Review: Tatanka – Tatanka

Review: Tatanka – Tatanka


Tatanka – Tatanka
Track Listing:
1.) 100 Weight
2.) Make It Count
3.) Give Green (feat. Tristan Palmer)
4.) Easy
5.) Reward Them
6.) Above The Sky
7.) Hear Me Now (feat. E.N Young)
8.) Mango
9.) Show Me Love
10.) The Yard (feat. Ted Bowne & Maad T-Ray)
11.) Easy Dubbin
12.) The Dub Yard

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Record Label: Roots Musicians Records
Official Website: Tatanka Website

Group Background:
Homegrown in Denver Colorado, Tatanka is a quartet specializing in the sounds of dub, progressive reggae, dancehall, and electro soundscapes. Heavy Caribbean drum and bass grooves provide the pulse for the party as the music invites you to get down. In March of 2010, Tatanka released their first studio E.P. entitled Sounds in Technicolor. Since 2010, the group has evolved their sound, as well as their following with multiple releases leading up to their self-titled album on Sept 9th, 2014.

Album Review:
Sometimes it takes a little longer to digest an album and really understand what the band is going for to grasp the essence of their art. Like many albums we all have, sometimes it takes many listens to get into our own regular rotation. Maybe this is because the album lacked ‘in-your-face’ material with over the top production, or maybe its because our collective artistic attention span seems to be that of a flea, but in either case some art needs to be understood to be appreciated.

For me this was the case with Tatanka. Tatanka’s self-titled release is a very good album full of dub influenced tracks that span a wide variety of styles and production techniques from dub and 80’s inspired dancehall to more modern sounding synth heavy tracks. For this album Tatanka traveled to San Diego to record at Imperial Sound Recording studio, working with E.N Young at the controls and Co-Producing. EN Young’s additions to this album on keys/organ acted as a great Roots anchor to the bands exploring sound.

The album begins with “100 Weight”, an interesting nod on the 1983 song “100 Weight of Collie Weed” by Carlton Livingston with a modulating synth that underscores the track and really adds an interesting flavor/contrast to the otherwise straight Reggae tune. As the saying goes, “Put your best foot forward” and I really think this is one of the best songs on the record.

“Make it Count”, being pushed as one of the singles, is a catchy, positive and steadfast tune which will draw a lot of people into this record. Another great song featuring a sick bass tone and arpeggiated synth. One thing that is clear throughout the album is Tatanka loves bass! They love the alternating of synth bass and electric bass, paired with the different techniques used on both, really gives this album an interesting sound.

“Give Green” features legendary Jamaican Singjay, Tristan Palmer, which is a great collaboration and a further show of respect to the roots of Reggae music.

“Show Me Love” is Tantanka’s take on the 1985 Sleng Teng Riddim. This is so fitting for the fact that I really see Tatanka as a band that is successfully blending electronic influences with Reggae, much like the original Sleng Teng Riddim. Also, the original Sleng Teng Riddim was a built in sound on the Casio MT-40 which was instrumental in launching digital Reggae.

There is no shortage of talent on this album from the band itself, to the help they enlisted from the Tribal Seeds crew as well as Passafire. “The Yard”, features vocals from Maad T-Ray from Tribal Seeds and Ted Bowne from Passafire. This track tackles legalization in Colorado and hypocritical political agendas.

Tantanka sounds great and is a record that manages to pay homage to its roots, deliver a couple catchy singles as well as define Tatanka’s sound as an out of the mold band that is pushing the reggae-rock genre to a new place. The many dub sections give this record a really stoney feel, but there is also enough there vocally to hook the listener. I really felt like “100 Weight” was the truest representation of the sound that is Tatanka, but found myself wanting a little more of that through out the rest of the album.

Much of this album plays as a roots record and all of the dub treatments are as legit as they get. Tatanka really gets the space in music and their songs blend very well to the production style of E.N Young. Lovers of Dub are going to really enjoy this album as well as fans who are more into the experimental side of reggae-rock.

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

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]