Lest anyone think that Akae Beka cannot hold up to the works that Vaughn Benjamin accomplished with Midnite, I suggest you have a listen to “Well Said” from their new I-Grade collaboration project titled Portals. I have always credited I-Grade and Midnite for pushing the boundaries of modern roots reggae on every one of their brilliant releases. So when Vaughn Benjamin departed Midnite and formed Akae Beka I had concerns regarding the new band’s ability to measure up to the standard set by the brothers Benjamin with Midnite. The new album put all of those fears to rest as it explores new and unique soundscapes that I’ve never heard from a reggae act.
Check the guitar work of Akae Beka guitarist Padraic Coursey in “Well Said.” On this tune, and throughout the album, he single-handedly redefines the role of the reggae lead guitarist. His experimentation with heavy rock riffs and abstract atmospherics is something entirely new to reggae. I don’t know how he got this sound from the guitar but it is extraordinary.
Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred and his I-Grade production house continue to create and innovate in ways that no other modern outfit can touch. In my opinion, his innovative production style is the most exciting thing to happen to reggae in decades.
Hear for yourself…