Here’s a taster for Beam Up’s album, nailing its colours firmly to a red, gold and green flag. Sounding like it could’ve been recorded in the golden era of the early ‘80s No Chains concerns itself with the classic reggae theme of emancipation from (mental and physical) slavery. Beam Up’s fine horn section adds depth to rousing percussive rhythms, with classic rimshots, echo FX and a heavy bass. Travelling is something Brian May, the alter-ego of Beam Up, has done a lot of, but this Berlin- based DJ/producer who made his name with out-there dub/Balkan sets is using his current musical direction to document a spiritual exodus.
Done sing-jay style, Travelling begins and ends with train whistles, and its jaunty riddim belies its conscious message(s). Horns, strings and organ augment the journey.
Bonus remixes and versions on the digital release give more attention to the soundsystem, club and lounge arenas.
Athens finest : FLeCK’s junglistic dancehall Travelling remix will test the bassbins and “lighta” people, whilst UK D&B legend T.Power’s version reigns it back in with sophisticated downbeat vibes that Massive Attack would be proud of. Beam Up dubs No Chains up into outer space for soundsystem scoops & headphone smokers alike. Instrumental versions are included for the natty singjays too.
In a climate of increasingly ephemeral pop and dance music, this release that will sit happily in any collection that has ever found a home for the likes of Burning Spear, Horace Andy, Congo Natty, Massive Attack or even Shiloh-era Buju Banton. His own journey might’ve begun in Manchester, but Beam Up looks set to have solid roots in the contemporary outernational roots reggae scene.