Album Review: Solomon Seed - Modern Media World War
by Gardy Stein
Celebrate Life, strictly positive!
In the biographies of Jamaican artists you often read that he or she grew up singing in this or that choir, proceeding to one or the other member of a school band and finally winning the Digicel Rising Stars (or a similar contest). Erich Stoll aka Solomon Seed is not a Jamaican and probably never sang in church, but he did participate in The Voice Of Germany in 2014. That he had to leave in the semi-finals didn't discourage him to proceed in music, quite to the contrary: two years later he comes back to the spotlight with his debut album entitled Modern Media World War, a 14-track-affair produced by Lowfield Riddims & Chemobeatz.
With these, we are at the core of the release's strength, because the underlying riddims are indeed a revelation. Interesting, fresh and at times surprising (as in the title track, which switches suddenly from a relaxed, melancholy cadence to an up-tempo beat and thus completely alters the song's atmosphere), we are led through a Dubstep- & Drum'n'Bass-infused wonderland that nevertheless doesn't lose its Reggae-affinity.
Given this musical grandeur, the singer's vocal delivery leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it is quite bold to publish a full album with obvious deficits both in breathing technique (see the rap part in Could We Be Free) and tonal cleanliness (e.g. in Jah Thoughts), so much so that it might be intentional – f*ck perfectionism, f*ck auto-tune? Definitely intentional, though, is the use of Jamaican patois in tracks like Gonna Light It or Cute Little Girl, which is understandable (trying to be part of that oh-so-cool scene), but doesn't sound genuine enough to come across anything but volitional. Apart from that, Solomon Seed really does a great job finding critical and reflective lyrics, showing his conscious mental attitude which is especially condemning war and the capitalist system; a good example for these are Rulin & Shootin and Positive Vibes. Quotes of Marley & Co further spice up songs like Sweet Maria or Nah Fear Dem, connecting his output to the motherland.
Celebrate Life, the only feature of the album, is at the same time its most outstanding tune. Uwe Kaa rides the driving drums, shining brass and piping organs like the pro he is, authentically in German, and the message couldn't be more on point. Keep the faith and you will see Jah light!
With Modern Media World War, Solomon Seed created an album that speaks to a young and urban audience. His songs have the potential to open the ears of Dubstep-, HipHop- and Drum'N'Bass-fanatics to Reggae music, and judging from the videos I've seen so far, it must be quite an experience to see the artist live. Welcome to Team Reggae!
Solomon Seed - Modern Media World War
Release date: 01/22/2016
01. Modern Media World War
02. Could We Be Free
03. Celebrate Life feat. Uwe Kaa
04. Positive Vibes
05. Cute Little Girl
06. Rulin & Shootin'
07. Gonna Light It
08. Jah Thoughts
09. Sweet Maria
10. Hey Mama
11. Nah Fear Dem
12. Remember Mi Name
13. Could We Be (Dub Version)
14. Gonna Light It (Haze Version)