By Liam Monaghan
‘Microphones And Sofas’ is the debut album from London based Jago, set to drop 19th February on Tru Thoughts via the label’s fruitful UK Sound System Culture platform Sharp And Ready. The album is heavily influenced by the jungle era that surrounded Jago when he was growing up. Jungle becomes a branch extended from the influence of Reggae that is apparent in this album. Jagos messages are strong and political throughout and have meaning. Featuring collaborations with fellow members of the Sharp And Ready (and Unit 137) family – including RTKal, Ed West, Hylu, Ghost Writerz, Galak Spiritual and Bahia – alongside Chief Rockas and more, this album spotlights some of the most progressive and talented MCs, producers & DJs working in the current UK Dub, Reggae and Dancehall scene.
Behind the music, the album title marks a significant period of instability in Jago’s life. Striving to develop and progress as a musician, while living in a different city from his daughter and determined to spend time with her, Jago has spent the last three years technically homeless, sleeping on sofas at different studios, rehearsal rooms and friends’ houses.
The lead single “Struggling” features the soulful vocals of French MC Galak Spiritual on issues of poverty and social injustice which resonate through Chief Rockas’ dub vibrations. I like this record because its jumpy, its out there and wild with dub splatters and wild hornlines.
“Undercover” to me feels like it’s based on an old school 90s dancehall riddim redigitalised. The drumming in this track is a little all over the place to keep the track fresh. Jagos delivery is fast, slick and you can see he gets his influences from soundsystem culture.
“Lost My Way” was excited to see Riddi Tuffa’s name at the end of this track. Clear message in this song which reflects not losing sight and staying on the path. Jago uses a scenario of going home from a club/dance.
‘World Wide’ comes across more of a hip hop style beat but Jagos style with production fuses a range of influences. What we have as an overall is an urban album from the streets from an artist who has been through hardship and is talented plus surrounded by talented musicians. Interesting stuff from Jago!
Jago will be performing at the Magic Roundabout, London 5th March for the launch of Concrete Roots more information on the Facebook event: