The Courtney John Project have just released their debut album, ‘Future’; internationally through the ongoing support of the Fiwi Music Label in Jamaica.
This ten track experimental album showcases a new fusion twist to contemporary music. Each track on the album is so emotively charged, thought provoking and auditor-ally sensual.
In the lead-up to the album release; The Courtney John project have been developing their new sound which they call Roots-tronic.
The Courtney John Project are a unique group consisting of lead Falsetto style singer, Mr. Courtney John, producer Nastassja Hammond better known as the Wizard and Grammy award winning Musician, Steven “Lenky” Marsden.
The inspiration for this album could be compared with Massive Attack, Portis Head and Tricky in the 90’s UK underground Trip-hop music scene. It is not something you would expect from a musical trio based in Kingston Jamaica.
The first track on the album Black Cinderella has been expertly blended together by the Wizard to truly revive Errol Dunkley’s original. The use of dub horns, drum paradiddles and keyboard lends beautifully to full effect.
Courtney’s vocals are well placed, it is an excellent choice of cover for the exceptionally talented falsetto singer. The tune itself is a wonderful version; the vocal input by both the Wizard and Courtney John is emotively charged. The final mix is expertly blended to perfection enhancing the original. Aircraft sounds and drop crash beats overhead give the listener a vision of the story unfolding as Courtney John seeks out his Black Cinderella.
The Wizard lends her vocals to track number two, ‘Give you Love’.
Courtney Johns lyrical input is well placed coming in at the middle. The strength of The Wizards vocals are obviously well suited to Courtney John’s falsetto style, here she takes the lead yet it does not overpower the strength of his vocals and impact.
Track three sees Mr. Courtney John voice ‘Soul of a Man’. The Lyrics Burning, burning Wild are at the pulsating heart of Soul of a Man. The sampled effects in the mix sound mechanized and are intensively justified while carrying forward the songs narrative.
Track four called Nothing for free has wicked lyrics that Courtney John interestingly exhibits by stressing the voice to give a kind of sinister effect. This track contains some true dub-step elements, yet not fully identifiable, making this sound unique to even the most critical of listeners. It is has a loose elevation as the tune rises. There is intermittent lyrical juxtaposition taking place here between the vocal section of The Wizard and Courtney John. It is a truly fitting piece that recognises the adaptability of the group in this endeavour .
The fifth track on the album So special is Courtney John exhibiting his crisp falsetto lyrics. It is a beautifully adapted track to the new Roots-tronic sound.
There is a beautifully performed keyboard section coming in behind the vocals. Each element is carefully balanced with precision to create a lovely heartfelt vibe. Tantalizing to the ears, Courtney Johns vocals are expertly honed to perfection.
Rain like Gold is track six and sounds as though it has been multi- layered to produce an absolutely amazing piece of music.
Through the use of carefully placed echo and distortion, obviously adherent with dub-electronica; the group manage to allow the track to expand and evolve into this more enhanced sound which they call Roots-tronic. The fast rising beats allow trajectory to manifest, The lyrics rain fall, fall on me are sublime.
Track seven ‘Gonna be alright’ is a great Roots-tronic version of Courtney Johns original, the digital elements further enhancing its production. The track is ecstatic as it plays through a host of carefully blended sampled sounds. The trio’s contribution becomes more aware to listeners as the track progresses. The harmony of vocals blended together is wonderfully warm and reassuring.
The wizard takes the lead on vocals with track eight, fusing traditional sound capability with digital elements to produce a grass roots feel. Jungle Pickney is treated with vigour thus making it steeped in roots and culture. The lyrics affirm: “I am a concrete Jungalist no fear in this heart” adding a nice singjay style to the overall production of the track.With rising beats that run on, the vocals affirm, ‘I am a warrior’ then fade out but potentially keep listeners wanting more. This has good balance in its delivery, an excellent tune that can easily encourage listeners to rise to their feet and dance, while becoming true roots-tronic steppers .
The ninth track is interestingly called Exploria. It sounds as though it brings the listener through an overall mix-mash of all tunes on the album.
In actuality this is a wonderfully crafted version of Rain like Gold.
Exploria is like an enormous rhythm factory; overwhelming, but in a good way.
A superb track worthy of awe and appreciation.
With the final track number ten: Transistor Symphony as the name suggests brings a sense of satellites projecting to far off reaches. Through sampled sounds, vocals and keyboard the trio are very much a unit with this album. This is an excellent version of nothing for free, but is actually much more as it hones all the Roots-tronic elements in one tune; shaping it into something uniquely different. There is great clarity in this conclusive final track; the instrumentation is sharp and this pulls the album together bringing on the wow-factor as the tune fades.
The Wizard and Steven Marsden’s input with the production is extremely creative; in their ability to lend futuristic other-worldly elements to each track.
This is an interesting album that is well balanced in its delivery, the trio are acutely aware of “Future’s” direction and vision. The Courtney John Project have an enormous album right here. It has so much to offer; exciting in its ability to captivate listeners and is a true fusion album.
Describing themselves as 100% provocative, that is exactly what this is; a truly sublime album from beginning to end. Each track is potentially a hit in its own right. It is obvious that the time put in to this hotly anticipated album, was necessary to produce such an amazingly new digital sound. Each track flows perfectly into the next; running like a continuous narrative, uplifting yet grounded at the same time it locks down an enormous creative effort that is bursting to be set free. Every song is so interestingly different.
It is difficult to identify the instrumentation on every track but that is not important. What each composition shows, is how capable and adaptable the Courtney John project are in developing their new sound.
If this album is anything to go by, the future of The Courtney John Project looks promising.