The “Lion Eyes Riddim”, Reggae EP is a 3-song recording based on a single beat production. The tracks were produced by Ej Rams Records of Switzerland in collaboration with Stl Music Group and Futuristic Recording Studios both of Trinidad and Tobago, and Mix Engineer, Starzzz Da Pro. The featured songs and singers are “Mystery Lady” by Aaron Ifil, “Dreaming of Your Love” by Whitney Cummings and “In This Life” by MDG.
There’s not a weak link on this EP. It’s the kind of standard you’d expect from a major label brand. You’ll notice that while these three songs are based on the same beat, each track has its own melody and lyrics and distinctly has established its own identity.
Each singer explores new melodic and expressive areas without losing the reggae authenticity expected from the central theme. It’s also refreshing to find a Reggae EP that scratches the intended itch, you had in mind when you thought to put a Reggae record on to begin with, yet it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle because this production separates itself from the plethora of cookie cutter reggae musicians out there.
Even though the ‘cookie cutter’ statement may sound strange, considering each song is based on the same production structure, there really is a lot more in each song version here than just a set of steel drums and feel-good vibes. In fact each track lives and breathes with its very own soul, spirit and lyrical theme.
Whitney Cummings’ wide ranging vocals wrap itself tightly around the verses and choruses during “Dreaming of Your Love”, as she switches between her normal, warm and airy vocal range and a crystalline falsetto al la Mariah Carey in her heyday.
Aaron Ifil on the other hand brings a potent and dynamic set of soulful pipes as he searches for his “Mystery Lady”, giving the reggae beat a well-defined R&B flavor. Ifil has a full-ranged smooth voice that is very reminiscent of John Legend.
Of the 3 songs, MDG’s “In This Life” is the version that probably sticks the closest to the beat’s reggae theme. MDG uses those authentic vocal tones and voice inflections our laymen’s ears most often associate with Caribbean flavored rhythms.
However, having said that, I think the strength of the “Lion Eyes Riddim” EP, lies exactly in the diverse vocal executions derived from the beat. It fully showcases the mixing and production qualities of the technical crew involved, as well as three splendid vocal talents from Trinidad and Tobago. This is one listening experience that was a whole lot better than was expected!
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