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Reggae

Virgin Front Line: Sounds of Reality

Box set release: “Virgin Front Line: Sounds of Reality” (Various)
Release date: 11 August 2014
Label: Universal 

On 10 March 1978 Virgin Records launched a label that, throughout the remainder of the decade, would set the benchmark for Roots Reggae: Front Line.

In the space of just under two years, some 46 albums and 26 singles saw issue on the iconic imprint, with its releases consistently of the highest calibre, and rating among the very best music Jamaica had to offer.

Front Line’s brief but glorious existence as the world’s greatest Roots Reggae label is celebrated with this deluxe box set, which across its 5 discs features many of Jamaica’s greatest talents, performing 92 of the most enduring Roots, Dub, Lovers Rock and DJ sounds of the seventies, with over 31 tracks new to CD, of which a third are previously unissued.

Also included in the package is a 52 page booklet, which opens with a typically captivating foreword from John Lydon, whose talent scouting trip to Jamaica with Richard Branson early in 1978 was key to Virgin’s acquisition of some of the finest Reggae recordings of the era.

Peppered with fascinating imagery, including numerous previously unseen shots from the trip taken by world renowned photographer Dennis Morris, every key episode during Front Line’s brief yet glorious history is disclosed, courtesy of fascinating anecdotes from Don Letts, the label’s original manager Jumbo Vanrenen and its designer Brian Cooke, whose original drafts for the iconic imprint are revealed for the first time ever.

As an added bonus, the set also contains four high quality reproductions of classic posters from the seventies, as well as a car sticker, based on the now impossibly rare Front Line Rockers badge from 1976.

This, the most comprehensive collection of Front Line tracks ever to see issue, pays due homage to the legendary label and flawlessly illustrates just why continues to be widely revered by Reggae fans around the world, more than 36 years after its launch.

Full tracklisting available on request.

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Toddla T to Represent UK In Trojan Records and Clarks Originals ‘#ORIGINALSREMIXED’ Global Remix Challenge

Trojan Records has collaborated with heritage footwear brand Clarks Originals for an ambitious international remix project to celebrate 40 years of the Desert Trek boot – renamed the Trojan Trek – for the Clarks Originals AW12 collection. 

The iconic reggae label will be releasing four new mixes of the classic hit Let Your Yeah Be Yeah by The Pioneers, delivered by some of the hottest DJs and producers across the world.

Kicking off the #ORIGINALSREMIXED campaign for the UK is BBC Radio 1 DJ, producer, re-mixer and composer Toddla T, whose infamous fusion of electro, garage and dubstep is blended with the reggae classic, creating a dancehall track set to twist up the dance floor this summer. Available for free download on www.clarksoriginals.com from 2nd July 2012, Clarks Originals will also be airing an excusive video and interview with Toddla T offering an insight into the musical mind of the celebrated DJ producer.

Notorious for drawing from different styles and influences from the UK to Jamaica, Toddla T not only boasts a permanent slot on BBC Radio 1 but is a major player in the worlwide music scene’s appreciation of Jamaican and reggae culture. Taking his unique technique of juxtaposing genres, this fusion of mighty sinkhole bass lines and clattering clusters of heavy beats confidently defines the infamous Toddla T sound.

Toddla T said of the collaboration “I love Clarks Originals. I love the style, I love the heritage and the way the brand plays such a big part in music in general. I think what they’re doing with international artists and cultures is amazing and it genuinely joins the dots between cultures even though it’s a British brand. I go Jamaica…I see it there, I go to America…I see it there. It’s a thread between different types of people but they’ve all got the same love for it.’

Repping Italy is Riva Starr, who has remixed everyone from Usher, Estelle and Plan B, to Fatboy Slim, Azari & III and Major Lazer. Infamous in the worldwide DJ community this colourful and exuberant bright new star promises a funky twisted house remix for a track that’s dynamite on the dance-floor. The Riva Starr remix will be available on 6 August as a free download on www.clarksoriginals.com.

And representing Japan, The Mighty Crown, a collective formed in 1991. Major players on the dancehall scene and taking the title as the biggest reggae act to emerge from Japan, this collective promises to explode with a fusion of dancehall, reggae and hip-hop in their distinct production style. This remix will also be available on 3 September as a free download on www.clarksoriginals.com.

For the USA there is TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee), once an unfocused pupil of classical piano and now one of the most cutting edge members of a growing group of LA based electro producers. TOKiMONSTA hopes to fuse elements of vintage sounds with classical hip-hop beats for the ultimate in urban flavour. The remix will be available 1 October as a free download on www.clarksoriginals.com.

Trojan Records will also be releasing the material via its website www.trojanrecords.com on vinyl, CD and digitally.

Johnny Hudson, Marketing Manager for Trojan Records, says: “This is another great partnership for Trojan Records this year and these remixes are going to be awesome. Like our affiliation with Lambretta Clothing, Clarks Originals has a history with our label that goes back to the roots of both brands. We’re looking forward to combining our marketing and PR to draw in new listeners as well as serve our existing 10,000 strong Trojan Appreciation Society, which has become one of the most active label fan sites in the world.”

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