience, hearing dub-plates like those played through huge speaker boxes at volumes that make your knees tremble.
They were still at Colombo’s when Lloyd started producing songs for general release. Sir Coxsone also played every Wednesday night at the Four Aces in Dalston, where they hosted a talent show. After the teenage Louisa Marks won three weeks running Lloyd took her in the studio and made Caught You In A Lie – a seminal lovers’ rock tune that inspired a generation of other UK girl singers such as Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson. After he’d recorded the song, Lloyd gave it to the Safari label for distribution. EMI got involved and Safari soon had a massive hit on its hands. Unfortunately Lloyd didn’t get a penny – only another year’s jail sentence after he broke the label owner’s jaw!
He formed the Tribesman label on his release and issued King Of The Dub Rock before recording the likes of Fred Locks (Love And Only Love), Willy Stepper (Stormy Night) and Jimmy Lindsay, whose cover of the Commodores’ Easy is a reggae classic. Some of these tracks later appeared on 12 The Hard Way but Lloyd’s heart was still in the sound business, and he shelved the label as the eighties got underway.
I Roy had already pronounced Sir Coxsone “the baddest sound in the world” by then, and the description would hold for decades. One of their most famous residencies was at Bennett’s in Battersea Village, where the glass floor looked down on a tank of piranhas. They had SE London in their thrall, and every time they travelled outside the city or in Europe, sound-systems would spring up in their wake like seedlings. They won so many cups and trophies during that era, and proved implacable opponents in a sound clash. Sometimes they’d cut dubs just for a particular clash, and then never play them again. Once was enough and that’s it, game over.
“Losing is not in our vocabulary, at no time at all,” says Lloyd. “We’re not going to entertain thoughts about losing. That’s not in our script. We’re more positive. We’re coming to win and that’s it.”
The sound was so highly regarded in reggae circles that every major artist coming to England from Jamaica would head straight for wherever they were playing and reach for the mic. Josey Wales, Michael Palmer, Frankie Paul, Pinchers and Super Cat are just a few of the stars who’ve gathered round the Coxsone control tower. These dances were then widely circulated on cassette as sound-tapes, and spread Coxsone’s reputation far and wide.
Blacker Dread took over in the mid-eighties, at a time when Levi Roots (Mr. “Reggae Reggae Sauce”), Jack Radics, Daddy Freddie and Tenor Fly were regulars on the sound. Ten years later Lloydie resumed control, and it’s remained that way ever since. Whilst he’s an elder statesman with more than fifty years’ history behind him, he knows there’s still a place in the music for those who are young at heart and willing to embrace change. After several ill-fated reunions with past members Lloydie now has a new crew working alongside him, and who can help him replenish his legacy for reggae audiences of today.
Culture B and DJ Felix are well known to reggae fans on the south coast, where they’ve been performing at reggae events since the mid-nineties. Culture B is of Caribbean heritage although he grew up in West London, where he served his dancehall apprenticeship on sounds like Foundation, Prince Melody, One Love and I Spy. After honing his mic skills he studied electronics and became proficient in sound technology. He’s recently designed and built his own 70k sound-system, and has also worked with a cross-section of London-based reggae producers and soundmen, including Reggae Roast, Channel One, Abbashanti and the jungle specialist Jacky Murda.
DJ Felix is the son of a well-known reggae journalist, John Masouri. He too, was raised in a musical environment – a world that he’s since made his own by hosting club nights, promoting gigs, compiling albums for record companies and mastering the art of playing reggae music for every occasion. He’s currently running Global Beats, an artist agency and promotions company as well as a local Caribbean Food establishment.
Watching them play today, fifty years after starting out is an education. It’s dancehall in its truest state, before cursing and jingles gained precedence over music. The songs and rhythms just flow together, casting a spell over the audience as the journey unfolds.
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and at that time he was known as ‘Jasmine Joe’.
Those of you that were around the sound system scene in the eighties will remember the slightly extrovert mic man that ‘Jah Tubby’s’ had; that was Aba.
When Joe embraced the Rastafarian faith he adopted a new and more positive attitude and with his rediscovered faith a new name.
That name was and is ‘Aba Shanti-I’,pronounced ABA SHANTI-EYE not ONE.
So you see the name ‘Aba Shanti-I’ is not just the name of the sound system, it is the name of the person that is playing the sound.
Over the last 10 years Aba has been playing his sound, and the music created by his brother Blood Shanti on that sound, in small and large halls throughout this country and in the process has developed a following covering the widest spectrum of Jah’s humanity. Black/ White/ Asian /Young /The Not So Young /Rastafarians /Bald head /Dread.
All races. All creeds. All genders.
We don’t segregate, we integrate.
They come because an ‘Aba Shanti-I ‘ session is synonymous
with a vibe and a feeling.
No one at an Aba session is made to feel strange.
It is not about what you look like, it’s about who you are and what is in your heart!
People come to discard their worries and to lose themselves in the music and by doing so cast off
the mental shackles from their mind and the yolk from around their shoulders,find themselves, be at peace and be free.
The vibe that Aba generates has brought him to the attention of the media on a worldwide basis and he has been the subject of numerous articles in domestic and foreign magazines.
In the last 3 years we (Aba Shanti-I & Falasha recordings) have been the subject of 3 television programmes.
1 German ‘Deep in Dub’,1 French ‘Aba at Carnival’ and 1 domestic ‘Urban Rites’ Big Issue Film Unit Series.
This has resulted in ‘The Aba Shanti-I’ sound system and ‘The Shanti-ites’ live band being invited to tour Europe on a number of occasions to bring the vibe to a larger audience.
Everywhere we have played we have been greeted by enthusiastic patrons who have been so happy to be ‘experiencing the fullness’ of ‘Aba Shanti-I’ and ‘The Shanti-Ites’ live and direct and in their own backyard.