A while ago we already presented 'The Living Stream, Chapter One', the collaboration between Jamaican vocalist Nga Han and Dutch producer Uta Maruanaya. We're still eagerly awaiting a possible successor, but in the meantime, Nga Han returns with 'Emergence', an album he recorded in the same period with Belgian producer and multi-instrumentalist Steve 'Kingston Echo' Michielsen.
Several members of backing band The Hi-Flyers are also active in Spellbreakers, the band in which Kingston Echo also plays an important role. Behind the drums we find Missing Link, Juli Jupter can be heard on guitar, bass, percussion and took care of a part of the backing vocals (like is the case in Spellbreakers, assisted by Militant Mila), and finally the complete Spellbreakers horn section (Dierik Van Hemeldonck - trumpet, Jort Verdick - alto sax, and Wannes Jacobs - tenor sax) joined in as well. The line-up is completed by keyboardist Terence Olliviera and Belgian reggae veteran Lucky Luc, making the nyahbinghi bass drum thunder in 'Anew'.
'Emergence' is an absolute gem of an album - described on Kingston Echo's Bandcamp page as: "Probably one of the best Belgian reggae albums ever made..." - somewhere between the classic Jamaican roots sound of the 1970s (thanks to Kingston Echo's analogue recording techniques) and the more recent version developed on the Virgin Islands.
This is definitely the kind of album you simply have to experience in its integrality, but if you force us to name a few highlights, we'll go for the slightly more up-tempo 'Can't Stop I n I Progress' and the diametrically opposed 'Slow Down The Pace', 'One Drop Analogue Style', featuring a jazzy trumpet line by Dierik Van Hemeldonck, and the great 'Versatile', in which there's a wonderful back and forth movement going on between Nga Han and Juli's percussion and the band's horn section.
Of course, the beautiful cover illustration is once again the work of "duobus universalis" (please look it up for further reference) Missing Link and Juli Jupter, and the absolute icing on the cake is that with 'Submergence/Emergence In Dub', Kingston Echo simultaneously presents a matching dub version of the album, thus doubling your enjoyment (pun intended). Belgian top production!