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The Rootsman

12/01/2022French Imprint Akuphone Presents First-Ever Retrospective Of Visionary UK Musician/Producer John Bolloten

Let's go back to the roots, or rather The Rootsman. Visionary Bradford-based musician, producer and, meanwhile, documentary photographer John Bolloten is a household name on the global dub circuit, whose track record speaks volumes and who gained international acclaim and recognition for a string of releases in the mid-to-late '90s and early '00s. Early last year, trusted French independent label Akuphone went about compiling a high-quality selection of his work from 1996-1998, revisiting "a prolific period" marked by seminal album releases such as "Into The Light", "52 Days To Timbuktu", "Union Of Souls" (with Celtarabia) and "Distant Voices" (with Pachakuti). 

After a "precocious punk" phase, Bolloten's productions turned towards the MENA region. According to Wikipedia, he actually converted to Islam in the late '90s and, "largely influenced by the rhythms of North Africa and the Middle East [...], built his musical identity around samples from these regional repertoires,"  to soothing, transcendental effect. His "predilection for the musical heritage" of said regions predicted what today has become almost commonplace among researchers of sound and spirituality. 

"The Essentials 1996-1998" is a wonderful, first-ever retrospective compilation, which includes an introductory preface as well as rare archival photos and invites listeners to start afresh and (re)discover The Rootsman's vast world of sounds for themselves. So get your scuba gear ready because this one is deep and truly essential.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom