One of the finest releases of 2012, FRKWYS Vol. 9: Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras Meet the Congos - Icon Give Thank, has now generated a live, five-track EP, which you can download here or stream below (I previewed the full-length record at this link).
Though I prefer the studio recording, the live set proves that the Congos, reggae outfit behind the Lee "Scratch" Perry-produced Heart of the Congos, have lost none of their vocal power over the decades. Joining forces with Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gendras ranks among the year's most inspired partnerships. Here's an excerpt from the Other Music review of Icon Give Thank:
The resulting collaboration is a dreamlike musical experience fusing Nyabinghi drums and Rasta chants with organic and electronic backing, and never once does it come off like just another indie-dub outing—it's just so much more, and with the forward-thinking dub production and angelic, spiritual harmonies, the group collectively creates a sonic rainbow that rises, falls and shimmers with a multi-colored vibrancy, as textures and sounds thump and reverberate, pounding the foundation. Throughout the hour-long journey, the music grows deeper until the vocals practically morph into a swirling and trancelike evocation, making for a completely immersive and transformative experience.
New York City's Other Music, my favorite music retailer—next to Seattle's Wall of Sound—ranked Icon Give Thank at #2 on their Top 30 for 2012 (Andy Stott's Luxury Problems took the #1 spot). Icon Give Thank shows up at #7 on my list. Expect more live engagements, as well as a new 12" from Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras as Stones Throw act Duppy Gun Productions in early 2013.