Ras Teo – Timeless
Title: Ras Teo – Timeless
Label: Forward Bound | Format: CD-DR | Street date: April 7, 2017 | Website: Ras Teo
- Greedy Joe
- Hands Up For Africa feat. Sizzla
- Jah Roar
- Gi Dem
- Pack Up Your Bags feat. Pablo Gad
- Holy Of The Holy
- He Is JAH
In a Rootsman’s career, there’s one (sometimes more) album that truly defines the essence of that messenjah; an album whose undiluted power is embraced by the international arena. Until now, RAS TEO’s defining project was his third offering, “Bredda Daniel”, released in 2015. Well, two years have passed and one Dub album later; this focused Rastaman has undeniably released a new album that totally builds on the Zionesque properties of that masterpiece. “TIMELESS” is an example of an “all in” talent raising the levels and fueled by a blazing Fyah. Another defining musical moment? Yes indeed!!
RAS TEO (Teo Hartoonian) is a Los Angeles based Rootsman with Swedish/Armenian roots. He embarked on his career in 2000. Eager to release solid music, his earliest sides were with Dread & Fred, King Earthquake, Reuben Addis and many more. His debut album, “Mystic Morning” (2009) and sophomore, “Show I The Way” (2011) are powerful offerings with qualities of a true veteran. All the while, the Roots community took notice and singles with Johnny Clarke and Prince Alla surfaced. He developed a Family tight bond with legendary statesman Fred Locks and this helped the realization of “Bredda Daniel” sessions at Caveman Studio. There’s a lot of upcoming works coming from RAS TEO in the near future.
“TIMELESS” is an international affair; manifested in the same vein as “Bredda Daniel”. Recorded at Caveman(JA), Red Rum Studio (Los Angeles) and Guidance (UK); it exudes a broad sound. Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace returns in kingly character with assistance from Nicky Rimshot, Zachary Dorne and taut drums from the late, great Style Scott. Bassie Ricky Roots Tafari returns; anchoring the riddims. Guitars are licked by the veteran Phillip Porter, Boi (longtime Ras Teo family) and Jamie Downtown; they all played on “Bredda Daniel”. UK legend I David (David Arrowsmith) is vital on keys, melodica alongside Ashanti Selah. Important to mention that I David has been a consistent element in this messenjah’s career. RAS TEO brought in the Royal horn section of Calvin “Bubbles” Cameron & Vivian Scott; who truly elevate this sound! Foundation elder Bongo Herman is hypnotic on percussion. Backing vox are ethereal from Isha Bel, Everton “Caveman” Moore, Matt Tryggs, Stephen Bertrand and George “Wild Life” Scott (dynamic singer in his own right). Mix and mastering by Boi; this is another co-production from Ras Teo & I David.
“Greedy Joe” kicks off the set in fine style. Ras Teo delivers in a Bernard Collins caliber delivery. ABYSSINIANS atmosphere indeed with textured bubbling and Horsemouth’s taut drumming. Powerful dynamics here. “Hands Up For Africa” is uplifted with a sizzling contribution from Sizzla. This was the first video from the album and Judgement Yard flows throughout. This is a solid anthem intertwining Teo’s soulful intellect and Sizzla’s fyah over a lava hot riddim. Great arrangement!! “Jah Roar” is ZION high by the score. Bubbles and Vivian’s horn section elevates the anchored riddim so nice. Ras Teo’s faith and total devotion to Rastafari is exemplified with thoughtful lyrics and a delivery that really draws in the listener. Horsemouth’s drumming is intoxicatingly beautiful with Ricky’s bass work. Boom! The magic continues with “Everyday”. Horns up, levels up and Ras Teo delivering in a Royal chanting manner -“six feet is not the way”. A undiluted observation of tribulations in Life. The title track is instant rewinder all the way. A textured riddim with solid licks and kicks, this is a serious Roots track with truthful utterances of days of old. History indeed. Ras Teo is a superb songwriter and this track truly displays his talent.
“Gi Dem” is a Rockers delight. Teo firing on all cylinders riding a skanking riddim ripe with ethereal backing vox, Bongo Herman’s hypnotic percussion and triumphant horns. A tour de force in King’s Music! Legendary Rootsman Pablo Gad has been a driving influence throughout Ras Teo’s life and both of them rise to the heights on “Pack Up Your Bags”. Standout selection! This combination intertwines so naturally; JAH destiny. “Pack up your bags with your Gideon boots and lets go to Mt. Zion”. Lyrics to riddim in pure triumphancy. “Forevah” is all ises to The Most High. I David’s keyboard work is bubbling right and Calvin/Vivian’s blasts drift like a natural mystic. Ras Teo flows like a mighty river; this is an artist who truly lives his Life as Rasta and this is so evident in his lyrical depth. “Holy Of The Holy” is deepest Roots. I-David’s melodica work has graced countless works and is Pabloesque here. Big mention to Boi, who mixes these Royal tracks flawlessly. “Why” is sheer brilliance. Veteran gitsy Phillip Porter delivers serious licks and Zachary Dorne delivers taut kicks. A soulful anthem that’s organic in all aspects. Early in Ras Teo’s career, there was some Digital atmosphere that totally worked but his organic approach of the last few albums is a Blessed thing! This album closes with the powerful, “He Is Jah”. Jah acoustic vibrations abound on this exaltation of His Imperial Majesty. Pure Heart and Soul showers like rain. A Royal example of the diversity of the musical strength of singer and players of instruments.