Review: Alific – Echoes From The Soul

Review: Alific – Echoes From The Soul

Alific- Echoes From The Soul
Track Listing:
1.) Echoes From The Soul
2.) Up to Me
3.) Live Up
4.) Fat Drops
5.) The Cost
6.) Vibe Slinger
7.) Lucid Eyes
8.) Under Arrest
9.) Madness
10.) Feet to the Breeze
11.) I Wish
12.) My Destiny
13.) Innercity Dubpression
14.) Midnight of the Loon

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: Sept 10th, 2013
Release Label: Rootfire Records
Website: Alific Website

Group Background:
The man behind Alific is artist/producer Brendan Dane. Dane lived in San Diego for six years and played bass in the reggae band Stick Figure. In early 2011, he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he was exposed to the DJ and electronic downtempo scene. His reggae-dub sound began to evolve, influenced by D.C. nightlife and local talent. Recording sessions followed, where he experimented with mixing reggae bass lines and down-tempo beats. This will be Alific’s 2nd full length album and the first under Rootfire Records.

Album Review:
Producers have the hardest job in music, especially when producing their own record. It is not an easy thing to do and can simply turn into a never-ending process of frustrating endless nights tweaking sounds while completion turns into a mirage that you may never reach. I kept all of this in mind while reviewing Alific’s latest release Echoes From the Soul. Echoes from the Soul is a collection of some catchy songs featuring guest artists paired with instrumental Reggae tracks that have dub elements, but at their core…are not dub. In any case, the direction Alific is going is outside the norm of the Reggae Rock community and I would love to see him dig even deeper into his downtempo influence.

“My destiny” is one of my favorite’s songs on the album & I was surprised to see this hidden on the album at song 12. This song features the vocals of Lenny Kurlou and he delivers his verses with an authentic, humble voice. “Under Arrest” will garner the most attention on the album because it features Stick Figure & is mixed really well. This is a minor chord Rhythm with a heavy rolling bass line highlighting Stick Figure’s vocals and is begging for a dub version.

I was very excited to hear about the collaborations with Frank Mitchell Jr. of Thievery Corporation. Thievery Corporation is an insane group of Producers and props to Alific for pulling Frank in to compliment the songs as Frank’s Tenor sax can be heard throughout the release.

“Up to Me”, “Live Up” and “The Cost” sound heavily influenced by Slightly Stoopid and will be fan favorites for the Reggae Rock enthusiast. I believe listeners will consider “Up to Me” a high point on the record as the vocals have a lazy feel and are supported by layers of synth’s and harmonies that make this track a summertime rocker.

“Vibe Slinger” instantly made me think of Beck and showed me the potential Alific has as a producer/song writer and I found myself wanting more of this and less of the Reggae Rock inspired songs. “Lucid Eyes” is a solid instrumental, reminiscent of Thievery Corporation. I felt like this was the best representation of the sound Alific is moving towards by mixing Downtempo and Reggae Rhythms.

“Feet to the Breeze” is actually the “Full Up Riddim” by Leroy Sibbles which was originally made famous by The Mighty Diamonds with their version of “Pass the Kutchie”. This Riddim has been used 260+ times over the years by different artists and although a fundamental aspect of Reggae is reusing rhythms, you still expect each version to bring something different and unique and I do not think this was accomplished here.

With this album, there are some things on the low end of the mix that in my opinion could have used clarity, and possibly a second ear during the mix/master. This is the second release from Alific and with the musicians he is surrounding himself with, I think there are only good things to come. The Album really grew on me over the course of the review and I praise Alific for incorporating the influences he has in this record. This is a release that will get more Reggae Rock fans introduced to the Downtempo/Reggae side of the house. There are some songs I felt could have been done better, but the highlights outweigh any negatives.

Written & Reviewed By: Tommy Dubs (of A Sunny Place For Shady People)

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