V/A - Best Seven Selections 2 (Best Seven/Sonar Kollektiv)
Daniel W Best is the man behind Best Seven, a Sonar Kollektiv affiliated imprint dedicated to releasing rootsy and soul-steeped reggae from Europe, Australasia and Japan. Many of the tracks on show here have a ‘reggae light’ swagger and come across like the musical equivalent of a sugar free option of a soft drink, but this isn’t always a negative quality. Reggae may have been the starting point for the producers behind the music on show, but many of these soulful gems shine because of their slight lilt towards Jamaica. If they had tried to create authentic reggae, the European studio heads would probably have failed and their tunes would have sounded like cheap imitations. Tracks of note include Boozoo Bajou, Joe Dukie and U-Brown’s careful Take It Slow, Vadim & Kathrin DeBoer’s wicked Black Is The Night and Melassie’s mournful Soulmap. Whether purists would acknowledge the music on show as reggae is questionable, but Best Seven Selections 2 is a wonderful compilation, regardless of classification issues.