I-Octane – My Journey

March 4, 2014

I Octane now has two well written, bona fide albums under his belt

i-octane-myjourney-albumreview.jpgSince the seismic shifts of the 80s, reggae and dancehall have coexisted – with many artists making both. Few however have straddled them with such comfort as I Octane. Blessed with a striking voice that combines Bob Marley’s broken tone,Buju’s rock stone grain and the vulnerable yearning of Jah Cure, he dwells at all points on the singer-to-deejay spectrum.
First album Crying to the Nation, produced by Robert Livingstone and sold to VP Records, was equal parts reggae and dancehall with several tracks sitting at their crossroads. His typically professional new effort My Journey (released byTad’s Record and produced by DJ Frass who helmed 2011 hitMy Life) puts its reggae foot forward but mutates into familiar fusions towards its end.

Like Crying, this is an agreeably unified record rather than a singles patchwork (note that My Life, which never saw long format release, is not included). It maintains a computer enhanced yet live instrument based sound: rare when budgetary pressures cause most projects to compromise by adding hits from diverse sources or spoil the flow with an incongruously cheap sounding rhythm as a favour to a friend. I Octane‘s business-like approach that came over withLivingstone is clear in his work with Frass.

Where Crying had a harsh, almost bleak mood My Journey is more sophisticated, upbeat and gentle in tone. Where the debut mixed one drop and uptempo rhythms across its tracklist, the first half of this album is practically 100% reggae – in keeping with trends spearheaded by next young firebrand Chronixx. The second portion gradually gives way to hybrids of downtempo dancehall, groundation drumming and soul-pop.

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