The seventh full-length release on Unit 137 is the second from resident producer Sleepy Time Ghost, who created a major wave with his debut ‘Youthman Riddim’ last year; an assured roots reggae track which brought together long-respected and brand new UK sound-system MCs, Ras Demo (a.k.a Demolition Man) and Lionpulse Sound’s Live n Direk, as well as instrumentalists from the 137 camp.
Forward to his latest opus, the Ghost Train Riddim. Joining Jamaican & UK vocal talents with Unit 137 residents, Sleepy drops a 12” which doesn’t easily fit into the brackets of roots, reggae or dub: Throughout, the production fuses live instrumentation with crisp digital production, in Sleepy’s inimitable style, which he is becoming notorious for. It’s a great example of the Sound System Music driving the current ‘New Wave’ of UK Sound System Culture. While paying tribute to the foundations, this cut is a surefire dancehall killer and a bridge between the old and the new.
On vocals, legendary reggae sing-jay Macka B is joined by rising star Zico, who has been steadily turning heads over the past five years through his works with the London/Bristol based reggae outfit onlyjoe. Their combination ‘Meditation’ defines the release as a merging of styles, which takes the listener on a journey from the roots of reggae and dancehall through to the modern sounds of UK Steppas. Meanwhile, the second track features veteran Jamaican singer Mikey General on the riddim with his contribution, ‘Jah Can Read Your Thoughts.’ His track fuses a powerful vocal message of Rastafari with the riddim track which, on this version, breaks into a tough dancehall section; again bridging styles and pushing the vocalist in new directions.
The remix in the package comes from Hylu & Jago. This duo have created quite a stir through their previous releases on Unit 137, and they’re now regularly sought after by other labels for remixes and, increasingly, originals. Their interpretation is a dark take on modern electronic dancehall, which moves Sleepy’s original riddim track in new directions. Snippets from each vocal track are fused together to bring about something entirely different from the original, focused towards the dancehall, and designed to be played on a big stack, with plenty of super scoops for bass. Sleepy’s instrumental rounds off the release, and leaves room for the Ghost Train Riddim to be ridden by other vocalists or instrumentalists, on sound systems all over the globe…