Beam Up


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An album dedicated to King Tubby, Innerstand features many more vocal cuts than the legendary Jamaican dub producer would usually allow on one LP, but producer Brian May's Aussie reggae project Beam Up has certainly captured Tubby's love of the hypnotic and restrained groove. Cooled highlight "Dive" finds vocalist/siren Katya Tasheva wooing the listener with "Dive right into the sky" with no fear of flying perceived, while "Ghost Fight" isn't the expected scary mash of dub and haunted house sounds but a shuffling, jazzy number where Terrence Alfonso Bowry vamps like a scat singer. May prefers heavyweight rhythms below and even-keeled, roots reggae melodies up top, with some modern touches from the world of synths and sampling making his brand of reggae identifiably 21st century, plus forward-thinking when it comes to sonics. The album also arcs and flows like a chill-out room soundtrack -- a callback to the days when May was a DJ and party planner -- so consider it whenever fashionable lofts begin to smell like spliffs, or any other gathering where refined and restrained reggae fits the bill.

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