REVIEW: I-Taweh – Judgement

By Liam Monaghan

We have a new album from I-Taweh who is a Reggae veteran and has been in the scene for a fair amount of time. I-Taweh is no stranger to performing live on stage and working with bands on live concerts, some of those artists he’s worked with include Capleton, Anthony B & Tanya Stephens. I-Taweh is also a renowned studio session artist in Jamaica and has created 16 wonderful riddims for this new album. 

This is his second studio album and it is titled Judgement,  it follows from previous the album Overload that was released in 2011. Many artists build riddims themselves and some get a set of individuals together and then jam away in the studio till something works and alternatively its becoming more apparent that house spent in front of a Macbook seems to be the way. However I-Taweh is responsible for pretty much everything you will hear in this album, apart from input from Dean Fraser & recently deceased Nambo Robinson who was the go to trombonist for many Reggae artists and features on hundreds or maybe even a thousand riddims and records you may have in your collection. Two veterans offered input on this album, but with Taweh doing everything, Lets hope there’s flexibility and versatility in this album and it doesn’t sound all the same.

Black Maria
I nice way to open the album with some Roots rock Reggae is the tone here. I like that I-Taweh’s voice has some authenticity and an old Patois tone to it, which really cuts some individuality to the record. The track is pretty simple and very easily listening. It’s interesting to know that Taweh has created everything you hear. The hook is nice and catchy and you can imagine chilling out to this on a beach or in the back garden in summer.

My Guitar
Roots rock vibes here on this track following on from Black Maria, and its clear that in this track Taweh is paying homage to his guitar. The message here is that by playing the guitar he can escape his issues and he feels safe. There’s some personal history in the track that is interesting as Taweh talks about being a child, which is touching. There’s not too much to the riddim itself though.

Make It
Enter the brass, love some brass! We’re moving a little more up beat with this track compared to the previous two records. However, its lacking in some substance, ‘I Know, That we’re going to make it’ rings out throughout which is nice, the song is positive and is a easy listen. Before people moan about listening on a more… spiritual level, the track is a nice track, with the voice that Taweh possesses, id like to hear some versatility from him.

Judgement
Probably my favourte Riddim so far. The riddim is very much a steppas riddim, for me personally there’s a nice bassline and some wicked brass sections. The harmonies work perfect to compliment Taweh’s speeches and tones. I like this track; it’s probably the track that will get the forward in a live element. I hope there are a few more tracks of this caliber later on in the album.

Battlefield
Back to the Roots, I was hoping in the arrangement we would get another upbeat and lively track but either way, taking into consideration the previous tracks excluding Judgment, this is probably one of the stronger tracks on the album. The lyrics are thoughtful and strong with empowerment.

Never Fade Away
This track would be perfect for a collaboration, id love to hear someone like Alborosie or Jesse Royal deliver a verse on this track. It’s the perfect speed and upbeat vibe that another voice would have raised the bar on this track to another level. Taweh does deliver on this track though, I do like it personally. There are some nice messages and a focus on sending love to the people.

Guinep Tree
Prepare to be chilled out! A nice relaxing track from I-Taweh here. The riddim again seems quite reused and doesn’t have anything special to it. Im sure I can hear Dean Fraser delivering his wonderfulness throughout which is the only change in terms of the riddim. I do like the lyrics on this track, it’s a passionate love track where I-Taweh expresses his desire to the persona.

Hold On
Another riddim that isn’t… out there. I honestly believe that I-Taweh has a great voice with some distinguishable features but the riddims really need to be jazzed up. All the tracks so far have been nice and easy listening and Hold On is another perfect example. You have to pay maximum respect to the fact I-Taweh has build the riddims from scratch and this is a nice riddim. Check the lyrics and you’ll find some motivational comments from Taweh.

No Night
Bring on the horns! Really like this riddim, up there with Judgment for me as one of the stronger riddims on the album. Taweh can really hit those high notes and it isn’t showcased enough on the album, we hear the scale hit in this track and it suits his style much more! Expect wandering basslines, trippy drumming and some bold horn lines.

Come Away
As we reach the end of our Journey before the final track and some dubs we have Come Away. The track is another easy listen and I can see the live element in this track but nothing jumps out creating anything exciting. I like the harmonies and the story telling though but this track doesn’t jump out at me like Judgment did.

One Room Shack
A nice way to end the album with the focus being on I-Taweh’s favorite instrument being the guitar. I do actually really like this track; it’s up there with one of my favorites off this album. It’s very stripped back with some gentle drumming and some soft guitar playing which hosts Tawehs vocal harmonies and really allows him to show off his vocals.

A nice album overall and that’s very much how to describe the album… Nice. There’s not really much to say. Someone who has such a gifted voice and is musically talented I would expect to hear some range and a mix up in tracks. Spiritually there are tracks you can definitely relate to. In regards for just listening and relaxing this is a great album, but if you’re looking for some weight bass or some versatility in tempos and style, this isn’t for you. I do like the album and I’d recommend it for the Roots Reggae lover as there is depth and respect in this album and it is well put together.


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