Album Review: Mellow Mark - Nomade
by Gardy Stein
Rare as they are, German Reggae releases are always a special thing to me. After this year has already seen Memoria, Jahfro, Longfingah, Miwata, Solomon Seed, iLLBiLLY HiTEC and the fantastic King Size Dub: Reggae Germany, the Berlin-based artist Mellow Mark throws his hat in the ring with an album called Nomade. It's his eighth after Roots & Flügel dropped in 2015, and with Ganjaman in the producer's seat and instruments played by the fine House Of Riddim band, the promise of an LP-length of fine music is up.
After an intro spoken by Thomas D (of group Fanta 4), Meritxell Campos Olivé leads through the album, commenting on the 12 tracks in Spanish with that sensual voice of hers. Starting with the title track Nomade, Mellow Mark takes us through different times, genres and places like the traveller he claims to be. A little bit of Ska in Bleib Wach, the groovy criticism of our modern, egocentric society and the wish to be tough in 1 Auf Hart or the dreamy Gib Nie Auf (never give up) make for a well-instrumented variety.
You might already be acquainted with Divide & Rule, a single that's out with a sinister video since last year, and you most certainly have heard the melodic Kenyakibera Riddim of Himmel & Hölle. Mellow Mark meets fellow German artists on the journey as well, such as singer/ songwriter Tim Anders in Easy, Jamaram in Funky Reggae, Uwe Banton in the pensive Weisheit and Mirta J. Wambrug in a love-story without happy end called Wo Bist Du Jetzt.
Overall, the tracks make for a solid selection that gives us an insight into the mindset of this likeable singer, artfully played, recorded, mixed and mastered. However, for those who do understand the lyrics, both wording and rhyming come across a little clumsy at times. "Schade Marmelade" in the title track or some terribly forced verses in Cool Cool Cool ("Beide war'n zu stolz und sie war'n beide nicht aus Holz") could and should have been left out, for example.
The minimalist Klick, on the other hand, is a little master-piece that perfectly showcases the artist's lyrical potential and warm vocals, as well as bringing across Mark's fervent believe in a better tomorrow. Let's see where the nomad goes next!
Mellow Mark - Nomade
DIGITAL RELEASE / VINYL / CD [Digitale Dissidenz]
Release date: 07/21/2017
01. Autonomy of The Mind feat. Thomas D
03. Easy feat Tim Anders
04. Funky Reggae feat. Jamaram
05. 1 Auf Hart
06. Cool Cool Cool
08. Weisheit feat. Uwe Banton
09. Divide & Rule
10. Himmel & Hülle
11. Wo Bist Du Jetzt feat. Mirta J. Wambrug
12. Bleib Wach
13. Gib Nie Auf