All The Pretty Horses…

Riddim #4
July 25, 2006, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Listening, Reading

I was happy to see that Riddim magazine has maintained its quality, if not improved.. Issue 4 is pretty much all killer, no filler. Outside this mag (and outside the raggablogosphere), you have to search pretty hard for decent writing and reviews (Kevin Martin’s half-a-column in IDJ, the odd Lee Perry reissue in Mojo or suchlike). And Riddim is pulling in big names, interviews with artists I’ve never read firsthand before – Tanya Stephens and Barrington Levy are especially worth reading in this latest edition. The CD is always pretty good value too.

If I’m honest, a lot of the writing can be a little stilted – I’m sure this is partly due to translation issues (I assume a fair bit is translated from original German?), but I suspect there’s an earnestness and enthusiasm about the whole affair which doesn’t sit comfortably with people who’ve spent the last 2 or 3 decades reading reviews by Steven Wells or David Stubbs. A good case in point is the lengthy piece about a visit by an ethnology phD student to a nyabinghi grounding – it was by turns interesting and a little embarassing. I couldn’t decide if the narrator was dressed in the latest Gap pastels or some frightful Euro-rasta tat (a plastic red/gold/green tracksuit, mebbes?)

 Even this has its upside – the reviews are rarely critical, but go long on detail and with a lot of the releases, especially the reissues, this is the most useful approach.

So yeh, can’t recommend it enough. Even if seeing a list of all the reggae festivals in Europe makes me wonder again why we don’t seem to be able to stage this things successfully here any more..


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