Aketï Ray “From Ever Since” (Jahmoni Music)

Aketï Ray
“From Ever Since – 12 Inch, EP
(Jahmoni Music – 2017)

At the time I am writing these lines you’re just reading, I haven’t even listened to one single note from the second vinyl release by Aketï Ray called “From Ever Since”, yet I’m already filled with a big thrill of anticipation as I expext this record to be my favourite one coming out this year. Ever since the release of of Mirror on Steppas Records I have been waiting to hear more of this style. So was it worth the wait? Most definately!

On “From Ever Since”, Mikolaj – “Nik” – Gorecki and assorted musicians around him managed to combine Dub and Jazz in quite a subtle manner. He doesn’t walk into the trap of just adding echoes and reverbs blindly. He rather blends both styles in a way that takes only some elements of both styles and combines it to form something new that stands on it’s own feet.

Each tune is masterfully crafted and composed, every instrument, every reverb and echo seems to be just in the right place and rather than being just basslines, instruments and effects that happen to run side by side, you will think that there’s musical communication happening right there between the musicians. In a way not unlike a Jazz jam-session where the atmosphere is enhanced by people reacting to eachother and thereby creating a result that is much more organic than a track on a record could ever be. Except that’s exactly what’s been achieved here. As Mikolaj himself puts it: “An unrushed labour of love”.

“From Ever Since” is very much a studio album and has taken several years to record and produce. The material was written originally in 2009/2010 and through a long process of finding musicians and resources came to be recorded and mixed in spare time here and there. Very much an unrushed labour of love.

I wanted to create as good an album as I could, not just a collection of tracks.

It’s quite impressive, that this level of live-feeling has been achieved when you hear that it’s pretty much a studio album.

I thought there was a lack of dubwise music getting made that had that live feel of the 60s and 70s. At the same time I didn’t want to just rehash the past – the best you can do is come close to replicating that sound, you definitely won’t beat it. So I decided to try something different, and bring in other connected jazz and African influences to the mix.

Each track has a very clear subject in mind when writing it, but it’s down to the listener to tune in to that and take from that what they will. I find you can say more with the abstract language of music than you can in words.

Some of the ideas for the tracks on “From Ever Since” are dating back quite some time and it’s pretty impressive how they have evolved since they have originally been released on Planet Terror Records, a netlabel that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. Just compare the old version of, for example:

  • Heartease – Lament  (Remembrance Dubs, released in 2011)
  • Under Fire – Under fire – Dub for Gaza (Dub Mirror, released in 2009)
  • Time is now – Brockley Skank (Dub Mirror, released in 2009)

If this album is your first encounter with Jazz-infused Dub, Reggae and Roots you might also want to check out this mix by Mikolaj: It’s called Jamaican Jazz Journeying – Aketi Ray Inspirations and Connections (Mixcloud player at the end of this page). After listening to this you definately have a better understanding of where Aketi Ray is coming from. I encourage you to take this trip into the rabbit hole!

If asked whether I could name a favourite track on this album, I would refuse to give an answer because this is basically just one ~30 minute track with different aspects and you should embrace it in full.

Before leaving you in the capable hands of Aketï Ray, I’m also very happy to tell you, that this EP is but a kind of sneak preview to the album that will be coming out in February 2018. Until then!

Thomas Dalichow

Players of instruments:

Trumpet, Flugel Horn, Flute – Kevin Robinson [Jazz Warriors, Jazz Jamaica All-Stars]
Saxophone – Niko Rouger [Addis Quartet, Krar Collective]
Piano – Danny White [Matt Bianco]
Double bass – Darren McCarthy [Darren McCarthy Trio]
Drums – Virgil Howe [Little Barry, The Killer Meters]
Percussion – Rob Shipster [Congo Dia Ntotila]
Melodica, Percussion, Production – Mikolaj Gorecki [Aketi Ray]


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