Review: Torch - Self Reclaimed EP
by Gardy Stein
Good Reggae music is on the rise. Now that it is featured in the likes of a Vogue magazine, we'll soon be on common ground with people who are just starting to discover a whole new world, diving into the wealth of Rasta culture, word, sound and power. Adding his voice to the pantheon of contemporary Jamaican artists, Torch releases his first ever EP Self Reclaimed, an eight-track compilation issued under the wings of Frankie Music.
The opening title is a revelation already. On the same beautiful riddim as Raging Fyah's Jah Glory, the spiritually uplifting Jah Army tells us to keep trying, to face and overcome obstacles along the way - get up, stand up!
Evilous (on the Four Season Riddim) paints a rather gloomy picture of human interactions and is full of warnings, whereas Torch mirrors himself proudly in Lion. The therein addressed Babylon-theme is again picked up in Fire Man A Bun, a powerful feature with the man called Bugle. To bring him in on the Gate 7 Riddim was the best thing that could've happened to this Weedy G production. Hot like the burning sun!
Another feature, another beautiful piece with an equally beautiful title: Perfect Peace. The underlying Safari Riddim reminds me of the Drop Leaf, and Torch and Dizzy set out on the quest for that perfect peace with equal grace as Gentleman did on Intoxication.
While Voices is a straightforward advice to be careful which inner dialogue you lend your ear to, the track Bangarang has several stories to tell. First, the one of the singer, finding the right words and melodies that befit the underlying riddim. Second, the riddim itself, a brand new production by Kurt and Andre Riley, sons of the legend Winston Riley – good to see the legacy carried on! Third, the name of the riddim: Chancery Lane (parallel to Kingston's Orange Street) is home to the Techniques' headquarters since 1972.
Turning to the East, Africa Calling is a beatiful close (and no, that's not a spelling mistake, just an effort to express the combined beauty of the track with its conspicuous beat) of Torch's self reclamation. At the Reggaeville Easter Special 2014 in Hamburg, Gentleman called him "one of the most underrated artists in Jamaica right now" – a perception that will change with this EP. Hear for yourself! Torch is ablaze and can't be overlooked anymore.
Torch - Self Reclaimed
DIGITAL RELEASE [Frankie Music]
Release date: 10/30/2015
1. Jah Army
4. Fire Man a Bun feat. Bugle
6. Perfect Peace feat. Dizzy
8. Africa Calling