Massilia Sound System

3968 CR13

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

To say that Massilia Sound System is the best reggae band in Marseilles would sound like damning with faint praise, so let's say that Massilia Sound System is simply one of the freshest and most exciting reggae bands recording anywhere, a tight collective of DJs, singers, and songwriters who have managed to integrate the regional patois and traditional instruments of Provence with a thoroughly modern hip-hop- and jungle-inflected dancehall reggae. Singing and speed-rapping in both French and Occitan (French translations are provided where necessary in the liner notes), the boys of Massilia alternate between joyful celebrations of their region and their neighborhoods ("Occitanin Hokin," "Lei Companhs de Fin Amour") and more cynical social and political analyses ("Tout le Monde Ment," " Tartarassas e Vautors"). Musically, the sound alternates between techno-flavored hip-hop (complete with some fairly virtuosic turntable manipulation), jungly dancehall, and even the occasional dose of old-school one-drop reggae. The band has certainly matured since their 1992 debut, but there aren't any songs on this album that stand out the way "Canon Es Canon" and "Violent" did on that one. Still, this is an excellent addition to the Massilia catalog and is highly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:21 Amazon
2 4:36 Amazon
3 4:38 Amazon
4 3:48 Amazon
5 3:17 Amazon
6 4:45 Amazon
7 5:15 Amazon
8 1:29 Amazon
9 2:38 Amazon
10 3:34 Amazon
11 3:40 Amazon
12 2:21 Amazon
13 3:38 Amazon
14 2:37 Amazon
15 2:42 Amazon
16 2:18 Amazon
17 3:25 Amazon
18 4:53 Amazon
19 5:00 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick