This release is just oozing with flavor.
Marcus Visionary is one of the most influential and well-respected Jungle Drum & Bass artists in North America and is world renowned for his musical contribution to rave culture over the past 30 years. In 2010, Marcus released his full length ‘Humble’ LP, cementing him as one of the greatest modern Jungle producers of all time. With an astounding array of featured Jamaican artists, Marcus, with the help of Liondub legitimately bridged the gap between Jamaican reggae culture and British rave music with original vocalists featured on authentic, musical Reggae Jungle rhythms. Fast forward 10 years and Liondub is proud to present a new LP that revisits Marcus’s Humble album and features 10 updated, remixed tracks, VIPs, and a couple choice originals featuring the singers who originally blessed his landmark LP from a decade ago.
This release feels like a very true and authentic offering to the originators of this music. It is a collection of groovy Jungle and Drum and Bass tracks dripping with the sounds of Jungle, Dub and Reggae music.
“Jahovia VIP” is a dark, droning number that expresses the Marcus Visionary style. Johnny Osbourne lays down the vocals with strength and confidence. There is no doubting this sound. This tune will get everyone dancing a little jig by the end of it. “Soundwar Remix” is an even more upbeat bit with the talented vocals of Bunny General. “Killing Season” has a sweet melodic harmonizing with Pad Anthony and Robert Levy. Pad Anthony returns for a funky jungle groove on “Murder VIP“. These jungle cuts really establish a standard and even an introduction for those new to Jungle.
Things pick up a bit at this point in the EP. “My Sound (Jungle VIP)” is a quick-hitting roller featuring the vocals of Kandiman. This track really takes the time to smash the percussion. The jungle chops switch from stuttering hits to wicked fast breaks in an instant. What a ride! “Kill Drumpan” keeps a similar flow with Bunny General back on the mic this time. This one is another fast mover with really nice pieces giving a nod to the old school. The drum break is my favorite part as it just shuffles nicely.
“Run For Cover” featuring Little John is a standout hit in my opinion. This song has a humble intro that leads into a weighty 808 bassline that demands respect immediately. It has an immediately lovable ragga Drum and Bass sound which is solid material with not too much filler. A solid bassline, smacking drums and lovely vocals.
“Number 1 Sound” features Hopeton James absolutely sweet talking the mic. Silky, smooth vocals over roots reggae and a wicked drum break. This could easily be considered baby-making music. The late Sugar Minott holds it down on “Ruff & Tuff (Rollers Mix)“. Every note sang on this track holds a timeless value as his vocals are simply impeccable. The hook is undoubtedly catchy and might leave you singing it a few days later.
It all ends with a sweet serenade from Johnny Osbourne on “Jah Promise (Jungle VIP)“. This song is a beautiful homage to Roots Reggae speaking of love and keeping your promises.
Liondub International is known for this sound, but it is still so stunning to see such a beautiful culmination of these genres. They have consistently proven themselves as not just a solid representation of this music, but innovators in their own right. As for Marcus Visionary, he was generous enough to spare a bit of time to answer a few questions for us here at Best Drum and Bass. Check it out below!
How did you start making music?
I started out as a DJ in the 80’s. Hip Hop & Electro Funk/Hip Hop was probably the first music that made me think I would like to be able to produce one day. The whole DIY approach. I’m also a DJ & not a musician so watching other DJs create music was intriguing to me. In 1994 I started to learn how to create Jungle with my previous partner Nemesis (Dave Whalen). We started on an Akai sampler, then a Kurzweil K2000 then upgraded to an Emu.
How would you describe the music you make? What influences your sound?
My music is based on all of the music I’ve absorbed throughout my life. I listen to everything. Soul, Jazz, Dub, Reggae, Dancehall, House, Techno, Broken Beat etc. I’m also a really big music nerd so I try to absorb as many documentaries about musicians/bands/producers/DJs I admire. I’m a musical sponge and I try to reflect & create fusion in my music. I love connecting the dots because Dance music is all connected. Different branches from the same tree.
Which song on the release is your personal favorite?
Jah Promise with Johnny Osbourne is my favorite. The original is an absolute classic so I tried to capture that same energy in the remix. Johnny is an absolute legend who I’ve been blessed to work with over the years thanks to Liondub. My next LP is a Johnny Osbourne album that features 17 tracks forthcoming on Liondub International. I’m really excited for it to drop!
What inspired your name?
I used to produce as Visionary with Dave Whalen aka Nemesis before I went solo. One day we had MC Navigator in the studio. He was voicing a dub for us. As he was voicing he kept calling me Marcus Visionary on the dubplate. At the time, I was known as DJ Marcus, so I quietly let him know. After voicing the dub, we talked about the mistake and Navi just said, No no no, from now on you need to be Marcus Visionary. It had a nice ring to it so it stuck!
Tell me about your musical process. How do your songs usually come together?
The process varies depending on the genre or whether I’m making a vocal or a riddim track.
With the Humble LP, I had all of the parts from the vocals to the original riddim. I always try to keep the original vibe of the track while adding some modern Jungle flavour and energy. I usually start with the drums then I go from there.
When you’re in the studio, do you have any rituals?
Caffeine is my unhealthy friend. If there’s one thing I wish I had more of is time. Sleep is the enemy! I like to lay down most of a track before I stop because I don’t like to lose that original vibe. I also won’t start working on music unless I can fully commit, which means switching off the phone and getting in my zone. Once I lay out the bulk of a sequence & arrangement I’ll usually stop. I’ll detail, mix & master the track over the following two days.
What is most important to you when putting together a tune? (What do you focus on the most?)
First & foremost, the vibe has to be right. The emotion behind the track. Once you have a good vibe after that it’s all about mixdown. Without a good mixdown you don’t have a track. I’ve created new ways to make sure that my tracks hit the right way now so I can focus on the vibe of a track. Mixdown is a constant battle for most producers and you constantly find new ways to make things sound better. The learning never ends especially with all of the new production technology that comes out each year.
Tell me about your latest release.
The LP is a 10 track collection of unreleased Dubs & VIPs we’ve been playing over the years for people who enjoyed my debut Humble LP. The LP features Jamaican Reggae legends; Johnny Osbourne, Bunny General, Pad Anthony, Robert Levy, Kandiman, Little John, Hopeton James, Messenger Selah & Jahdan and the late great Sugar Minott. It’s a marriage of original Reggae/Dancehall, Dub & Jungle.
What’s the DNB music scene like in your area? Any local artists we should keep an eye out for?
From 1991-2008, we boasted the largest rave scene in North America. Once Dubstep hit and EDMs new generation took hold, underground music lost its dominance in Toronto. We have a small, but passionate U.K inspired underground music scene in Toronto today. We have a load of great talent in Toronto. Our resident artists; Imran Graffiti aka Werkflow, RMS, Gremlinz, Jesta, Trading Fours, Anastasia, Stranjah, Plain English, Terror Tone, Freeza Chin, Jayemkayem, NC-17, Dcision, Polaris, Schematic, Groves, Rumbleton & many more.. Loads of fresh talent coming out of Toronto.
Tell me about your relationship with Liondub as well as your experience with the label, Liondub International.
I’ve been with the label since the beginning. I met Lion at a gig in Toronto and we had alot in common as we both shared a love for Reggae & Jungle. Lion has incredible links to vocalists thru the Reggae Dancehall side of his career so it only made sense. We both wanted to build with some of our favorite artists giving them the credit they deserve etc. Since then Lion has built an empire of a label. I’m proud of the work we’ve done but we have so much more in the pipeline. I truly believe our best work is ahead of us. We’re preparing loads of Rumble material that has been recorded with many of our favorite Dancehall, Reggae & Grime artists over the last two years. Rumble is our collaborative project. As a graphic design artist and label admin I have no complaints. Lion takes care of his artists and that has kept our relationship solid thru the years. Although we’ve faced some challenges being Canadian & American the adversity has only made us stronger. Sometimes you have to build your own highway. I’m really excited about the future!
Purchase here >>> Marcus Visionary – Humble Revisited [Liondub International]
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