Prince Polo – Brooklyn Bodega
1.) The Red Phone
2.) Lo Que Siento
3.) Witness Protection
4.) La Morena
5.) On The Soul Train
6.) Bodega Bullfight
7.) Calling Me
9.) It’s The Deub
10.) Saladin’s Massacre
12.) Witness Protection
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: October 18th, 2011
Record Label: Dubshot Records
Official Website: Prince Polo Facebook
Prince Polo, born Billy Szeflinski, is a Brooklyn-based dub producer, musician and engineer. He’s been active in reggae music in the late 90’s, and has recently gained recognition for his progressive approach to recording and mixing reggae music. As sound engineer at The Kennel Studios, he’s mixed a wide array of reggae artists including Eek A Mouse, I Wayne, Rebelution, The Expandables, Lee Perry and more. He is also a regular member of The Cool & The Deadly, and the chief engineer for the Dub Rockers project with VP/Greensleeves Records, which will feature artists such as Inner Circle, Fishbone, Bad Brains, Slightly Stoopid and more.
Producer Prince Polo’s latest full-length, Brooklyn Bodega, features heavy dub soundscapes and bass EQ deeper than the Pacific Ocean. Flashes of reggae, Latin and Italian sounds drift through the record, crafting a portrait of the borough’s ethnically diverse population.
Prince Polo’s primary strength lies in his skill at the soundboard. As an engineer, he’s at his best when taking complete advantage of open space to craft electrifying musical topographies. On tracks such as “It’s The Dub” and “Saladin’s Massacre,” Polo allows snare drums to fly and bass to burrow while crafting a gooey mesh for the instruments to swim and, at times, slice through.
Unlike many dub producers, Prince Polo has an uncanny ability to bring his mixing techniques to genres other than reggae. Latin music in particular plays a large role in Brooklyn Bodega, though Polo’s approach is still distinctly reggae informed. “La Morena” features a Latin melody and a cumbia beat, but the track is still washed in reverb and skittering percussion delay. Likewise “Bodega Bullfight,” wrapped in seductive Spanish horns, still retains a mile-wide bassline and a murky ambiance reminiscent of King Tubby.
Most strong music production paints a glossy sheen over the music. Prince Polo, on the other hand, drowns sound in a carefully, constructed sheet of silence and mad scientist engineering. He takes the role of a producer a step forward, not simply painting, but sculpting the sound aesthetics, shifting various elements to produce a textural glow that rises and drops with its own moods and ambitions. It is psychedelic and participatory, forming a unique relationship between engineer and recording that so naturally fits reggae music.
Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro
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