In your ongoing quest to find a good modern reggae-ska-punk-rap-fusion musical act to enjoy, you and so many like you might foolishly waltz right past the Federal Republic of Germany, and in do yourself a grave disservice. You see, it turns out Germany has just what you’ve sought all this time.
Before proceeding further, if the energy and passion of my little monologue here seems to fail to reflect or empathize with the verve of Jammin’ Inc.’s music, then this could only be because I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to express myself when it comes to ska love. Its just never been a genre I’ve dabbled too heavily in. And I don’t filter my creative commons music. I simply download albums and let them play as background music. If one is so audacious as to intrude on my evening’s activities, then I’ll open one slow, lazy eye in its direction and, in a very low tone, double dare it to explain itself.
And Mit Anlauf didn’t just explain, it took control. These words don’t merely fail to capture the spirit or pacing of the album, but also my wild abandon the first five times I listened to it closely, upending bottles of whiskey into my mouth, screaming lyrics at passers-by from my window, hollering and throwing things in joy until my downstairs neighbors were calling, screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”
The first track of a first release, Da Roots is an autobiographical piece, structuring lyrically and musically an explanation of who you’re listening to and why. This segues into We Fear No Evil, where some of the R&B influences creep in to create an almost Supreme Beings of Leisure trip-hop vocal track layered on top of a strong Latin beat. This combination creates a deliciously hot and chill contrast. Each track moves in this direction, taking sounds traditional caddy-corner to one another and seamlessly combining them into a marvelously coherent and already fairly popular album.
Indeed, Jammin’ Inc. is a compelling argument for what is possible with free music licensing. With over 30,000 live audience members since the release of Mit Anlauf, the artists prove that quality music can be distributed for free, relying on their fan base and talent to generate a worthwhile response, especially if they are willing to devote time and energy to high profile live performances. I am reminded in a sense of The Red Elvises, who I am fairly convinced have made far more from live performances than they ever did from record sales.
The band is made up of something like fourteen people, at least as of their last Myspace update. Nine instrumental musicians back up five singers representing five different vocal styles. To me, the sound of the album seems to draw its clearest influences from 2 tone ska, but these other genres play heavily into creating a sound that sports one of the rare instances of fusion art that I’d actually applaud. People looking for traditional reggae or ska to pad out their collection might find room to complain, what with the strange mixture of regimented beats and punk abandon, but anyone looking for some progressive ska to sharpen the edges of their libraries could, I think, do no better, even were they to wade miserably through the jungles of commercial sound. And all you genre monkeys out there who just love good music, here you go. You’re done. Go enjoy!