Thursday, November 30, 2017

King Tony & Happy As a Lark Present: WORD is BOND - A Musical Excursion Into Jamaica's Love Affair with Agent 007 (The Blends Vol. 33)

Anthony "Nantee" Abbinanti AKA King Tony is the CEO & Co-Founder of Chicago-based Reggae label Happy As a Lark (HAAL) and moonlights as drummer and producer for the label's flagship band, The Drastics. Abbinanti and a few like-minded friends initially formed HAAL around 2009 to quietly issue two MC Zulu-assisted Drastics 7-inches and recently re-formed early in 2017 as a more fully-formed label; Happy As a Lark has since released a brand new Drastics album, Noir—accompanied by a feverish remix album, Noir Dub—each digital album packaged with an exclusive 7-inch from the imprint's artists and affiliates. The Drastics quite fittingly describe themselves as channeling "Roots Reggae from 1982's future of 2187" and in addition to a slew of original material, have released not one, but two EP's-worth of Reggae-fied Michael Jackson covers, dubbed MJ a Rocker and MJ a Rocker No.2. Now, Anthony Abbinanti has teamed back up with The Blends to compile his first mixtape since 2009's Vol. 3 - ANTHONY, WORD is BOND The First James Bond Mixtape! Vol. 33: A Musical Excursion Into Jamaica's Love Affair with Secret Agent 007. Abbinanti has uncovered, compiled, and meticulously arranged 39 unique James Bond-themed Reggae/Ska tracks into one cohesive 48-minute Mixcloud mixtape. Although, it really isn't as strange of a concept as it initially seems... lest we forget, Sean Connery's 1962 silver screen debut as James Bond, Dr. No was of course, filmed in Kingston, Jamaica—known on-screen, as the fictional island of "Crab Key." Nearly 11 years later, Roger Moore's cinematic debut as M16 Agent 007, Live & Let Die, was also filmed in Jamaica, which doubled for the fictional Caribbean island of "San Monique." King Tony & Happy As a Lark's WORD is BOND mixtape is now available to stream and download from The Blends, along with meticulously cataloged past volumes No.1-32.

"A musical excursion into Jamaica's love affair with Secret Agent 007. Another more "high-concept" mixtape—this one came to me after filing away yet another JB-themed Jamaican 45 and asking myself, "why are there so many James Bond-themed Ska & Rocksteady tunes?" To those that watch the movies the connection makes sense—the island setting is used in Dr. No and Live & Let Die, as well as being home to Ian Fleming's Goldeneye estate; now, owned by Island Records Founder Chris Blackwell. "James Bond Fever" was certainly escalated by the coincidence that Jamaica gained her independence the same year Dr. No was released (1962.) The combination of [independence] and a major motion picture being filmed in close proximity, surely bolstered local musicians to title songs of their new and up-beat indigenous music (Ska) after the exciting franchise."

- King Tony AKA Anthony Abbinanti

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