Roots Architects – From Then ‘Til Now

by May 20, 2024Mini-Review, Reviews

Roots Architects - From Then 'Til Now

Release Info

Fruits Records
Street date
May 3, 2024
Website Record Label


Side A
1. 1000 Light Years
2. In The Shadow
3. Whitewater
4. Memories Of Old
5. Rose Hall’s Birds

Side B
1. Squirrel Inna Barrel
2. Under The Cotton Tree
3. 45 Charles Street
4. Everlasting Love

The producers and musicians of Switzerland-based Fruits Records began their incredible roots reggae journey almost a decade ago and managed to atttract international attention with several acclaimed releases from Jamaican artists such as I Kong, Oku Onuora, Derajah, and The Inspirators as well as their own bands, The 18th Parallel and Cosmic Shuffling. Given their often great sounding original compositions, it would make sense if they were ever to do a entirely instrumental album with Jamaican players of instruments. And that’s what they did!

Entitled From Then ‘Til Now, Fruits Records’ latest album release showcases 9 instrumental tracks by the Roots Architects, a group of more than 50 top session musicians from Jamaica, whose work spans from the birth of reggae in the late 1960s to the present day. The extensive roster of musicians collaborating on this project reads like a veritable “who’s who” of reggae, both past and present. Alongside iconic figures such as Sly Dunbar, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, Lloyd Parks, Flabba Holt, Ernest Ranglin, Dwight Pinkney, Vin Gordon, and Stephen “Cat” Coore, are also the unforgettable names of Robbie Shakespeare, Fil Callender, Dalton Browne, Mikey “Boo” Richards, and Winston “Bo Pee” Bowen, all of whom have passed away after their work on this project.

The album starts with one of two familiar instrumentals, 1000 Light Years. Previously released on 7″ vinyl, this majestic dark heavy roots instrumental is performed by several original members of the High Times Players from the early 1980s. Another previous 7″ single included on the A-side is titled Memories Of Old. This captivating rocksteady piece features solos by Ernest Ranglin, who truly shines on guitar, and Tyrone Downie on organ. In between, listeners can fulljoy the horn-infused track In the Shadow. Enhanced with dub effects, this instrumental truly shines on the album. The energetic In the Shadow is then followed by the relaxed vibe of Whitewater, which is a delightful treat for the ears. Rose Hall’s Birds is responsible for both keeping the quality high from the previous selections as well as putting a bow on the first half of From Then ‘Til Now, and it does adequately in those cases. The flawless energy of the album’s first side carries over to the B-side. The solos on organ, guitar, and horn in Squirrel Inna Barrel make this one great to hear, and the catchy Under The Cotton Tree perfectly complements the previous track. Listeners are brought more charm and pleasantness by the throughout entertaining 45 Charles Street. The last track on the flip side, the superb Everlasting Love, features the riddim twins Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser on sax, and the remarkable guitar play by Senegalese musician Papis “Peace” Diouf.

No matter who stumbles upon the Roots Architects’ From Then ‘Til Now, they will discover a top-tier project created by true masters of their craft, who have played a vital role in shaping reggae music.

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