LawGiver The Kingson The Ruler Review

LawGiver The Kingson – The Ruler – Review

LawGiver The Kingson: The Ruler (Live Acoustic) Release Review by Mr Topple for

Not one to sit on his laurels, LawGiver The Kingson is back, but this time with something slightly different – a filmed ‘live’ performance of a track that he’s reinvented over the years.

The Ruler (Live Acoustic), featuring Yaksta and its accompanying video are available on YouTube from 1 April. LawGiver first released the track as a straight Sound System affair in 2011. Then, he reimagined it for his recent EP The Kingson From Kingston. Now, it’s been given the ‘live’ treatment.

First off, and the track itself is superb. The drums are interesting – seeing the snare follow a Roots pattern focusing on the two and four. But the kick is fairly syncopated, avoiding a one drop and instead rattling around each bar. There are occasional buzz rolls on the hi-hats at the end of some bars – and overall, the drum arrangement is a modern retelling of a Roots staple one drop. Additional percussion, including chimes and a shaker are well placed, as are some synth drums. The bass is imposing, deep and elongated, feeling quite Trap at points with some gentle distortion, as it rises up into the top-end of its register, getting grimier as it goes.

But there’s a distinct nod to Funky Soul – as a heavily wah-wah’d, bending, riffing and whining electric guitar moves in the background. Horns are still present, but this time they’ve been distorted and their arrangement changed – making for a grimy, unsettling sound. Keys run a double-time bubble rhythm, which drops in and out to create an evolving feel to the track. The backing vocals are brilliant – arranged in an almost choral manner with a fulsome and complex opening section, which then veer into Gospel-style improv at points.

Yaksta’s softer singjay-come-vocal is really pleasing. He works up and down his tenor register well, with good rhythmic variation and some great slips into his falsetto register at times. His voice places itself in perfect opposition to LawGiver’s more forthright and urgent performance – again, making excellent use of rhythmic stanzas across his singjay, honing in on an attractive vertical embouchure, while fleshing out a fulsome vocal on the chorus.

Meanwhile, the accompanying video is a pleasure to watch. Directed by Asha of Fareye Films, it was shot it at the legendary Cleveland “Clevie” Browne’s Up So Studios. The overall feel of the direction is of impromptu but also intimate. The camera work is fairly quick-fire, moving from shot-to-shot and ensuring that the whole ensemble is featured. It’s pleasing that the shots aren’t static, either – the natural movement of the camera adds to the intimate feel.

There’s good use of post-production effects, too. Overall, a Super 8mm film effect has been used at points along with the accompanying reel golden flashing. Fareye’s employing of split screen adds interest (and again ensures that all the musicians feature), as does their use of soft blur and camera shake. The low-fi, almost under-exposed colour palette works really well – and overall, Fareye has created a pleasing piece of visual work.

LawGiver and Yaksta clearly have a natural affinity – as you can almost see them bounce of each other’s energy throughout. They’re energetic, passionate and engaging performers to watch – especially their enthusiasm for each other’s performances and that of the musicians, too.

The Ruler (Live Acoustic) is an excellent overall piece of work from everyone involved. The track itself is rich and inventive, LawGiver and Yaksta give everything to their performances and Fareye’s film finishes off the offering very nicely. Strong works all round.

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LawGiver The Kingson The Ruler Review by Mr Topple / Pauzeradio PR Services (1st April 2022).

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