From Ever Since - Aketi Ray - F-IRECD80 (2018)
Aketi Ray are an all acoustic dub-jazz group, playing original compositions grounded in the instrumental music of post- independence Jamaica: ska, rocksteady, reggae, rockers, dub but drawing inspiration and influence from Ethiopian and US jazz, west African percussion traditions, all with the mind set of UK steppas. An international sound: Kingston to Chicago to Addis Ababa to Dakar to London. The debut LP From Ever Since draws on the vibes and heritage of pre-electric music, but gives that traditional sound new power through the use of modern dub techniques.
Band leader ‘Mikus’ Gorecki explains: “At the time I was listening to a lot of tuff digital dub tunes, and much as I love that sound still, I thought there was a lack of dubwise music getting made that had that live feel of the 60s and 70s. At the same time I didn’t want to just rehash the past – the best you can do is come close to replicating that sound, you definitely won’t beat it. So I decided to try something different, and bring in other connected jazz and African influences to the mix. ”
“Sometimes when people fuse different music traditions it can sound a bit of a collage, the elements are all there but they don’t actually fuse together. I think we have our own sound, and it’s greater than the sum of its parts.”
The compositions are forward-looking, form-pushing, and although there are no vocals, they are message-driven; concerned with conditions of modern life, spirituality and politics. Mikus says “The music definitely has a message. Each track has a very clear subject in mind when writing it, but it’s down to the listener to tune in to that and take from that what they will. I find you can say more with the abstract language of music than you can in words.”
The debut release from Aketi Ray featured a reworking of the lead track ‘Mirror’ by UK dub legends Alpha & Omega, and came out on Alpha Steppa’s Steppas Records. Mikus says “Alpha & Omega remain a huge influence on me and also on the Aketi Ray sound. The track ‘Mirror’ was partially influenced by an old Alpha & Omega tune called ‘Show Me A Purpose’. For Alpha & Omega to rework it was a huge honour, and felt like the completing of a circle of inspiration.”
“One of the great things about the UK dub scene is that its small and intimate…you go to dances and start seeing the same faces, and the opportunity to make connections is there. The link to A&O came about like that – through making links through a mutual love of the music, and one thing leading to another.”