Out 27th May, the “Red String Riddim EP” highlights the standout track “Pressure I feat. Yaz Alexander & Benjamin Zephaniah” which was released earlier in the year on Tru Thoughts via the acclaimed Sharp And Ready compilation, a showcase for the label’s UK Sound System Culture wing. Expanding on this riddim, in time-honoured reggae tradition, this new EP package boasts a fury of dubs, instrumentals and outstanding vocals from Jason Bradshaw (AKA Ghost Writerz lead vocalist Jimmy Screech), acclaimed Roots MC Ramon Judah, Joe Burns & Mike Wiley.
The Sea aka Corin Pennington’s “Red String Riddim EP” reveals the London producer’s flair for capturing and recreating a unique reggae sound with a classic ‘70s/’80s vibe. Having spent much of his time listening to both raw early live reggae records, and the far more produced sounds of Bob Marley, Ijahman and Third World, Corin has also been lucky enough to have worked alongside musicians like Toots, Third World, Jimmy Cliff and Buju Banton who have helped influence his brand and his production style today.
Starting things off, “Pressure I (Red String Riddim)” is one for the more conscious listeners and DJs. Its iconic one-drop rhythm is ignited by the Brummie vocals of songstress Yaz Alexander and Dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah alongside reggae production from The Sea. A stalwart of the reggae scene, Alexander’s sultry calls for an uprising encase a revolutionary message of optimism from Zephaniah, for those weighted heavily by social pressures and in need of some poetic healing. “Pressure I was inspired by happenings like the everyday struggles of the underprivileged and how amidst it all they still survive” Yaz explains.
Agreeing with Yaz, Benjamin adds “I wanted to inspire people to rise up and not be afraid to make sacrifices. I have done chanting in a biblical style because I grew up in the church and I find there is a very persuasive power in the way that the psalms and other biblical texts are written, and even more power in the way some of the preachers perform in the black churches. So I wanted to take that style and apply it to the issues that we face today.”
Digging deep, and taking inspiration from the Pinchers song “Bandelero”, second track “Like Them A Don” sees acclaimed Ghost Writerz MC Jimmy Screech offering up his melodic and fiery flow as he speaks out to those who remember what dancehall and reggae was like in the early ‘90s. This is followed by “Someday” which was recorded at the heart of London’s new sound system scene in Unit 137’s studio and features the enchanting and spiritual vocals of renowned roots MC Ramon Judah.
The EP also showcases important newcomers from the UK roots and reggae scene like Joe Burns, who has long-time links with The Sea. In “Still Want More” Joe’s engagement with the one-drop rhythm creates phenomenal energy as the lyrics draw on the everyday greed that the younger generation face in today’s society. Final vocal track “Walk With Zion” features Bristolian sound system veteran Mark Wiley, whose pensive words leave you questioning your righteous path.
Corin grew up in London to the steady vibrations of 1970s sound systems set in amongst the conflicting political hues of the time. His debut EP, launched via the Sound System platform of Brighton’s eclectic Tru Thoughts imprint, channels a current and nuanced UK roots and reggae sound with a revolutionary message. This summer The Sea is looking forward to hitting the festival circuit as well as uncovering a new project with Benjamin Zephaniah. Each track on the EP will be followed with a music video, the first in the series you can watch here featuring Benjamin Zephaniah and Yaz Alexander.