Bob Marley is one of the most celebrated and beloved figures on the planet. The term reggae is synonymous with the musical legacy he left behind. Digging deeply into that sacred catalog, the 19 remixes of legendary songs on Roots, Rock, Remixed (Rockr music) are taking the familiar and cherished and reintroducing it to sound systems worldwide.
Featuring a crop of the dance/electronica/breakbeat genre’s hottest producers – including Jimpster (Jamie Odell), Yes King (Rhys Adams & Mark Rae), Trio Elétrico (Boozoo Bajou), Fort Knox Five and DJ Spooky – Roots, Rock, Remixed balances that fine line of being respectful to the inimitable artist Nesta was, and using the bass-heavy, digital technologies available to us today. Nothing of the gorgeous, crackly analog originals (including classics like “One Love,” “Trenchtown Rock,” and “Lively Up Yourself”) is lost in translation.
“We thought there was a lack of quality Bob Marley remixes for the underground,” says David Hargis, co-producer and VP of A&R at rockr music, which spearheaded this project. “There have been a few high profile, mass market projects, but we wanted to present something for dance club audiences. There’s a lot of warmth and humanity in these songs. None sound too electronic or far from the analog originals. Everyone who worked on this project had deep respect for the music.”
Yet those drum beats and bass lines are completely modern, the studio refurbishing of skilled hands and ears. Cordovan’s hip-hop slick kick adds punch to the sing-along “One Love,” while Afrodisiac Sound System takes “Soul Shakedown Party” from ghetto blaster to megaclub experience. Jimpster’s excellent retelling of “400 Years,” considered crucial in the Peter Tosh library, makes this song of rebellion available for the four-on-the-floor audience. Through and through, the Wailers shine in every moment.
“We’re honored to work with such an important body of music,” says Jeff Daniel, the album’s co-producer and rockr music’s chief. “Marley’s sound was like no other and his indelible stamp can be heard all through these great new remixes. We took great care not to disrespect his legend.”
Adding to the sentiment, Hargis continues, “Some of the remixers stuck with the familiar song structure and layered modern elements into them, while others took samples of the originals and transformed them into something completely new. It was often astounding how creative these DJs & producers were.”