Album Review: Kailash - Across The Ocean
by Gardy Stein
At age 12, when other kids are absorbed with playing football or video games or whatever, this young talent has already recorded his debut album: Kailash just released Across The Ocean, and in addition to the fact that his young age in itself is a sensation, this oeuvre really is a beautiful piece of work! Recorded, fittingly, at the Ancient Wave Studio in Nevada, some great musicians realized the vision set forth. Xavier "Kubix" Bègue on lead guitar, Ryan "I-shence" Willard on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Shankar Baba on bass as well as Scott "Natty" Davis on drums and percussion provided the instrumentals, while Oz Fritz acted as recording engineer and Errol Brown mixed and mastered the whole thing.
Starting with the laid-back King David, the album sounds like any other Roots Reggae album, until… yes, until Kailash's voice drops. With transcendental clarity, he brings every single note across in perfect key, length and intensity, lending an almost mystic quality to the song, and in the second half, we clearly hear that masters like Vaughn Benjamin (Midnite, Akae Beka) rank among his musical influences.
Thus opening the doors wide for the special treats these eight tracks are, the next song Blessed expands the experience to a sermon-on-the-mountain type of theme. It comes on a re-lick of the I'm Not Getting Crazy riddim, including excellent guitar soli and spiritual advice: "To all the peacemakers, the children of Jah!" Both Give Thanks and Dreader Than Dread express the young singer's adherence to Rastafarian principles. While the former is peppered with Bible quotes and expresses humbleness and gratitude, the latter, slower in pace, presents Kailash's voice at its deepest so far, giving us a glimpse of what he will sound like in a few years' time.
Sitting on a deep Nyabinghi beat, Heathen is a fine example of the youngster's songwriting skills, as he wrote all the lyrics by himself and signs responsible for the arrangement of melody and harmonies, too. Impressive! The title track, then, comes with a Satta Massagana type of vibe, and the accompanying video impeccably translates the lyrics' yearning for an ideal world into the visual realm (apart from this, Give Thanks and Blessed are out on video, too). "There is a place across the ocean, where I&I are free. No wickedness upsets the notion of love and unity."
What is the highest destination in life? According to Kailash, it is to Know Thyself, and the song advises us how to reach this noble aim in style. The brightest tune of the album, Strength Of My Life is another ode to Jah Rastafari and closes an exceptional release.
Ringing with wisdom far beyond his years, Kailash sings directly to our hearts and souls in Across The Ocean. Not only is his an extraordinary voice to behold, but also his devotion to the sound and content of Roots Reggae music is truly remarkable. May his journey be blessed with pure love, great connections and the attention he deserves!
Kailash - Across The Ocean
DIGITAL RELEASE / VINYL [Nachiketa Productions]
Release date: 12/01/2023
1. King David
3. Give Thanks
5. Across The Ocean
6. Know Thyself
7. Dreader Than Dread
8. Strength of My Life