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Music Review

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Artist: Beam Up
Label: BBE
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 March 2015

Brian May (a.k.a. Beam Up), incorporates the dubwise qualities of rhythm, space and bass to what is a variety of genres. Onboard with May are a diverse trio of vocalists, each of whom brings unique qualities to the project: Terrence Alfonso Bowry, a UK-born Canadian national whose experience has mostly been gained on Shanghai’s jazz and blues scene (where he worked alongside artists of the calibre of Wynton Marsalis) brings an ear for sophisticated harmony and improvisation; Jornick Joelick, a French-Guyanan rastaman with a big voice bringing an earthy, rootsical quality; and Katya Tasheva, a polyglot singer with what May calls ‘sublime frequencies’ whose background spans traditional (including world-music mavericks and former Beam Up compadres Rotfront), pop and drum-and-bass.

Innerstand represents a musical journey that references King Tubby’s Kingston, Ja. and Rhythm and Sound’s Berlin, but also the Balkans, Japan and Australasia (and more); as well as Pablo, Glen Brown and The Skatalites, influences such as Prince suffuse the set, which sometimes takes on the feel of a version excursion, as May’s riddims nod to the classics of the past, subliminal echoes of the great dub tradition, though it’s more usually in the form of ‘inspiration’ than carefully worked out covers.

It's hard to argue with the results, May has crafted some timeless tracks here with a playful sound that's hard not to instantly fall in love with. Vocally the album is flawless, not to mention diverse in sound from track to track.

For fans of dub, reggie and the chill out sounds of a magical era long since passed... Innerstand will take you on a magical trip.


Nick Smithson

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