No Prisoners

  • Gaudi
  • Six Degree Records
  • 2010-09-20

Italian Daniele Gaudi has been fusing dub, world and nu-beat since the early 1980s and more recently has been enjoying a purple patch which has seen him nominated for a BBC World Music Award for his Dub Qawwali album collaborated with French musical inventor Michel Moglia which led to him performing to a crowd of 350,000 at The Coliseum in Rome and also worked with Grandmaster Flash among others. For No Prisoners he continues to pick an impressive array of talent to produce an album with reggae roots that draws on electronica, dubstep and breakbeat for an uplifting ride with political overtones.

Part upbeat dance fun, part carrying a serious message, opening track “Bad Boy Bass” is a rampant beginning of bouncy beats but where “There’s Enough” is easy to bop along to, the addition of the founder of Spearhead Michael Franti talking about protest marches and there being enough of the world for everyone to live in gives it a deeper meaning. Of course Gaudi retains a reggae sound throughout – and that’s renowned for never burdening itself with too much of a hard edge to combat issues as it’s just not in the genre’s nature – so Gaudi tends to draw on his guests to speak out over his quality tunes.

A fine fusion of reggae and breakbeat.

“Serious Ting” is all bass with a sly buzzing synth and “Back to Baia” is again an instrumental that sweeps you along with its summery sounds followed by breakbeat monster “Oud We Think We Are?” It’s only halfway through that Gaudi brings back the guests to allude to wider social problems, in this case Dr Isreal of the Easy Star All Stars complains there’s no time in the world anymore, causing the youth to lose their mind.

Gaudi takes his basslines into a house realm with “Barracudub” and bagpipes make an appearance on “Hotel Caledonia”, an odd accompaniment for a reggae tune that breaks down into dubstep at the halfway mark – a genre hybrid that almost works with the Highland quirk. “Strictly Goodness” enables reggae vocalist Kenny Knots to get busy on the mic over a heavy bassline while on “Brainwashed Again” Gaudi takes a more politicised angle as Danny Ladwa rhymes about the need to keep the original culture in ourselves and not be brainwashed by others. It leads into a final track produced by electro-break expert Dom Smart (aka Neurodriver) as he closes the album on an upbeat note. And that’s the beauty of Gaudi’s latest work – his twelfth album – he’s rarely a beat away from a dancefloor filler while also energising debate. This is a fine fusion of reggae and breakbeat.

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