For me, it was a well spent Sunday. Listening to Wackies sampler in the morning and pre-ordering “Tikiman Vol. 1”, a new album by Paul St. Hilaire in the evening. The artist’s former alias in the title looked like an invitation to the mid-1990s when the Dominica-born master of rhymes and rhythms made the first appearances on Main Street and Burial Mix. Both Basic Channel sublabels marked a shift from Berlin’s monochromatic subterranea towards solar spirituality of the Caribbean. Which means that the collabs of reggae artists with Rhythm & Sound served as educational projects about the foundations of dub, their significance being equal to Basic Channel’s main catalogue.
Indeed, the new album’s first half reflects the familiar Tikiman sound. Opening with ambient dub with pensive poetry (“Bedroom In My Bag”), in “Little Way” St. Hilaire’s signature bass and soulful lyrics arrive in full, complemented by jazzy piano and electric guitar solo in “Keep Safe”. Shuffling “Bright One” is made for a big sound system, larger than life bass testing the window frames of the living room. The B-side concludes with gently uplifting “The Weather Man”, the storytelling matching the booming sequences in Basic Channel’s style.
The album’s real appeal lies in the second part that merges dub’s core with pulsating urban electronics. Aliens on vocoder and echoing effects are driving the instrumental “In Fortis”. A step further goes “Ten To One”, which docks to technoid minimalism and even deep house. The vocal part follows the groovy nature of the track that would be good for B2B with Dan Bell or Jay Ahern. The MC is having a break when club-compatible programme resumes with lively dub techno “In Door”, which reminds of electric eel sound by Porter Ricks, before abstract shockwaves of dub are waving goodbye with “Three And A Half”.
Paul St. Hilaire is a modern era savant and healer, sharing his wisdom via audio therapy. He does it in a compelling way on the new album, released by an offshoot of Berlin’s Kynant Records.
Buy vinyl from Juno (UK)
Buy vinyl from Decks (DE)
Buy vinyl from Forced Exposure (US)
Buy vinyl from Disk Union (JP)