It may still be winter here in gritty old New York, but Brooklyn's premiere dub-reggae outfit Super Hi-Fi refuse to let the cold weather dampen their summery vibe. Their long awaited fifth LP Blue and White, which premiered earlier this week on Cultartes, packs enough aural vitamin D to carry you through the worst of whatever March has left to offer. Described by Cultartes as a "slowly boiled masterpiece," Blue and White may just provide the winter reprieve that you've been jonesing for. Because let's face it, dropping the needle on a reggae album is probably the closest that most of us are going to get to the beach this year.
Recorded at 9 Lives in Jersey City by engineer Nicola Stemmer, Blue and White is an album punctuated by dueling trombones, gut rattling bass lines, and Afrobeat inspired rhythms. In this sense the band maintains their signature sound but explores new sonic territory by embracing elements of rock and improvisational jazz. Another aspect of Blue and White that separates the album from previous Super Hi-Fi releases is the presence of band leader and bassist Ezra Gale's distinct voice. Where 2012's Dub To The Bone was strictly instrumental, this latest effort features Gale singing on half the tracks. The vocal element marks a clear evolution in the band's musical aesthetic and demonstrates both creative growth and fearless experimentation.
“This is our fifth full-length album, and I think if anyone’s following all of them it’s pretty obvious that our sound has changed a lot from the time we started in 2012. I think this is the biggest leap we’ve made, partly because the vocal element on this album makes the songs feel different, but also because I think it’s the most focused sound we’ve had. It’s also the heaviest, for sure, and I think that’s all due to us playing together so much at this point. Overall I’m really happy with the whole thing.” - Ezra Gale (bass, vocals, bandleader)
In classic analog fashion, the entire album was recorded directly to tape, giving the songs a sticky, rich warmth and a bottom-end that feels heavy and natural.
The twelve-track album, released by the Brooklyn-based Very Special Recordings, consists of all original material with the exception of a dubbed-out cover of The Police's "Hole In My Life". Lending his creative hand to the album artwork is acclaimed artist Rob Swainston who has screen printed a run of 500, one-of-a-kind covers to compliment the vinyl release. No two album covers will be the same which Gales says "echoes the aesthetic of dub music, where you have all these variations - versions of the same song - spun out from the same source material". Super Hi-Fi are currently booking shows for the spring and summer months and Blue and White is available for purchase via Bandcamp, iTunes, and all other major online retailers now.