Ticklah Ticklah Vs. Axelrod

Victor Axelrod (aka Ticklah) has been a tireless advocate of reggae music in NYC, as well as being associated with the Antibalas/Daptone constellation for many years. Through his involvement with the Easy Star All Stars magnum opuses Dub Side Of The Moon and Radiodread, his own star has risen somewhat. A good thing too, since Ticklah vs. Axelrod is certainly the best album he’s delivered to date. Firmly influenced by the great early ’80s rhythms of the Roots Radics in Jamaica, these spare, space-echoed workouts more than just capture fine grooves, they are excellent songs. The first vocal cut featuring Tamar Kali (a Radiodread vocalist) is the smoky, sexy "Want Not,” which mutates into the Scientist-inspired dubscapes that dominate this album. Instrumentals feature multiple trombones without additional brass, a well-considered fusion of Nuyorican instrumentation with montuno-friendly bass lines. The more traditional roots vocal cuts are still solid, as with Mikey General’s "Rescue Me” and Rob Symenonn’s "Queen Dub.” With no songs reaching the five-minute mark, the songwriting economy married to the deep and creative production that is Ticklah’s stock in trade make for a satisfying disc. (Easy Star)