There are certain styles of music that can completely alter the way one's mind thinks about music. It's rather paradoxical to think about the cognitive effects that music can cause on your brain, but on a subconscious level, music can be the most powerful energy in the world. As trite as this may sound, it is probably held true to most of the users on Sputnik Music. Upon first listen of the Canadian Reggae roots band Bedouin Soundclash, this is how I personally felt. The band, whose members have a full knowledge and repertoire of reggae, dub, and ska musical styles, put their own spin on the reggae genre, with soulful vocal harmonies, thumping, upbeated rhythms, and lush, floating organ arrangements. Their debut full length album, Sounding A Mosaic (2004) juxtaposes all of these aspects into one rich, dry sound, that can be the perfect soundtrack for relaxation or easing a hard day. Sounding A Mosaic, produced by Bad Brain's bassist Darryl Jenifer, is a spacey, rich-in-sound album that will make any listener feel good.
Being only a three piece band (with the occasional guest musician), Bedouin Soundclash take a minimalistic sound, and turn it into the deepest of quality. Each song on it's own has a depth that has only been achieved by a handful of groups, in addition to the pure, raw grooving hooks that adorn the entirety of the album, throughout all of the fifteen tracks. Singer Jay Malinowski possesses an unmistakeable, raspy voice that contains about as much clarity as the punctuated grooves that his bandmates spit out. The feel good acoustic guitar strumming fronting a fluid rhythm section of drummer Pat Pengelly and bassist Eon Sinclair. The drum beats kept simple, yet interesting, while the basslines flourish a lush, deep stream of richness around the minor chords that Jay upstrokes. What is remarkable about Bedouin is their abstinance from effect laden string tones, refraining from the use of wah, and keeping their overall sound one hundred percent dry and natural.
Malinowski's voice is probably the most distinctive aspect of Bedouin's sound, with his crossover between Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. His lyrics are original and inventive, even if they are almost always incomprehendible. From lyrical material ranging from the pure energy of singing songs in the night, to the youthful qualities of humans, and the ever present social topic- politics. As always with reggae, there is a subdued political influence, as seen on songs as Murder on the Midnight Wire and Immigrant Workforce. The notable use of voice samplings, very similar in style to Sublime's April 26, 1992, is a more noticably provocative political suggestion. The band's subtle and seldom use of electric organ is a quiet addition of pure energy to their sound, as it lightly graces between the stuttering, thumping basslines and the head bobbing guitar chords.
Unfortunately, Sounding A Mosaic is a brief happening in music that epitomizes what today's modern music industry can produce. The trio's clean, crisp effort on writing and recording this album is near flawless- a generalization that is difficult to find in the industry as of late. Whether it be Malinowski's soaring vocals, or the raw, yet subdued energy that spans the entirety of the record, Bedouin Soundclash are a band that have changed my standpoint on music in an almost entirely different direction. As open-minded as it can possibly get, Bedouin Soundclash should never go as unnoticed as they have been.