Remember when you used to hear Reggae on the radio? Shabba, Sean, Beanie; wherefore art thou? That question could possibly be answered by asking “What happened to the radio;” but that’s another article. As music changes and as radio evolves, the aforementioned artists became typecast as one-track reggae artists, and thus became dispensable when it came to radio play and cross-genre appeal. Music in 2011 worldly. Artists are successful when they appeal to a multitude of listeners. Think of some of the most popular artists right now.
Enter Akshan; Jamaican born artist residing in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia)area. I call him an artist because he is just that. On his website, he’s classified as Reggae Hip Fusion Alternative. What the heck does that mean? It means nobody puts Akshan in a box. As a matter of fact, after seeing Akshan perform, all boxes get obliterated. Akshan is releasing his 2nd full CD, entitled Island Rocker. He’s an independent artist, with a major sound and has the potential to be a star in the DMV, and beyond.
Island Rocker is very musical and melodic. After one full listen, I found myself humming and singing along with the tracks. The album is unique, yet familiar and memorable. Akshan’s harmonies and musicality make Island Rocker more than a Reggae album; more complex than a typical R&B album; not necessarily pop. I guess its “Reggae Hip Fusion Alternative.” The lead-off single “Jealous Type,” produced by up and coming producer, Arsonal, was preliminarily released in 2010 and received extremely positive feedback and over 10,000 internet downloads.
Highlights of Island Rocker are many. With album reviews, I usually like to highlight three or four tracks to give readers a taste of what to expect on the album. For Island Rocker, it took me a while to figure out which three I would highlight. I would be completely justified by highlighting 8 of the 10 tracks on the album; but I have to give you a reason to go out and support Akshan.
I’ll attempt to capture the brightest moments on Island Rocker as only I can.
Rolling Stone; a well produced and arranged song. You really get to hear Akshan’s vocal ability in this song. The constant pressing of the keys and strings highlight the melody perfectly. Akshan croons “I’m a Rollin’ Stone…watch my go by aye aye.” This is music you listen to when you’re going 85 on GW Parkway on a cool fall evening; with the top down; singing at the top of your lungs at ignorant levels. I’m not the only one that does that, right?
Pearl: Another smooth joint from Akshan; tight vocal harmonies; excellent arrangement; honest lyrics. The melody of this song is truly the highlight. And who can be mad at the surprise vocals of DMV’s rising songstress, Laura Song. (Get familiar with Ms. Song…I’ll tell you about her soon!).
February Soft: Another vocal standout, February Soft tugs at the heart strings of listeners. Akshan’s falsetto riffs and harmonic tones, perfectly compliment the acoustic guitar.
Californicate – Akshan’s diversity shines on this track. He’s coined a style called Euro-Yardie; yardie being a Jamaican or someone from the English-speaking Caribbean. The song starts out like a world-euro-tune; heavy synth and a poppy drum sound. His album is so melodic that you forget that this dude can spit that Yardie talk that could move the most underground dancehall. His Yardie-flow is on a 1000 at the end of this track. I wish he had a few more moments like this on the album.
Island Rocker definitely delivers a unique perspective on popular music. This is one of the few albums that I’ve heard recently where I can listen straight through. There is something on here for everyone. I need radio stations in the DMV to tune in. You don’t want to miss the boat on this Island Rocker!
Island Rocker is available for download now…
For more information about Akshan, check out his website – www.akshanmusic.com
You can also follow Akshan on your favorite social networks:
Akshan on Twitter.
Akshan on Facebook.