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MIDNITE

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Artist Web Site: www.midniteband.com
Booking: Preston Powell (Rastafaria)
PO Box 720 Nyack, NY 10960
preston@rastafaria.com
(800) 899-6864
   

Hailing from the Island of St Croix, Midnite is one of the most profound roots bands of the millennium. Headed by lead singer Vaughn Benjamin and his brother, bassist, keyboardist and musical arranger extraordinaire Ron Benjamin, they are true vanguards of consciousness who represent the King's and Queen's music to the fullness of Jah. Formed in the late 80's, Midnite returned to STX in late 1999, after having spent some years in Washington D.C.  Roots music has not been the same since.


The Music

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Midnite has released 8 heartical studio albums and one live album to date: What Makes A King?, Live - 94117, Ainshant Maps, Scheme A Things, Intense Pressure, Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance, Jubilees Of Zion, Ras Mek Peace and Unpolished. For more information, click on one of the images below.  

Midnite I Grade


In addition to their own music, Midnite has collaborated with Tippy and Kenyatta of I Grade Records on 6 albums: Nemozian Rasta, Assini, Vijan, Let Live, Jah Grid and Rule The Time. For more information, click on one of the images below.
    

Midnite Branch I


Midnite bassist Phillip Merchant is the driving force behind a handful of Midnite Branch I projects, which cover a wide range of musical riddims and have thie own distinctive style.  For more information, click on one of the images below.

Collaborations & Other Albums


Midnite also appears on several compilations and albums of other singers. In addition, Vaughn Benjamin has done numerous collaborations with other artists. For more information, click on one of the images below.


Biography

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Hailing from the Island of St Croix, Midnite is one of the most promising roots reggae bands of the millennium. They are vanguards of conscious reggae who represent the King's and Queen's music to the fullness of Jah. Midnite's profound and innovative lyrics are sincere and deeply rooted to present the other half of the story. Their cd recordings and live performances will have reggae and non reggae listeners open to the messages they bring.

Lead singer Vaughn Benjamin's electrifying voice seems an amalgamation of many great voices in reggae--soulful, chanting, edgy. Vaughn's potent lyrical style and his brother Ron's exquisite keyboards and musical directorship form the nucleus of this musical quintet. Midnite weaves the cultural lyrics of "old school" roots music with modern day experiences to create a unique listening encounter. Reggae - naked and raw is an apt description for Midnite's musical style, in which they forgo the frills of extensive remixes, overdubbing and other musical refinements.

"Unpolished" is the suitably named title of their debut album which includes such classics as "Don't Move", "Mama Africa", and "Love the Life You Live". Originally released in 1997, while the band was located in Washington, D.C., this crucial album has recently been made widely available on Rastafaria Recordings.

In 1999, Midnite linked up with Wildchild! Records for their second release "Ras Mek Peace". Incredibly, this album was recorded using only two channels and was mastered without any reverb, filtering, compression or equalization. Songs like "Hieroglyphics", in which graffiti is likened to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, showcase the intelligent songwriting that pervades all of Midnite's works.

Following the release of Ras Mek Peace, Midnite returned to live in St. Croix so that they could work with the local musicians and make recordings at their African Roots Lab without any outside interference. The fruits of these labours can be found on their third album "Jubilees of Zion", which was released on their own independent Afrikan Roots Lab record label. The expansive, hypnotic rhythms continue, alongside the messages of peace, universal brotherhood, and cultural resistance to Babylon.

In 2002, Midnite made their Northern California debut at the 9th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. The combination of Vaughn’s searing lyrics, raw roots music and the warmth of the sun beating onto the masses at the village stage made for a potent and memorable experience for all who were present. That same month saw the release of Midnite’s fourth album "Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance". Released on the Afrikan Roots Lab record label, this album raises the bar of cultural roots reggae, as we know it today.

Midnite explodes in live performances with sets that often exceed 3 hours. Their vigorous, weighty sound, driven by the punchy bass lines creates a vibe that penetrates straight to the heart. These epic musical communions have earned Midnite an enormous following throughout the roots community. This is especially true in St. Croix, Puerto Rico, Brazil, St. Louis and here on the West Coast where they have toured extensively including another rousing appearance at the 10th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. In the fall of 2003, Midnite released their first dub album "Intense Pressure", which includes some tracks from their prior releases along with some dubs of forthcoming albums.

In 2004, Midnite   released 2 brand new studio albums "Ainshant Maps" on their Afrikan Roots Lab record label and "Scheme A Things" on the Rastafaria label. Midnite has also collaborated with I-Grade Records for four releases: "Nemozian Rasta", "Assini", "Vijan" and the recently released "Let Live". Several members of the band have also released a quintet of albums under the name Midnite Branch I: "Cipheraw", "Geoman", "He Is Jah" "Project III" and "Full Cup".

By breaking all the rules, Midnite is setting a new standard. Armed with a firm foundation in Jah Rastafari, their natural talents, and a strong and uncompromising musical vision, Midnite champions a unique sound that is on the cutting edge of modern roots music.

Daniel (RAW#495)
Ireggae.com



Interviews

December 23, 2000 Interview of Ron 'Gainde' Benjamin

Gainde, reasons with Ireggae.com about Midnite, the roots reggae band from St. Croix formed by he and his brother in 1989. Gainde discusses the band's 5 years in Washington D.C. where Midnite's first two albums "Unpolished" and "Ras Mek Peace" were recorded.  Gainde also talks about their newest release "Jubilees of Zion", which was recorded in St. Croix following the bands return last year.  

Midnite Interview - December 23, 2000
Click on image to hear interview
Running Time: 32:17

Makeda Dread Interview of Ron Benjamin

Click on image to hear interview
Running Time: 2:35

Vaughn Benjamin - Monterey Bay Reggae Festival Press Conference - September 4, 2005

Click on image to hear Press Conference
Running Time: 1:05:39


Lyrics

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VI Reggae is pleased to offer a multimedia presentation of the music and lyrics to more than 50 Midnite selections.  Watch these presentations or read the lyrics to a song by selecting the appropriate icon.

Midnite I Grade - Vijan
Vijan

Structa

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Midnite - Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance

New Life

Late Night Ghetto

Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance

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Midnite I Grade - Assini
Assini

Reminder

Womb

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Midnite I Grade - Nemozian Rasta

Nemozian Rasta

Mountains

Shout That

Love IE One Another

Prize Your Name

Bless

Ancesta

If I Betray

Up Stay

Black Congo

Esta Es The Truth

Swing And The Slide

Keenly

Enough For Everyone

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Midnite - Jubilees Of Zion

Jubilees Of Zion

Jubilees Of Zion

Birthright Is The Ticket

Ras To The Bone

Batter Ram Sound

Great Zimbabwe Walls

Begin The Day

Ring Out A Chant

South Eastern Moon

You Mek I Feel

Wrickta Scale

Mighty Race

Clothes Line

White Collar Criminal

Earth Cycle Now A Rasta

One

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Midnite - Ras Mek Peace

Ras Mek Peace

Pagan, Pay Gone

In The Race So Far

Banking In The Pig

Hieroglyphics

Empress

Lion Wears The Crown

Natty Watching You

Rasta Man Stand

Love Right (Live Right)

Foolish And The Wise

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Midnite - Unpolished

Unpolished

Bushman

Love The Life You Live

The Eyes Are The Light

Propaganda

Kaaba Stone

Due Reward

Don't Move (Lion's Dread)

Meditation (Babylon Fruits)

Mama Africa

Time And Time Again

Album Reviews, Concert Reviews & Articles
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What Makes A King

VI Roots:
The first non-collaboration Midnite album in over 5 years! The heavy collection of 10 songs brings a slightly new sound, with it swirling keyboard & exuberant horn lines; but the trademark Midnite drum and bass and Vaughn's powerful vocals are in full effect. Essential album for any Midnite collection. Haile recommended. - More

Reggae Vibes:
After having released collaboration albums such as "Suns Of Atom", "New 1000", "Rule The Time", "Infinite Quality", "To Mene", and "Supplication To H.I.M." to name six, the brand new "What Makes A King?" set is the first non-collaboration Midnite album in over five years! And again Midnite comes up with an album that features a great mix of superb vocals, solid riddims and excellent lyrics. The latter are strongly inspired by Benjamin Vaughn's visit to his place of birth, Antigua (ANU). Things get started with the wonderful title track on which Vaugh Benjamin is solely accompanied by piano, acoustic guitar and flute. - More

Achi's Reggae Blogspot:
Overall, What Makes A King, although not great, is probably the strongest Midnite album Iíve heard since 2007ís Rule The Time and itís also probably their most accessible (again, donít compare the level of accessibility of Midnite to ANYONE elseís) since that album (which was excellent) as well. I myself am kind of a Ďmiddle of the roadí type of fan when it comes to all things Midnite, so anytime you can move closer to typical Modern Roots Reggae, of course Iím happy. As for the hardcore Midnite fans, of whom I built the premise of this review, I hope and from what Iíve seen the album has been quite well received and, of course, just like the vast majority of Ďtheirí material What Makes A King will hold a very special place in Reggae at the time. Itís a Midnite album and that alone makes it a very big deal, perhaps even bigger than most people know.  - More

Ainshant Maps

J Dubbs
I'm a big music fan, and listen to all types of music, but have a special love for reggae. The first album I ever heard was Bob Marley's "Survival" when I was just 9, and it introduced me to a new world...a protest against the oppression of the black people and a cry for the unity of black people in Africa, Jamaica, and the rest of planet earth. I was instantly captivated.- More

Reggae Reviews:
Ainshant Maps
can be seen as a companion piece to Scheme a Things – and if you had to choose, this would be the more vital of the two (although they’re priced moderately enough that you can get both).  It starts a bit slow – literally and figuratively – with the minimalist acoustic guitar of “Praise Jah,” but quickly picks up with blistering roots tracks like “Drought,” “Judgement for Sentence,” “True King,” “Ainshant Maps,” and my personal fave, “Knocka Fia.” - More

Scheme A Things

Ireggae
While there has been an abundance of Midnite Branch I, Midnite/I Grade and even a dub album released during the past 1Ĺ years, "Scheme A Things" represents Midnite’s first studio album since the release of Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance in June of 2002. - More

Ray X:
Go to the deepest roots in reggae music those that go straight back to Africa, and you will find Midnite. This set pulls together all the various stands that make the band so good. The chanting, the dense rhythms, and most of all the lyrics - that are full of worldview concepts. - More

Intense Pressure

Ray X:
The very first dub album from the band, and what a magnificent set it is. The power and majesty of the bass and drum as never sounded so good. This is a set for those who like there dub minimal - not a gimmicks thing. It works it way through a number of great rhythms allowing the bass and drum to come and go, keyboards and guitars come forward in the mix provide melody and then move off into the distance. - More

Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance

Skank Productions:
Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance,” Midnite’s 4th release since its debut in 1997, is truly another classic from this St. Croix quintet. As was the case with their previous release, “Jubilees Of Zion,” this new masterpiece was recorded in their homeland of St. Croix at their Afrikan Roots Lab studios. - More

Reggae Reviews:
Thanks to what is approaching a Sizzla-like pace of releasing albums over the past couple of years, Midnite has finally released enough material for me to feel comfortable saying that they are my favorite reggae act today. - More

Celebrity Plus:
A new sound is on the horizon. It is Midnite, not the time of day, but the wicked Reggae group out of St. Croix, Virgin Island. A five-member band with a driving reggae sound and lyrics to die for. - More

Jubilees Of Zion

Reggae Reviews:
I hate to say that Jubilees of Zion is the weakest of Midnite's first 3 albums, because people might infer that it is a poor set, but that is far from the truth.  In fact, this is an excellent album that maintains the group's rich sound.   It's just that the songs aren't quite as consistently classic as they are on Ras Mek Peace and Unpolished (but they're damn close). - More

Ras Mek Peace (Before Reverb & Without Delay)

Ireggae:
Midnite captures the essential qualities of roots music with their latest album Ras Mek Peace (Before Reverb and Without Delay) released on Mapleshade's Wildchild! label. Reggae - naked and raw is perhaps the best description that can be given to the 60 minutes of superb musical works that can be heard on this album. - More

Worlds Music:
I own over 1000 reggae albums and was very suspicious when handed this LP from a recent reggae fan...truly, how many GREAT AUTHENTIC ROOTS lps have been released since the 70s golden era? That is an album where each track is a gem, from start to finish. Simple: great bass, solid drumming, perfectly crafted one drop rhythm, raw voice, no gimmicks. - More

Reggae Reviews:
Only one word comes to mind when I listen to Ras Mek Peace: wow.  It is an unadulterated and woefully overlooked classic of modern roots and has immediately become one of my all-time favorites.  Originally formed in the Virgin Islands in 1989 (St. Croix, to be precise), the quintet Midnite has been based in Washington, DC since '93 or so.  As listed on the cover, the subtitle of this album is "Before Reverb & Without Delay," which indicates the simplicity of the recording process -- utilizing only one vocal track and one instrumental track and few if any of the standard engineering techniques that are supposed to make things sound "professional."  - More

Unpolished

Worlds Music:
This is arguably the greatest reggae album ever made. The mistic and melodic vocals of Vaughn Benjamin is simply a genius at play. after listening to songs like "the eyes are the light" or "dont move(lion dread)", you will understand the dept of knowledge, overstanding,genius, passion, love and soul that midnite brings with this incrediable album and whats even more impressive is hearing them live and listening to there cd is indistinguishable. - More

Reggae Source:
From the uprising St. Croix-based quintet Midnite comes Unpolished, a rare debut album. Beginning with "Bushman," a mesmerizing, one-away tune, the set's 10 tracks captivate with hypnotic Afrocentric incantations, chants and jams. Though the press notes liken the band's sound to Lucky Dube, another more subtle comparison describes their musical identity and spiritual foundation as well. - More

Inside World:
Midnite
is a reggae music quintet that originates from the Virgin Islands. Musically, Midnite incorporates traditional reggae beats and grooves in the typical staccato fashion. However, Midnite's strongest talents are evidenced lyrically. Unpolished includes songs that deal with important topics, such as politics, violence, spirituality, greed and hope in times of utter despair. - More

Reggae Reviews:
Once again, wow.  If you thought that Ras Mek Peace and Jubilees of Zion were flukes, check out Unpolished.  It is every bit the equal of these other works.   Although it was released widely to the public on the Rastafaria label in 2001, it is actually Midnite's debut album (and one of the few that is fairly widely available).  At the risk of sounding repetitive, once again everything hits on all cylinders here: vocals, lyrics, music, everything. - More

Midnite I Grade

Jah Grid

JahWorks.org:
The Songwriting 101 teacher must have had some frustrating moments when Vaughn Benjamin was in class. Unfortunately I can only imagine half of the conversation between them. Thatís because Benjaminís half would be a dazzling display of extended verbal comebacks that couldnít possibly be duplicated by a mere critic. - More

Reggae Vibes:
"Jah Grid" is the fifth Midnite-I Grade collaboration release, another addition to Midnite's growing catalogue which meanwhile comprises almost twenty full length albums! Indeed... a remarkable (and also astonishing) amount of album releases from a modern roots reggae band, which was started by brothers Vaughn and Ron Benjamin, and has been playing since 1989. - More

VI Roots:
Midnite and I Grade again team up for another outstanding release. This one is special since it features all live instrumentation heavy roots throughout - no programming or hip hop production on this one - just pure roots. Vaughn's writing and singing is in top form as always and reaching ever new heights (and depths) of lyrical content and melodic form. - More

Let Live

JahWorks.org:
Half a minute into the first track and you KNOW this is not pop music. A steady reggae beat, but rudimentary. Minimalist melody. Intense, chanting vocal. Subdued arrangements. Nothing to seduce you with mere charm and decoration. The atmosphere is dark; the atmosphere is dread. Thus the singular vision and original sound of Midnite continues with another chapter called Let Live. It’s a chapter very much centered on the uniquely textured vocals and literate lyrics of Vaughn Benjamin. - More

Reggae Reviews:
Midnite
continues to push the boundaries of reggae with more gust, more audacity, and more skill than any other act. While their experimentation has been reserved more for their Midnite Branch I offspring, recent releases have had more of an avant-garde sound than their earlier efforts. And Let Live is perhaps their boldest album to date. Here the band’s sense of adventure leads them down the path of hip-hop. Yes, hip-hop. No, you’re not going to hear them rapping about bling and bullets, but Vaughn Benjamin has always had a unique “talky” chatting vocal flow that occasionally veers close to rapping, so when he raps a bit on “Fighting for Her,” it’s feels quite natural. - More

Reggae Vibes:
The album 'Let Live' is the fourth collaboration album between Midnite and I Grade Records. Previous albums such as "Nemozian Rasta", "Assini" and "Vijan" got rave reviews in the press and were well received by the public. This brand new 14 track album "pushes, crosses and destroys the boundaries placed on typical reggae music". 'Let Live' is an artful mosaic of roots, jazz, funk, hip hop and African drumming. Unlike many bands who caved in to the popularity of main stream reggae and fashion rastafarian, Midnite decided to stick to their guns and play music from their heart and souls. - More

Vijan

Ireggae:
I Grade and Midnite have once again come together to collaborate on "Vijan", the latest dose of St. Croix roots reggae to be unveiled by I Grade Records. Vijan features Midnite’s mystical lead vocalist, Vaughn Benjamin, and drummer Dion Hopkins joining Laurent "Tippy" Alfred, Tuff Lion and Kenyatta Itola on 14 wonderful selections. - More

Reggae Vibes:
First there was "Nemozian Rasta", then came "Assini" and now there's "Vijan", the much anticipated third collaboration project between one of reggae's best surprises in recent years, St. Croix's sensational roots band Midnite, and I Grade Records. Crediting the music on this cd to "A Midnite-I Grade Collaboration" means that it's not an official release by the group, even though it sounds a lot like Midnite. - More

Ray X:
Another very important album from the Virgin Island based band. Midnite at this moment in time are one of the most important reggae bands ever. What is interesting is our they combine the best traditions of Jamaica bands - studio based outfits working on and with a number of producers and labels, like Soul Syndicate, The Roots Radics, Now Generation, in this instance I Grade. - More

Reggae Reviews:
There's little doubt that Midnite remains at the cutting edge of reggae music, although for some listeners, that edge may be a bit too sharp at times.  Vijan is a good example.  As with the Midnite-I Grade Collaboration Nemozian Rasta, this album has an experimental sound, this one in particular more akin to the offshoot Midnite Branch I than to the usual Midnite sound itself (not surprising, since Midnite Branch I 's Geoman is an I Grade release also). - More

Assini

Ireggae:
I Grade and Midnite have once again come together to collaborate on "Vijan", the latest dose of St. Croix roots reggae to be unveiled by I Grade Records. Vijan features Midnite’s mystical lead vocalist, Vaughn Benjamin, and drummer Dion Hopkins joining Laurent "Tippy" Alfred, Tuff Lion and Kenyatta Itola on 14 wonderful selections.  - More

Reggae Vibes:
'Assini' is Midnite's fifth album and also their first release in 2002, already followed by two more cd's entitled 'Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance' and 'The Cipheraw'. This 'Assini' set could be regarded as a kind of 'Nemozian Rasta Volume 2', but only if you listen superficially. Vaughn Benjamin and Laurent "Tippy" Alfred arranged the album and they created an atmosphere on 'Assini' which is more or less hypnotic and darkish, we would call it a 'dwelling' sound. - More

Skank Productions:
Every once in awhile, I find an artist or group that totally blows me away. Nasio Fontaine has been that artist since 1998. This singer/songwriter from Dominica is one of the most talented and righteous bredrin I've ever heard. I still feel he's deserving of superstardom. But recently I was turned on to a group called Midnite and they are, in a word, incredible. Hailing from St. Croix, this quintet has a raw roots sound which is unlike any other. They've released three excellent discs, but the one that's being reviewed here is their second collaboration with I Grade records (their first is another crucial release entitled "Nemozian Rasta"). - More

Reggae Reviews:
This admittedly is not an easy album to listen to; it certainly took me the longest of all of Midnite's albums so far to get into.  The pace is slow, the melodies indistinct, the overall tone is somber, subdued, and serene.  This isn't to say that Assini sounds so terribly different from previous Midnite albums.  In fact, it sounds like a direct extension of Nemozian Rasta (both "Midnite - I Grade Collaborations"), except without as much of an experimental, dynamic edge.  - More

Nemozian Rasta

Reggae Vibes:
Hailing from the Island of St Croix, Midnite is one of the most promising roots reggae bands of the millennium. They are vanguards of conscious reggae who represent the King's and Queen's music to the fullness of Jah. - More

Reggae Reviews:
Described as "a Midnite - I Grade collaboration" (I Grade encompassing the record label, production company, and contributing musicians) -- although it contains 3 tunes from Dezarie (two of which are on her breathtaking debut Fya) -- Nemozian Rasta (Nemozian referring to the Greek goddess of memory who gave birth to the Muses) could be interpreted by fans as a straight Midnite album.
- More

Midnite Branch I & Other Collaborations

Treasure
Rastar Records and Midnite have teamed-up once again for the release of "Treasure", their fifth collaborative effort to date. The 15 tracks contained on this CD contain a nice mixture of one drop and roots riddims, some alternative beats along with several nyahbinghi infused selections and a few acoustic tracks thrown in for good measure. - More

Supplication To H.I.M.

VI Roots:
This project is a follow-up release to "Better World Rasta" and like that powerful album, these new works feature production by the legendary Black Uhuru. Supplemented with some strong arrangements by Vaughn Benjamin, Jahronie and Dean Fishback, this album is excellent from start to finish. Check out the single "Make it In Time" that is currently in heaving rotation in the VI. Crucial new Midnite album for the healing of the nations! - More

Infinite Quality

Reggae Vibes:
Sometimes we get the feeling that it's almost impossible to keep up with new Midnite releases as they keep on coming month after month, week after week... This is reminiscent of what happened during the dancehall explosion of the early eighties when Jamaican artists like e.g. Frankie Paul and Sugar Minott delivered single after single and album after album. No problem with that as long as the good quality is maintained throughout and in case of Midnite it is (at least so far). The list of albums credited to Midnite is getting huge, real HUGE!! By now a notable part of those albums consists of collaborations of Midnite's leadsinger and songwriter Vaughn Benjamin with other bands and production houses.  "Infinite Quality" is Vaughn Benjamin's latest collaboration album, done in conjunction with Lustre Kings Productions. The latter, basically a two-person team run by founders, Andrew Bain (aka Digital Ancient) and Corinn Haskill, have worked with top Jamaican artists like Luciano, Yami Bolo, Warrior King, Freddie McGregor, Sizzla and Natural Black to name a few, and have released critical acclaimed full length albums of Lutan Fyah and Turbulence as well as some real good compilation albums. - More

BigUp Radio:
If the works contained within "Infinite Quality" could be summed up in a couple of words, the album title given would be suitable and appropriate. While I am sure that name applies more to the livity of Rastafari consciousness. I am very impressed by the latest album from Midnite Ė Lustre Kings, and I believe this album is a shining example of roots reggae music at this moment in time. - More

Better World Rasta

All Fruits Ripe:
I think "Midnite vs. Midnite" is a catchy title for this review, but also a pretty much misleading one. "Better World Rasta" and "Bless Go Roun" are not competing against each other; these two very different albums just happen to be released around the same time on two different labels. Unusual release-strategy of the artist? I don't think so - I believe there is no strategy whatsoever when it comes to Midnite; at least no commonly known one. The albums are ready when they're ready and will be released on various independent labels. Since we're talking about a very productive collective, this seems to happen almost every other month or so. - More

Reggae Reviews:
Better World Rasta is a truly wicked album. The Rastar Records production team lets Vaughn Benjamin ride vintage reggae riddims, and the result is nothing short of brilliant. The very first song, "His Speeches," bangs a Black Uhuru riddim, as does the captivating title track. But it is the righteous fury of "Gi Dem" that truly sets this album apart. Mixed at the aptly-named Mind Bomb Recording Studio, "Gi Dem" lights the fuse on a mind-blowing roots experience by throwing Vaughn Benjamin's fiery vocals on top of a relentless riddim. In the spirit of "Banking in the Pig," which took subversive aim at pop culture icons, "Gi Dem" has harsh words for Harry Potter and other modern day alchemists of irreligion. - More

Bless Go Roun

All Fruits Ripe:
I think "Midnite vs. Midnite" is a catchy title for this review, but also a pretty much misleading one. "Better World Rasta" and "Bless Go Roun" are not competing against each other; these two very different albums just happen to be released around the same time on two different labels. Unusual release-strategy of the artist? I don't think so - I believe there is no strategy whatsoever when it comes to Midnite; at least no commonly known one. The albums are ready when they're ready and will be released on various independent labels. Since we're talking about a very productive collective, this seems to happen almost every other month or so. - More

Suns Of Atom

Reggae Vibes:
"Suns Of Atom" cd is another collaboration project of Vaughn Benjamin, this time with Lion Tribe from Taos, New Mexico. So far his collaborations with mostly new artists have led to interesting and certainly worthwhile album releases and this collection of tunes is no exception. The listener is treated to mostly-live instrumentation roots reggae with some truly interesting twists. Innovative use of horns, sitars, tablas and other unique instruments can be heard in exceptional songs like e.g. "Wesside", "End Of Doubt", "These And Those", "Sanctify" and "Spirits". - More

Aneed

Reggae Vibes:
For "Aneed" Midnite (read Vaughn Benjamin) has collaborated with GroundBreaking Records, founded in St. Croix by Donny Dread and his brother Dale Melody around 2000. Donny Dread's voice might be known from his 2004 released debut album "Set De Pace" and his contribution to the Weep Not" compilation, but he has also played on numerous St. Croix recordings including "Heed Jah Call", and "Nemozian Rasta". The tracks for the "Aneed" album were recorded in early 2002, but it lasted until 2007 before the cd became available. However the long wait was worthwhile as we're treated to great vocals and harmonies, solid to great tunes and appealing, all original riddims. - More vijanhim.jpg (13041 bytes)

Current

Reggae Vibes:
Midnite -- doubtless one of the most interesting modern roots reggae bands to emerge in the new millenium -- continues to stretch its musical boundaries on another collaboration set, this time recorded with the Mystic Vision crew, a roots reggae band based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Don't expect to hear straightforward roots reggae music when you insert this cd into your cd player, but be prepared that you are treated to a more laid-back musical vibe due to the predominantly ambient hip hop backdrops with its jazzy grooves and sometimes dubby effects.  - More

 

VI Roots:
Vaughn Benjamin traveled to New Mexico to record this one alongside the Mystic Vision crew. A very creative album, this one highlights Vaughn's versatility as he rides some of the most mystical hip hop roots riddims you'll ever hear.  - More

 

Full Cup

Reggae Vibes:
In recent years St. Croix's biggest reggae band Midnite has caused quite a stir among roots lovers from all over the world. By many they are seen as the true vanguards of conscious reggae music, while a few others don't understand why Midnite's lyrics and music have such a strong appeal. Despite of this all Midnite continues to explode forward with righteousness, riddims and Rasta reasonings, whether on their own productions or in collaboration with likeminded producers and musicians. "Full Cup" is such a collaboration project featuring the vocals and lyrics of Midnite's distinctive lead vocalist Vaughn Benjamin and the musical arrangements of Ras L, a talented young producer from St. Croix VI who played keyboards and bass on the song, "Old Robe" off of Midnite's "Assini" album. - More

Project III

Reggae Vibes:
"Project III" was released in late 2003 by the "Natural Vibes" label, based out of Massachusetts MA. Together with "Cipheraw", "Geoman" and "He Is Jah", this "Project III" set is part of a growing series of albums delivered by the innovative production camp known as Midnite Branch I, an offshoot of Midnite formed by lead singer/songwriter Vaughn Benjamin, bassist/producer Phil Merchant and Dion Hopkins. In recent years the unique sound of Midnite - and thus also Midnite Branch I - has attracted notable attention of roots fans from the four corners of the world, and this album again shows the reason why. - More

Geoman

Reggae Vibes:
Hailing from the Island of St Croix, Midnite is one of the most promising roots reggae bands of the millennium. They are vanguards of conscious reggae who represent the King's and Queen's music to the fullness of Jah. Midnite's profound and innovative lyrics are sincere and deeply rooted to present the other half of the story. Lead singer Vaughn Benjamin's electrifying voice seems an amalgamation of many great voices in reggae - soulful, chanting, edgy, and he's also part of the band Midnite Branch I, a side project of Midnite, which consists of Vaughn and fellow St. Croix players Dion Hopkins on drums and Philip Merchant on bass. Furthermore Laurent "Tippy" Alfred, the I Grade Records producer is active on the last track of the album. - More

Skank Productions:
Without a doubt, 2002 was the year that St. Croix made its mark in the reggae world, with more than enough crucial releases. The Midnite Branch I, which is a side project of Midnite - the hottest band on the planet - checked in just before the new year with their second crucial and complex disc of the year, this one entitled "Geoman." - More

Reggae Reviews:
Midnite Branch I is an offshoot of Midnite formed by iconic Midnite lead singer Vaughn Benjamin and fellow St. Croix musicians Phillip Merchant and Dion Hopkins.   Geoman is their second album, after 2002's The Cipheraw, which I have not heard,   but if it's anything like this album (and I'm pretty sure it is), it has a striking, unique sound.  I often wonder why members of musical groups sometimes "branch" off into a solo or other group project only to produce material that mirrors that of their original group, but not so with Geoman.  - More


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