Subajah Architect Review.
When it comes to authentic roots reggae Subajah is certainly defining himself in that category, and this latest album release does more than prove that to be true. A solid mix of deep, meaningful, message lyrics, performed excellently and accompanied with incredible musical instruments, all produced to the highest of quality.
It’s easy to hear that real instruments are used to create this masterpiece that is Architect. The structure and composition help to create a vibration that I feel, is what roots reggae is all about, upliftment with truth, rights, faith and real life experiences.
The album title track graces us as the first track, “Architect”. Given that, this track is pure fire and it stands good for a feel for the musical treat that the rest of the album is. With a combination of Subajah’s vocal talent, which in itself is unique, coupled with a laid back and clever beat which makes for a formidable combination and will have you singing a long in no time at all. The dub version of “Architect” features the well known Addis Pablo, son of the legendary Augustus Pablo, and will instantly have you pressing repeat on your music player to listen again and again. Exactly the sort of music we like to feature here, on Pauzeradio.com.
“Farmers” is placed next on the album, slightly picking up the pace a touch but keeping the live and rootsy edge to the production and lyrical content. Subajah teaches another life lesson. This track is accompanied by some beautiful backing vocals and an array of instruments and again, like the whole album, is true to the roots reggae tag. Farmers also has a dub version that comes with this album.
Taking it down a notch, to a laid back and swinging sound with the song “Good Morning”. In true Subajah style this track is not just moving, but has a beautiful feel to it, covering the struggles of life. Not just motivating but also an inspiring guide on how to progress in life, through troubles and strife, with the strength of the most high. The riddim track has a patterned bass and smooth, slow bounce to it, holding firm that true sound and defining the feel of this album. We now know that the high standard of the first couple of tracks is evident in Architect, consistently, not just with the lyrical content but also the production and presence of live instruments.
Another treat we are given, with a slight different edge is the track “Afrika Is Callin” which features Youssouf Dibate. A sweet melodic combination, of which suits the message we are absorbing. A powerful mix with these two vocal talents. The live instruments are soft, ear pleasing and create such a dreamy, soft and hypnotic feel. This not just shows the direction of Subajah’s music but also the depth and level he is at and the work that’s gone into it.
“Walls Of Babylon” is a track I am familiar with, and probably the second song that introduced I to Subajah’s music back in 2016. I love this song, getting back onto the strong and warm roots beat, the title of the track tells us all we need to know about the theme. Entangled in a melodic and rhythmic feel with the instruments featured, again held down with tight production. “Walls Of Babylon” is also gifted to us in a dub version as well.
Correctly moving on “Jah Garden” again is another musical treat for our ears. Subajah’s distinctive vocals and performance, graced on a sweet roots riddim, such a beautiful sound that is hard to describe in its full depth. As with the other songs before it, the mix between vocals and instruments is perfect on every single level. Composition and production is right on point and would be a very high standard for others to try and mimic. A true testimony to faith and belief, just as each song so far on this album, this one is a real journey and addictive to consume. “Jah Garden” also has a dub version, which is a bonus.
“Along The Way” features the distinctive sound of Lutan Fyah, and what a combination this creates. Both Subajah and Lutan’s performances totally balance out this track and they compliment each other as they are both unique in their sounds. The riddim is progressive but still holds firm the roots label. Again, another story given to inspire us to keep on moving forward in life. More live instruments creates a different feel to this one, and really consolidates the true purpose of this album. To uplift, be faithful, inspire and motivate, to give strength and knowledge. Incredible to say the least.
The next track “Steady” is another combination featuring Meta Dia from Meta & The Cornerstones. This song has a steady bounce and again is another formidable combination. The two vocals from both Subajah and Dia poetically match on a level I have not heard before and the sweet sounds coupled with a progressive, bass driven, musical beat will have you putting this on repeat. The story is not just in the lyrics but also in the riddim track too, which encapsulates us, the listener, into absorbing the architectural life messages being passed onto us.
“Hold You” gives us a totally different message, that of love and adoration. Another track that slightly switches up the feel of the album but holds down the whole structure of the works so far. A clever riddim track adds to the meaning of the words sung to us. Live instruments really to make for a sweet love song, and the thought gone into Subajah’s musical works is fully released here, opening up and allowing us to hear the full spectrum of his talents.
Pushing onto the next song we are blessed with “Keep It Royal” featuring Bongo Kanny. With a driving, deep bass and a combination of different instruments in the mix, the story tells us to keep things royal on our life journey. Both Subajah and Kanny have unique and defined vocals and a little female backing vocals cleverly placed within the riddim track make this more than a powerful message for us to take in. Again, as the whole structure of this album, the production is tight, crisp and bang on point.
“Win Or Lose” is another cleverly put together track, and showcases exactly the talent within Subajah as not just an artist but also a teacher of life lessons. This song takes us away in a dream like state, musically progressive and formed to install power within us, the listener, as to not give up, reassuring us that we will get to where we want to in life when searching for the truth. The dynamics of the instruments and vocals used in this song build up and create an energy that really makes your body tingle and your mind expand.
Onto the next song “Free Minds” another one of my favourites from this album. Straight away, a true authentic beat is smoothly presented to us and blessed with Subajah’s velvet vocals. True roots reggae has a certain feel to it, a certain movement with the sound and feeling that it creates and “Free Minds” holds that power. No need to explain the true depth of this songs meaning, as the title says more than enough and I am sure each listener will take the meaning slightly different, not just on a spiritual level but also mentally. Produced to a very high quality, we glide through the message absorbing fully, with a fluid musical break in the last quarter for us to contemplate the lyrics before Subajah comes back in to reaffirm the message in the song.
“Words” is the last song on the album, before the previously mentioned dub versions of Jah Garden, Farmers, Walls Of Babylon and Architect are placed. “Words” is a powerful addition to this album and again a slight different feel to the bulk of the works gifted to us with this album, but never the less it’s kept to the same standards as the previous songs.
In summary, this album is in no doubt, one of the best albums I have heard in 2017 so far, not just in the lyrical content and production but also in the usage of musical instruments. It’s obvious that a lot of work has gone into the creation of Subajah Architect album. In completion of listening to it, I feel motivated, energised and inspired. I love the diversity of melodies, baselines and different instruments used within each song. The journey we take on when listening is not only smooth, flowing and ear pleasing, but also we are learning at the same time, through Subajah’s life experiences, which hold a deep and meaningful key for progress. Balancing the whole summary up, there is not many ways this album could be improved, from song placement to the artist combinations, right through to the range of instruments used, this legacy masterpiece is exactly what I love about authentic roots reggae and a must play for all radio and club DJ’s that promote the genre truly. I have been waiting a while for an album where I rate every song on it with 5 stars out of 5. Top works from Subajah and the Architect band, the artist combinations and all involved in creating this album. Reviewed by Gav Pauze.
MP3 Download: Architect