NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE: alieNation (2004)

alieNation (2004) NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVEProduced, arranged and engineered by Louie Fleck
Associate Producers: Linley McKenzie, Laury Webb and Original Smurph
Recorded and mixed at The Shack, NYC
except Astor E. Campbell’s drums recorded at Tribal Funk Studio, engineered by Jason Rosen
Mastering: Alan Douches at West Westside Music
“Donkey Landing” and “Sheep Conference” images by GULDSVEINEN wilkinsonmedia.net (Monika Broz and A.R. Wilkinson)
Design by Sandra Imhoff and Louie Fleck
copyright ©2004 all rights reserved, published by Bungbilly Moosic, ASCAP

The CD is composed mostly of original songs by Louie Fleck that deal loosely and directly with the idea of alienation in the psychological sense and also with some science fiction ramifications! Of course, the music is heavily Reggae influenced, but it crosses over many stylistic boundaries and operates on several levels. Just like New York, there are numerous surprises lurking in every corner of this CD, but you have to hear it to understand!
This Reggatistical collection features the cream of the crop from NYC’s Reggae scene: Original Smurph, Marcia Davis (Outro), Brian “Milo” Lowe (The MOT!VES, Shaka Milo), Ronnie Butler (Israel Vibrations, Eek, Meditations), Charmaine DaCosta (Wirl-A-Girl), Maggie Roche (The Roches), Simone Gordon (Outro), Kalvin Kristi, Keith Johnston (Lisa-Lisa & Cult Jam), Papa Linley, Bela Fleck (banjo), Pamelia Kurstin (theremin), Laury Webb (Meditations, Eek) Pam Fleming (trumpet), Dan Levine (trombone), Jenny Hill (sax), and many others.
Since 1982, our weekly Reggae jam has brought together a diverse group of people who love to make Reggae music and all of it’s permutations. Everyone who performs on this CD has been part of that experience. Now it’s time for you to join us! Get a copy of this CD, you really don’t want to miss this one, seen!

SONGS:
1 – FUTURE FEELING (L. Fleck) 3:55
Lead Vocals: Original Smurph
BG Vocals: Charmaine DaCosta & Simone Gordon
Theremin: Pamelia Kurstin
Drums: David Delgado
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF
Additional Arrangement Ideas: Gene Clemetson

2 – MUSIC IS THE MESSAGE (L. Fleck, add. lyrics by A. Bernard) 4:04
Lead Vocals: Simone Gordon
Rap: Dub Poet Anton Bernard
Background Vocals: Original Smurph
Horns: Pam Fleming, Dan Levine, Jennifer Hill
Electric Banjo and Slidy Guitar: Bela Fleck
Drums: David Delgado
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF
Additional Arrangement Ideas: Bela Fleck

3 – I DON’T THINK SO (L Fleck) 4:23
Lead Vocals: Charmaine DaCosta
Background Vocals: Original Smurph
Guitars: Gene Clemetson
Pedal Steel: Robert Battaglia
Drums: David Delgado
Bass, Keys and Percussion: LF

4 – BETTER THAN IT WAS (L. Fleck) 3:49
Lead Vocals: Keith Johnston
Background Vocals: Simone Gordon
Guitars: Ronald Butler
Drums: David Delgado
Bass, Keys and Percussion: LF

5 – THINK (L. Fleck, w/ add. lyrics by  A. Bernard) 3:18
Lead and BG Vocals: Original Smurph
Rap: Dub Poet Anton Bernard
Background Vocals: Simone Gordon
Bass, Guitar, Drum Programming & Keys: LF

6 – SHE MIGHT SAY YES (ASK HER TO DANCE) (L. Fleck) 3:11
Lead Vocals: Marcia Davis
Rap: Milo (Brian Lowe)
Background Vocals: Original Smurph
Organ: Laury Webb
Drums: Astor E. Campbell
Percussion: Papa Linley McKenzie
Horns: P. Fleming, D. Levine, D. Wilensky
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF

7 – I DON’T BELIEVE YOU (L. Fleck) 4:04
Lead Vocals: Original Smurph
BG Vocals: Simone Gordon and Smurph
Cello: Paul Brantley
Bass, Guitar, Drum Programming & Keys: LF
Trumpet: Pam Fleming
Trombone: Dan Levine

8 – UFO (L. Fleck) 4:59
Lead Vocals: Kalvin Kristi
Background Vocals: Maggie Roche
Horns: P. Fleming, D. Levine, D. Wilensky
Theremin: Jason Kessler
Bass, Guitar, Drum Programming & Keys: LF

9 – NUCLEAR WAR (Rich N Famous, L. Fleck and B. Lowe) 3:38
Lead and BG Vocals: Charmaine DaCosta
Rap: Milo (Brian Lowe)
Drums: Astor E. Campbell
Horns: Pam Fleming, Dan Levine
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF

10 – OPEN ROAD (B. Lowe & L. Fleck) 4:16
Lead Vocals: Brian “Milo” Lowe
Background Vocals: Charmaine DaCosta
Guitars: Ronald Butler
Drums: David Delgado
Theremin: Jason Kessler
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF

11 – I’M NOT YOUR DONKEY ANYMORE (L. Fleck) 4:10
Lead Vocals: Keith Johnston
Rap: Papa Linley McKenzie
Background Vocals: Maggie Roche
Drums: David Delgado
Horns: P. Fleming, D. Levine, J. Hill
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF
Additional Arrangement Ideas: Paul Brantley

12 – HARD TO FIND (L. Fleck) 3:54
Lead Vocals: Simone Gordon
Background Vocals: Original Smurph
Theremin: Pamelia Kurstin
Cello: Paul Brantley
Horns: Pam Fleming, Dan Levine, Jennifer Hill
Drums: Astor E. Campbell
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF

13 – I CAN’T REMEMBER, I CAN’T FORGET (L. Fleck) 4:09
Lead Vocals: Original Smurph
Background Vocals: Maggie Roche
Glassian Ha’s: Simone Gordon
Pedal Steel: Robert Battaglia
Drums: Astor E. Campbell
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF

14 – LONG DRIVE HOME (L. Fleck and B. Lowe) 4:59
Lead Vocals: Simone Gordon
Rap: Milo (Brian Lowe)
Background Vocals: Original Smurph
Trumpet: Pam Fleming
Trombone: Dan Levine
Bass, Guitar, Drum Programming & Keys: LF

15 – STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (L. Fleck) 5:03
Lead Vocals: Marcia Davis
Background Vocals: Original Smurph
Cello: Paul Brantley
Trumpet: Meg Montgomery
Drums: Astor E. Campbell
Bass, Guitar & Keys: LF
Thanks to Paul Vlachos for the train!

1/13/04
The following great review has appeared as the featured CD on www.SpunoutCentral.com

::Embarrassingly Poor Jamaican Accent On::
Let’s spice tings up a beet at Spunout Central, mahn. How about a little reggae to get ya goin??
:: Embarrassingly Poor Jamaican Accent Off::
Commercial reggae has been intolerable since Shabba Ranks (publicized as the Jamaican Bobby Brown) hit American radio stations in 1990. A complete bastardization of the musical form progressively harassed the public with the successes of the irrelevant Shaggy and obnoxious Sean Paul. When Bob Marley lit up reggae, it became a culture; these artists reduced it to a style impotently sewn with sex-laden content. Back on 12/10/03, AlieNation was collected. Procrastinating, the release intended for 2004, collected dust in my prospective review vault. The NYC Reggae Collective groups 7 lead vocalist on 15 tracks. This compilation introduces many different sub-genre sounds and vocalists or toasters and is so cohesive (based primarily on Louie Fleckss broad yet cohesive vision) . Most impressively, modern templates complement with traditional roots reggaess island bounce, which balances sincerity, sarcasm and barely restrained anger. Simone Gordon’s velvety vocals and Original Smurph [Bob Marley clone (with a silkier croon)] share the podium as the NYC Reggae Collectivess consistently best performers; both artists front appear on three separate tracks and appear on others. Fleck’s production and arrangements expertly promote the above-referenced sonic hybrid of technological enhancements with a backbone that righteously pivots to the past. Grade: A-
1/22/04
Small Axe Reggae Website http://www.rayx.freeserve.co.uk/

NYC Reggae Collective – Alien Nation – Benchwarrent Records – CD
Rock Reggae as been around since the early seventies. The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Police, 10 CC, Led Zep. All tried to bring rock and reggae together. It didn’t work – reggae is built around the bass and drum – even when you add things to it – it always comes back to that basic DNA. Still you can’t blame a man for trying, and Louie Fleck’s production work stands alongside that of all of the above. And his heart is in the right place on this project. And on the Mot!ves Project – which was the first chapter in this work. He’s trying something new? – a step backward possibly to go forward – and if you like reggae with rock in it – this is the best example to date. Very interesting artwork as well!!!
1/22/04
Here is a bizarre web based translation of a German review that I think is favorable! (LF)
www.nuff-vibez.de/records2003/body_records2003.html

The last album conception 2003 is one condemns beautiful roots production made of New York. The NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE presents us with “alieNation” a very varied album, as one gets to hear it unfortunately rarely. Came out the NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE from the New Yorker THE of MOTIVE PROJECT (more under records 2001 ). Now the family grew, which naturally comes the quality of the album to property. Beside the good Reggae -, Ska and Dub Tunes, ensure the straight numerously represented Vocalists for the fact that “alieNation” is so fat. Gefeatured become the Singer ORIGINAL SMURPH, SIMONE GORDON, MARCIA DAVIS, DUB POET ANTON, CHARMAINE, BRIAN “MILO” LOVE, KEITH JOHNSON, MAGGIE ROCHE, KALVIN KRISTI and DAD LINLEY. Produced (producers: Louie mark) became the album completely independently and without any major Deals, to buy can their it with Amazon or directly over the homepage of the NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE.

Here it is in German…
Die letzte Album-Vorstellung 2003 ist eine verdammt schoene Roots Produktion aus New York. Das NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE praesentiert uns mit �alieNation� ein sehr abwechslungsreiches Album, wie man es leider selten zu hoeren bekommt. Hervorgegangen ist das NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE aus dem New Yorker THE MOTIVES PROJECT (mehr unter records 2001). Jetzt ist die Familie gewachsen, was natuerlich der Qualitaet des Albums zu Gute kommt. Neben den guten Reggae-, Ska und Dub-Tunes, sorgen naemlich gerade die zahlreich vertretenen Vocalists dafuer, dass alieNation so fett ist. Gefeatured werden die Singer ORIGINAL SMURPH, SIMONE GORDON, MARCIA DAVIS, DUB POET ANTON, CHARMAINE, BRIAN (MILO) LOVE, KEITH JOHNSON, MAGGIE ROCHE, KALVIN KRISTI und PAPA LINLEY. Produziert (Producer: Louie Fleck) wurde das Album voellig unabhaengig und ohne irgendwelche Major-Deals, kaufen koennt ihr es bei Amazon oder direkt ueber die Homepage vom NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE.
1/28/04
http://www.jahworks.org/music/NYCReggaeCollective.htm www.jahworks.org
Review by Ted Boothroyd:
I hope you can afford the commitment that “alieNation” requires, because it will keep you busy. First there’s the music, 70:30 worth; or 73:30 if you count the three minutes of silence before the last hidden track. Then you’ll want to play the whole album again, and yet again, so already were at over three and a half hours of your valuable time. For some perverse reason, the small-print lyrics face north, south, east and west, so all that turning and reading take time too. Contemplating the strange and beautiful ugliness of the inner-fold art isn’t an instantaneous thing either, especially when you try to link it (and the front and back cover illustrations) to the lyrics, an unavoidable temptation. Still with me? Next, you’ll want to get on the Web to find out more about the creative people involved, and when you do you’ll discover various permutations and combinations of them and their projects (including New York City’s critically acclaimed THE MOT!VES), all of which involves the old time factor. Your Google search on them will take several minutes to explore satisfactorily, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So by now it’s bedtime, and youlll have to save your fourth listen until tomorrow, which is a shame. As a few people will now realize, given the above band reference, the amazing talents of Louie Fleck come to the fore in this album. He did most of the song writing, then produced, arranged and engineered to boot. Nevertheless, NYC Reggae Collective is a nicely unified band: the sound from one track to another engages and coheres, despite the variety of lead singers involved, seven, if I counted right. The musicianship is impeccable; if you decide to have a banjo player as a guest, for example, who better to choose than Bela Fleck?
From track one’s plaintive lead vocal, optimistic lyrics, and warm warbley wahwah instrumentation, through to the danceable and dance-themed eight minutes of the hidden track 16, it’s a multifaceted and enchanting journey. A major commitment on your part, sure, but I can’t think of many more enjoyable uses of your precious time than becoming thoroughly aleiNated with this album.

2/23/04
Here’s a review from a website that reviews all kinds of “underground music”
www.Neo-Zine.com/

NYC Reggae Collective:alieNation – Festive jangly reggae lit up with electronic sounds and a funky vibe. The album enlists multiple vocalists, all with plenty of statements to make. Every song could inspire the dance floor to flood. Great for parties where you want a sunny island feel to go along with the salsa dip and Doritos. Easy on the ears. You can get this at www.amazon.com or www.CDBaby.com.

3/7/04
www.MuzikReviewz.com
NYC Reggae Collective – CD: ‘alieNation’ review by Thrill (Matthew Kolb):
Relax a little bit, let you hair down, and ease into a listen to alieNation by the NYC Reggae Collective.Released in 2004 on New York-based Benchwarrant Records, this unit features many members of other bands collaborating together to create a blend of reggae and ska that listeners can use as a form of calm reflection.Through the use of alternating vocalists and mainly horn, guitar, and percussion instruments, this group provides us with a light, laid back, but intelligent musical work.Written and produced almost entirely by Louie Fleck (brother of Bela Fleck from Bela Fleck and The Flecktones), all the songs on this album can be found on the same musical plane, while the lyrical content varies from track to track.

The album begins with a motivational song entitled: Future Feeling. This is an inspiring song in which the message suggests that we let go of previous failures and focus on what is to come. At the beginning of this track, an introspective Original Smurph sings “I’ve got a future feeling, and the past can’t stop me now.” He continues to encourage the listener to look beyond the anguish and sorrow of previous days, erase those heavy thoughts, and look to the brighter days and times down the road of life.

The content of the fifth track: Think, touches on many topics. This time, Original Smurph attempts to spark some thought and supply us with vocal advice. Some of the issues he touches on include nature, friendship, honesty, the state of our nation, and race, as in his line “Think black, think white.”

Next, more guidance comes in the form of: She Might Say Yes (Ask Her To Dance). Marcia Davis singing explains the feelings and rituals involved in courting and wooing a woman. She suggests that a man should go ahead and try his luck, because his female love interest may reciprocate his feelings. Late in this song, Brian “Milo” Lowe lends his compassionate rap, “She might say yes, she might say no/She might say come and rock your lover easy and slow//She might say no, she might say yes/She might open up her heart and confess/About the love between a man and a woman, not the love between a boy and a girl/About how love, it makes me uneasy, but there’s not enough in my world.”

Another musical highlight: UFO, features the liveliest and best production on the album. The electric guitar, horns, and piano all form a toe-tapping track that supports a political message. While the low bass line drives this song, lead vocalist, Kalvin Kristi, verbalizes a high degree of political mistrust and describes the secretive hold the government places on members of society. Louie Fleck’s stirring lyrics in the final verse encourage people to take up arms and protect themselves before all of their rights are suppressed.

Following up that message comes: Nuclear War;; a humorous parody about the continued discussions and plans some higher level bureaucrats have for in investing in and starting this global catastrophe. Along with a strong brass section, Charmaine DaCosta’s voice delivers the self-explanatory chorus, “Let’s have a nuclear war/I want a nuclear war/You need a nuclear war/We need a nuclear war.” Towards the end of this song, DaCosta reflects the scary thoughts of the decision makers by claiming that a war would be “fun and bring everyone closer.”

A subtly angry piece contained on this album is given away by its title; I’m Not Your Donkey Anymore. From a quick glance at the list of song titles on the back cover, this track will grab any music lover’s attention more than any other. Keith E. Johnston takes the vocal lead here, singing largely about life’s new beginnings, in areas like employment, residency, and relationships. Again singing Fleck’s words, Johnston’s voice describes how well he is treated by his new employer, as he tells his former boss, “So I guess you can go to hell.” A song everyone can relate to, the lyrical content celebrates the relief that is felt when tough times have passed and positive changes have been made for the better. A listing for Linden, California’s Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue included on the in-lay card serves as a knowledgeable and conscientious sidebar to this song, as well.

A parallel to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 classic film, on this album: Strangers On A Train serves as a sharp, appropriate metaphor for the distance and ambivalence that can often manifest itself in relationships. On this song, Marcia Davis singing, backed by Original Smurph and Maggie Roche, runs through an entire bond that a woman and a man once had. Fleck’s lyrics in the first verse make mention of a crush as the beginning, and the second verse presents the tension and insecurity that builds. By the final verse, the relationship has completely derailed and the two have parted ways.

alieNation provides the listener with other memorable moments and great lyrical concepts, as on: Hard To Find, and I Can’t Remember, I Can’t Forget, as well as two hidden bonus tracks that are sure to please the thoughtful listener. In full, though, this offering from the NYC Reggae Collective allows the listener to experience a calm, yet meaningful musical way to unwind; something we as a societal collective can never have too much of.

4/4/04
Our most important review so far, has come in from THE BEAT magazine
in their Reggae Update section (Vol 23 #2 with Burning Spear on the cover)
by Chuck Foster

NYC Reggae Collective mindmelds science fiction and Reggae on AlieNation (Benchwarrant).
Opening with the thematic “Future Feeling” and including cuts like “Better Than It Was” and “UFO,” you might think they’re a one-gimmick band, but actually they mix up a tasty Reggae sound open to a broad range of concepts. Other cuts include “Open Road” “I’m Not Your Donkey Anymore” and “Music Is The Message.” Goodtime Reggae with lots of different vocal input – singers, djs, even a dub poet: a definite collective. The band sounds great with special effects including a theremin (not an instrument you hear a lot in Reggae, but certainly in keeping with the mystic tradition of Pablo and others). Pop elements that show a knowledge of the Beatles or at least 10CC help lift this one into a category all its own.

4/4/04
Review by Tom Carroll , Dayton City Paper
NYC Reggae Collective: AlieNation

NYC Reggae Collective is the brainchild of Louie Fleck, who wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on this disc as well as producing and adding the backing vocals. alieNation is a unique blend of well-played reggae rhythms and pop jazz-influenced vocals overlaid with unusual instrumentation, including pedal steel, cello and theremin. The CD features many of the same personnel as The Motives Project, another Fleck-produced CD from just a couple of years ago. Several different vocalists share lead duties, including Marcia Davis, Keith E. Johnston, Simone Gordon, Original Smurph, Charmaine DaCosta, Brian Milo Lowe and Dub Poet Anton. Despite the use of so many singers, the CD has a very cohesive feel, although the overuse of certain vocal effects distracts somewhat from the individual vocalists distinctive expression. The lyrics reflect the odd sense of humor of the writer/producer. This works well on cuts such as UFO and I’m Not Your Donkey Anymore, but some songs, such as the upbeat Nuclear War are a little over the top, lyrically speaking. Fleck handles bass, keys, guitar and drum programming, and is ably assisted on several tracks by drummers David Delgado and Astor E. Campbell. Other notable contributors are former Burning Spear trumpeter Pam Fleming (who, along with Jennifer Hill and Dan Levine, adds some sweet horn parts to several cuts) and banjo legend Bela Fleck, who plays electric banjo and slidy guitar (thats what the credits say) on the cut Music Is The Message. This excellent song combines a driving reggae rhythm with bright, pop vocals and positive, uplifting lyrics. Other standout cuts include Better Than It Was, Open Road and UFO. While this music is not for reggae purists, it should be appealing to fans of eclectic pop music.

5/3/04
Here’s a review from England’s : Paradox One – RECOMMENDED RELEASES
http://www.stuarthamilton.f9.co.uk/paradox/recommended.html

NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE- ALIENATION
This is reggae like you’ve never heard before and will appeal to lovers of other genres as well. Great songs, interesting arrangements and instrumentation, songs about UFOs and nuclear war- a stunning package!
5/3/04
http://www.myglobalsound.com/
MyGlobalSound.com is a web site that features our music and
this month, in their downloadable “magazine” (PDF) here is an interview with Louie Fleck!

MGS Magazine MAY 2004 issue # 1 By: Deh Cruzan
This month was a rare treat for me. I got to interview an artist from one of my favorite genres of music, Reggae. Well I would have loved to hit the road on this one, but unfortunately that just wasn’t possible this time around. So I had to settle for the long distance interview instead. Better luck next time. This group features a large collection of seasoned musicians combining to produce a soulful blend of melodies. Enough of my babbling here’s the interview.

MGS: Who or what makes up the NYC Reggae Collective?
FLECK: After my previous band THE MOT!VES broke up, I put out a CD of music from that band as filltered through my production process. THE MOTIVES PROJECT: so much more CD is a studio album that was rather experimental compared to what has been happening in Reggae and Ska. While I was happy with the result to some extent, I felt that it would be possible to make a CD that was more human sounding and easier to absorb. So I started recording some Reggae drummers playing to a click track and built the songs around more traditional Reggae drumming. I played most of the bass lines live. When it came to overdubbing, I looked for unusual instruments like Theremin, Pedal Steel, Banjo and Cello and tried to find ways for them to be integrated without getting what I call the “Tubular Bells” effect. The music arrangements are dense and different, but they are rooted in a classic Reggae foundation.

The CD features vocals by Original Smurph, Simone Gordon, Dub Poet Anton, Milo, Marcia Davis, Keith Johnston, Maggie Roche, Kalvin Kristi, and Papa Linley. There are guest performances by such notable instrumentalists:
Ronnie Butler – guitar (Meditations, Israel Vibration, Eek-A-Mouse & countless others) Gene Clemetson – Guitar (Burning Spear, Meditations, many others) Pamelia Kurstin, Jason Kessler – Theremin, Pam Fleming – trumpet (Burning Brass), Bela Fleck – banjo & guitar (Flecktones), Dan Levine – trombone (Might Be Giants, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra!) and many others. There was a lot of interaction among the group about the shape of the CD. As mixing neared completion, we listened to the music as a group and everyone had a say in the final product. So there really is a collective aspect to the project.

MGS: What instruments do you play?
FLECK: I play bass, guitar, keyboards and percussion with limited ability, but I sing very badly!

MGS: How did you come up with the name NYC Reggae Collective?
FLECK: While working on this album, I was tossing around a few ideas with the other musicians and NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE seemed to be the most true. However, since the recording group features my songs at this point I sometimes think it might be better to have a different name like: The Donkeys! Perhaps I’ll do that in the future!

MGS: What do you think of Dancehall music?
FLECK: I love Dancehall music from the 70ss and 80ss. I want to like the current stuff, but it is often alienating because it is hard to understand the lyrics. I also find current Dancehall to be a Jamaican version of Rap, so there is less melody and the arrangements and production are sometimes less interesting.

MGS: Would you ever make a Dancehall album?
FLECK: That would be an interesting idea. I wrote a Dancehall song called: “Everybody Gets What They Deserve” that appeared on THE MOT!VES PROJECT: so much more CD, and I’d like to do more of that eventually. But lately, I’ve been writing more introspective love songs, that seem to reflect my current state of mind.

MGS: Which other artists do you listen to? Who inspires you?
FLECK: Believe it or not, I’ve been listening to a lot of current Pop music like Britney Spears, Madonna, No Doubt, even Janet Jackson because I have recently become a Spinning Fitness instructor! So I need to find music for classes that is high energy and motivating. I also actively look for other Reggae that is made independently. I also love all types of Brazilian music. I am always reading biographies of musicians that I have been inspired by; I guess I want to know what makes these people tick. Right now I am reading a biography of Bob Dylan. But there are things other than music that inspire me. I am becoming interested in the nature of Power, Hindu mythology.

MGS: Who in the industry would you like to work with?
FLECK: I love working with the musicians and vocalists that are part of NYC REGGAE COLLECTIVE. Also, I have always wanted to work with Gregory Isaacs. It would be great to work with some of the originators and innovators of Reggae, of course. I would love to do something with Bjork! The best thing is working with people who I really like as people, as well as what they can do musically.

MGS: How did you first hear of MyGlobalSound.com?
FLECK: I am always looking around on line for opportunities to get the music out to people and MyGlobalSound seems like a bunch of really together people!

MGS: Where do you envision your musical career 5, 10 years from now?
FLECK: I would love to be touring with a band that plays my songs to a large appreciative audience. I would like to be able to experiment with some of the musical ideas I haven’t had time for. I think I would enjoy scoring for film.

MGS: Do see MyGlobalSound playing an integral in your musical future?
FLECK: It is my experience that promotion is the hardest part of the music business. Anybody or group that has integrity and is sincere about working with our music is a welcome partner.

MGS: Do you write your own music?
FLECK: Writing and arranging songs is my main thing. It is incredibly exciting to hear a new song come to life. My writing process usually (but not always) begins with the lyrics. I have studied lyric writing for musical theater and there is a lot of craft that can be applied to scansion and rhyming structure along with making sure that the message or story is clear. Right now I want the audience to understand and identify with what I meant or felt when I was writing the song. I really think it is important to eliminate the distractions that obscure the message. Then I try to write a melody in my head and when there is something there, I go to my guitar or keyboard to figure out some fundamental chord structure. Here the chords sometimes influence the melody. Then I go to the computer and record the chords to a simple drumbeat, letting the melody evolve. From here I try out a few instrumentation ideas that lead me to a bass line. The song continues to evolve, as I am always playing with the melody and lyrics until and even after I record a scratch vocal. I think it is possible to keep an evolutionary approach to songwriting and often return to songs I wrote ten or fifteen years ago and rewrite them to reflect my current state. Then there are other times when I hear a groove or bass line and let it lead me to a song.

MGS: What do you want people to think of when they listen to your music?
FLECK: I want people to connect to the lyrics. I try to make them accessible, meaningful and honest. Sometimes it is hard to keep a lyric honest when trying to apply craft. I realize that my music is somewhat dense and requires several listening, but I hope that more will be revealed with every listening, just like my favorite songs and recordings.

MGS: Is music your full-time occupation? If not do you intend for it to be?
FLECK: I have a lot of jobs. I am a freelance video designer and I teach at The School for Visual Arts here in NYC. I would love to find a way to make music pay the bills, but I still have to pay some of the bills and feed the cat!

MGS: I noticed that you have a wide range of artists on your CD, How did that come about?
FLECK: For the last five years, we have had a continuous weekly Reggae jam at my place in Tribeca. Many different people with a spectrum of experience pass through regularly. As I began to plan this album, I wanted to work with my friends and bring many flavors to the party. I was looking for a way to provide variety and unity at the same time. That is why most of the background vocals are performed by people who sang leads as well. The same people are all over the CD in different roles.

MGS: If I were to call your music traditional reggae or roots music, would that be a fair classification? If not how would you classify your music?
FLECK: Our music doesn’t fall into the traditional Reggae or Roots classification, but of course it is the major influence. It would probably be best to call our music Song Oriented American Reggae. (END)
7/21/04
http://www.shedivine.com/english/profiles/pop_soul_reggae.htm

“alienation” CD 2004
The music: featuring 10 singers and 14 musicians from different bands; simply direct and sincere classic reggae, but with thousand details, atmospheres (some really alien and strange), floating electric guitars in the background and an excellent, modern and commercial pop production. Contagious and immediate, with all those enthusiast metals and the sinuous vocal effluviums; excellently arranged mixture of reggae, ska and dub of instantaneous and fast effect and change, rich in sonorities and influences. Total equilibrium between tidy commerciality and good musician and vocal ship (the collective and individual horns arrangements in the background are marvelous). Only problem: very punctual rap parts; some magnificent and creative (f.e.: the great “Think”); others slightly vulgar; and maybe some of the last tracks become a little monotonous in the reggae schemes presented. Anyway, very good. GLOBAL GRADE:

8/10 – Review by Héctor Noble Fernández Here is a review of THE MOT!VES PROJECT: so much more that was wriiten by someone who was selling the CD on ebay!

THE MOTIVES PROJECT forges new directions in Reggae with it’s unique approach to recording, performing and writing. Diversity is evident with lead vocalists: Milo (Barbados), Rebecca (Iowa) and Marcia (Liverpool, UK). Additionally, this CD features guest instrumentalists: Ronnie Butler – guitar (Meditations, Eek -A-Mouse, Israel Vibration), Bela Fleck – banjo & guitar (Flecktones), Pam Fleming – trumpet (Burning Brass), Dan Levine – Trombone (Might Be Giants, Ray Charles & Frank Sinatra) and many others. This CD contains deep grooves, psychedelic electronica and damn good songwriting. Be advised, several songs include strong language.

“So Much More” indeed. There is so much more music packed into this album than most other reggae efforts you’ll hear, you may be taken aback initially. You not only get every major style of reggae — roots, lovers rock, dub, dancehall, ska — but you also get rock, pop, jazz, and avant-garde electronica/New Wave/cat fetish music. Some of this melding of styles works better than others, and a large part of its appeal will likely depend on how much you, as a reggae fan, enjoy chocolate in your peanut butter, as the case may be. I generally enjoy a unique sound, but I still prefer things to stay within the confines of traditional reggae, so lounge music like “Too Far” and the overtly rock guitars on “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” “Cowboy,” and “Love of My Life” are wasted on me. Still, you have to hand it to the New York-based group The Motives Project; they have an uncompromising, quirky sound that will help them stand out from the pack. Part of that quirkiness is their dark sense of humor, epitomized by “Cat” — in which the lyrics are sung from the viewpoint of a feline — and “Better Off Dead” — sung by someone considering various ways to kill herself. As with many “jokey” songs, however, these tunes have a relatively short shelf life. The humor on So Much More, a bit similar to that of The Toyes, can actually be a bit distracting, as on “Better Off Dead,” where the silly lyrics overshadow the funky roots riddim. Maybe it’s just me, but I also get distracted when a reggae singer sounds American. I don’t know if I recommend faking a Jamaican patois or not, but at times the vocals here — sung by a male singer, Milo, and a female singer, Rebecca — sound just a bit too “white bread” for my taste. Despite its drawbacks, So Much More has its share of strong tunes. The group seems to be at its best and at its most comfortable when performing ska, as on “Time My Love” and “Someone Else,” but they’re also quite proficient at good ol’ fashioned roots like the Marley-esque “Chicken” and even I have to admit liking the non-traditional funk/R&B sound of the “Cowboy” remix and the old school electronica sound of “Catch Them.”

Here’s a great review of THE MOT!VES PROJECT: so much more
http://www.stateofemergency.net
This synth-pop based reggae band offer a generous 19 tracks of quality breaks, beats and funky guitars. Ok, so it sounds a bit over-egged and fragmented at times, but it’s precocious and daring, and you won’t hear anything else like it this year. The male-female vocal sharing that soars above the dubby bass and complex programming suggests a fine chemistry, and the horns that frequently punctuate the frenetic grooves are a highlight to the band’s formula. Apart from the unfortunate fact that the cool and kooky ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ is torn apart somewhat by the rushed and immature bouncings of ‘I’ve Been Up and Down’, the album is on the whole pure quality, and the band must be forgiven for the odd dodgy track. After all, they’ve quite bravely put out almost twice as much material as most artists would on your average length LP, and tracks such as ‘Cat’ and ‘Cowboy (check out the Papa Linley remix) make up for the album’s shortcomings a thousand fold. The latter is a finely produced piece of rock guitar-haunted fare, slowing the band’s pace a little and settling into a fine groove with politically charged lyrics: ‘You are a cowboy living by the gun/How can you take away what belongs to no one?’ The brilliant ‘Cat’ boasts pizzicato horns over choppy rhythms and brooding sound effects before breaking down into a half-time crawl. Sung from the point of view of a cat, the words are extremely witty and reveal the band’s potential to be not only fine musicians, but also excellent wordsmiths. ‘Freeman’s’ piano leaps and uplifting beats are offset by an incredibly dark bass which rumbles throughout. This track is the most schizophrenic affair, also boasting some beautiful vocals and a hugely melodic chorus. The intense ‘Catch Them’ has a vaguely similar air, swamped in effects (perhaps too swamped) but nonetheless extremely interesting listening. The ‘Projects central appeal lies in their chameleonic sound, flitting from one style to the next, and never losing the listener’s interest. This truly runs up against the sameness and cliché ridden style of an overwhelming number of bands out there. The sound too may occupy a dangerously 80s place on occasion, but it is constantly redeemed and refreshed by its colour and pure originality. Sunny, danceable, almost festival in their atmospherics, they will go a long way. Standout Tracks: ‘Cat’, ‘Cowboy’

July 21st 2004 – Reviewer: Amy McGill Might Say Yes (Ask Her To Dance) has been included on the CD compilation: Oasis Pop Vol.2 released July 2004. This compilation will be distributed to many radio DJs and other music industry people.

7/26/04
Here’s a great review from by way of England’s Stone Premonitions: The review is from the current issue of Feedback Magazine in the UK (issue 79). The mag deals with rock/progressive/psychedelic/alternative/underground music and is a superb read. The reviewer is a great guy called Peter Jolly. No e-mail address but his mailing address is: 46 Lion Wood Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 4PT, UK. It
would be well worth sending him more music. By the way, Radio Six: www.radiosix.com have really been plugging away at your releases. You’re up on Alchemical Radio again soon too. Good luck with everything. – All Best Wishes, Tim & Terri~B.

A rather unusual present from Stone Premonition is this reggae album, as I had not previously associated the label with this style of music. The band name says it all – a collective of reggae musicians from New York have produced an album the like of which we seldom hear today, with the sound harking back to the classic 70’s period which produced bands like Misty In Roots, Steel Pulse and Aswad. It might seem strange to compare this US album to Brittish reggae bands, but that is the very sound they are producing – a softer version of the genre than exponents like Burning Spear or The Abyssinians, but still more authentic than a lot of pop/reggae that is around. ‘Future Feeling’ sounds like it could have come out in the 70’s, with its loping beat and warm vocals. ‘She Might Say Yes’ is a good time tune in the style of the aforementioned Aswad, and ‘I’m Not Your Donkey Anymore’ has an effective horn section, adding to the authenticity of the sound. One of the few times the modern world makes itself heard is the rock guitar solo on ‘Open Road’, but for the most part, they try to stay as real as they can. I don’t pretend to be an expert on reggae, but I have enough albums to know what I like, and this one more than stands up to anything I own.

11/8/04
http://www.serge.org/MusicMorsels/2004_09/albums.htm

NYC Reggae Collective – AlieNation – review by Mark E. Waterbury
It’s hard sometimes to create reggae without the inevitable comparisons to Bob Marley or Peter Tosh, and yes, you can tell this act respects those roots. There is something in the music though that is more, well, New York than let’s say Kingston. It seems to have an almost cosmopolitan flair, while still retaining the lively island vibe. Unique vocal work with hip hop and soul subtleties and interesting instrumental embellishments kick in some extra seasoning.

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