For Yesking’s sophomore album Re-Record Not Fade Away, which was released by BBE Music on 11th March 2013, it appears founder Rhys Adams has looked to the past for inspiration. Rather than release a sprawling fifteen track album, Yesking have returned to the vinyl age for inspiration. Back in the golden-age of the album, albums featured eight to ten tracks. Yesking’s Re-Record Not Fade Away features just ten tracks and lasts fifty-two minutes. This means Re-Record Not Fade Away is much more old school album.

Ever since the birth of the compact disc, albums have gotten much longer. Now, feature more tracks and last up to eighty-minutes. Indeed, it’s not unheard of for an album to feature seventeen tracks. This is very different to the vinyl-age. Given the limited capacity of the vinyl album, albums were shorter. The benefit of this was that albums were a snapshot of an artist’s best music. Often, there were no weak tracks. Sadly, since albums have got longer, often the standard of music have dropped. Often, tracks that would’t have been good enough to feature on a vinyl album, are included on a compact disc. Rather than hear an artist at their best, often, albums are a mixture of outstanding and mediocre music. This can’t be said of Yesking’s Re-Record Not Fade Away. Quite the opposite. It lasts features ten tracks lasting fifty-two minutes and. In many ways, it’s a return to the vinyl-age, where you hear Yesking at their best, after a five year gap since their debut album Rock The World. Before I tell you about Yesking’s sophomore album Re-Record Not Fade Away, I’ll tell you about Yesking and their founder, Rhys Adams.

Although Rhys Adams was born in Wales, his career started in the early nineties when he was working as an assistant engineer at Nottingham’s Square Dance Studios. Soon, he was putting what he learnt in the studio into practices Rhys released a trio of disco house E.P.s as Bright Lights. His collaborator was Crazy P’s Chris Todd, with whom he shared a flat. This was the beginning of his career. 

The second part of Rhys’ career, began when he moved to Birmingham. He was placed in charge of Different Drummer Studios, where Rhys became their resident remixer. Different Drummer Studios was home to labels like Leftfoot and Different Drummer, and was home to Rocker’s Hi-Fi, Horace Andy and Kruder and Dorfmeister. At Different Drummer, a sound evolved that shared many similarities to the legendary Bristol Sound. Like the Bristol Sound, unsurprisingly, the Birmingham Sound had a rich heritage in Soundsystems. This lead to Rhys applying his engineering skills to Rockers Hi-Fi’s Different Drummer Soundsystem, and touring the world with them. On his return home, Rhys was on the move agin.

Mark Rae had spotted Rhys’ potential, so encouraged him to move to London, where he’d work on albums and remixes for Mark’s Grand Central label. This included Mark Rae’s album, Into The Depths. Then in 2004, Rhys got the opportunity to travel to, and work in Jamaica. In Jamaica, work began on Wall Of Sound’s Two Culture Clash album. It was this trip that proved the inspiration behind the formation of Yesking.

Not only did the inspiration for Yesking took place after the trip to Jamaica, so too did the sound and the name. The name Yesking was inspired by a local greeting “Yes King,” which was heard at the start of many recording sessions. Yesking’s sound which featured in their 2008 debut album Rock The World, was a fusion of reggae, dancehall, soul and hip hop. Rock The World took two years to record. It featured reggae legend Dawn Penn, dancehall pioneer Kenny Knotts and UK ragga veteran Sweetie Irie. Produced by Mark Rae and Rhys Adams, Rock The World was released in 2008, on Mark Rae’s new label Yes King Records. On its released, Rock The World was well received by critics and was a commercial success. As is the way in the new music industry, tracks were licensed for advertising, video games and films. Meanwhile Yesking embarked on a tour that swung through the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Following Rock The World, Mark Rae left London and headed to Los Angeles. Rhys stayed behind, working on remixes and Yesking’s sophomore album Re-Record Not Fade Away.

Following Mark Rae’s departure to L.A, Rhys continued to produce and remix music under the Yesking banner. Production work included The Soothsayers, Warrior One, Tomb Crew, Roll Deep, J2K and Serocess. Remixes included tracks by Recloose, The Nextman, Amy WInehouse, Bob Marley and Billie Holliday. Then there was Rhys’ career composing and recording music for film and television. Still, Rhys found time to record Yesking’s sophomore album Re-Record Not Fade Away. Two years in the making, and featuring an all-star cast, Re-Record Not Fade Away has been worth the five-year wait. 

Recording of Re-Record Not Fade Away took place at Rhys’ East London home studio. Much of his house has been converted into a studio. There’s the usual steup of control room and live room, where guitars, bass, drums, vocals and the horn section were recorded. While this isn’t just any studio, Rhys isn’t any producer. He’s old-school producer who loves recording live to a 1960s quarter-inch ferrograph tape-machine. That gives Re-Record Not Fade Away its classic reggae, dub sound. Given Rhys is so passionate about vintage recording techniques, it’s no surprise he’s taken inspiration from the strap-line to Scotch Video Tapes 1980s’ adverts Re-Record Not Fade Away. Fittingly, Scotch’s advertising slogan provided the title for Yesking’s sophomore album Re-Record Not Fade Away. Helping give Re-Record Not Fade Away eclectic sound, are an all-star cast of artists.

Earlier I mentioned that Re-Record Not Fade Away was an old-school album, given it was only ten tracks and fifty-two minutes long. It’s also an album whose influences are rich and varied. There’s everything from hip hop, dub, reggae, soul, funk and dub step. Helping give Re-Record Not Fade Away such an eclectic sound, are the cast of guest artists, including a familiar faces and newcomers alike. There’s Patrick Hatchett, guitarist for The Soothsayers and The Jerry Dammers’ Spatial A.K.A. Orchestra and dancehall pioneer Kenny Knotts. Newcomers include rapper Nyro, vocalists Annie Bea, Mel Uye Parker and Rioghnach Connolly. Then there’s UK Dancehall’s Lady Chann and Togolese Afrobeat singer Kodjovi Kush. Given the rich and eclectic selection of artists who join Rhys Adams on Yesking’s Re-Record Not Fade Away, you’ll realize that what’s in store, is a genre-sprawling music journey. 

The opening track Hardground on Re-Record Not Fade Away, demonstrates this. With its hip hop beats, dubby keyboards, funky guitar and pulsating bass, eclectic doesn’t even come close to describing the track. Patrick Hatchett’s guitar adds a funky backdrop to the two new guest vocalists, Mel Uye Parker and Rioghnach Connolly. Rioghnach’s contribution is huge, her vocal veering between wistful and melancholy, right through to emotive, heartfelt and powerful. Rhys Adams rightly describes Hardground as one of his “proudest productions.” One listen and you’ll realize why and realize why it has been chosen as a single.

From the opening bars of the lead single Overproof, you’re won over. It’s impossible not to be. Harmonies joyfully soar, before things get spacey and gloriously dubbed out.The tempo is slow, the rhythms transporting you far, far away. You head to Jamaica, via Labroke Grove. Spacey, dubby drums, a pounding bass and percussion meander along. Drums crack, then echo in the distance. Then Mel Uy-Parker’s sultry, heartfelt vocal enters. It’s surrounded by the fruits of Yesking’s rhythm section. They provide a pulsating heartbeat, that wanders and ambles along. An angelic, crystalline choir of backing vocalists enter, their scatted harmonies sung emotively and with sheer joy. For five minutes, you’re captivated and enthralled, by this spacey, smokey dub-delicious track.

Devil Inside has an understated sound, with tender, laid-back vocal. Then the arrangement bursts into life. It’s a delicious slice of soulful, funky reggae with a heartfelt, pleading vocal. When all this is combined, it’s a delicious musical stew.

Run Boy Run opens, you can tell that Rhys Adams has written and recorded music for films and television. It has a grand, broody and dramatic cinematic sound. Then seamlessly, this cinematic sound is infused with reggae and hip hop. A rapped vocal delivers lyrics full of powerful, social comment, while the arrangement combines reggae and cinematic sounds. The result is a captivating combination of musical genres.

While Re-Record Not Fade Away is packed full of quality music, crucial to the album’s success are the vocals. They add to the album’s eclectic sound. Togolese vocalist Kodjovi Kush, whose musical journey has seen her arrive in East London via Togo and Ghana, adds an Afrobeat influence to the pulsating One More Time. Annie Bea, whose recently signed to Decca, transforms Just Like Me into the sweetest of summer sounding tracks. Surely, it’ll be released as a single during the long summer months? Chicken Chops is another track featuring a stellar vocal. Again, it elevates a good track to the next level. Heartfelt, impassioned and soulful, and delivering against an arrangement where funky horns infuse this uplifting slice of reggae.

Stabs of grizzled horns open Friends Like Mine, which is one of two UK Dancehall tracks. With the horns key to the arrangement, it’s similar to Secret King. It features Lady Chann, a rising star of the UK Dancehall scene. Her swaggering vocal accompanies Mystro’s rap. Hooks are plentiful on a track that’s infectiously catchy, soulful and swings along. Quite simply, it’s the best of the two UK Dancehall tracks.

Raise Up which closes Re-Record Not Fade Away, has a real authentic reggae sound. Featuring one of the most impassioned, emotive vocal, which accompanies scatted harmonies, it’s as if Yesking and Rhys Adams are paying homage to the cast of reggae greats who’ve influenced their music.

Although Yesking’s sophomore album Re-Record Not Fade Away was released five years after Rock The World, and was two years in the making, the wait was well worthwhile. This has given Yesking the opportunity to reinvent their music. Now they’re back, with an album that’s more than a little special. It’s best described as eclectic and genre-sprawling. That’s the best way to describe the ten tracks on Re-Record Not Fade Away. There’s everything from reggae, dub, Lovers Rock, hip hop, UK Dancehall, soul and funk. Playing their part in Re-Record Not Fade Away’s eclectic sound, are a cast of guest artists. Familiar faces and new comers, play their part. This includes Patrick Hatchett, Rioghnach Connolly, Kenny Knotts, Lady Chann Kodjovi Kush, Annie Bea and Mel Uye Parker. Each of this multitalented cast of guest artists plays their part in Re-Record Not Fade Away’s rich and eclectic musical tapestry. They each bring something new and unique to this innovative, musical journey, where musical genres melt into one seamlessly and peerlessly. Unlike many bands who wait five years before releasing their sophomore album, Yesking have survived the wait. Indeed it’s worked in their favor. From the opening bars of Hardground, right through to the closing notes of Raise Up Yesking never miss a beat on Re-Record Not Fade Away. Not only is Re-Record Not Fade Away an advertising slogan, but a perfect description of Yesking and their music, as they continue to Rock This World, and at the same time, innovate bravely and boldly. Standout Tracks: Hardground, Overproof, One More Time and Just Like Me.



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