Music Review: Linval Thompson – Show Babylon

Genre: Roots Reggae / Dub / Dubstep

Region: London

Artists’ Website: Linval Thompson at / TMSV on Soundcloud

Label: Reggae Roast

Release Date: 21 May 2012

It is hard to find a single-tune reggae release to pack more essence than ‘Show Babylon’ – it bridges smoothly the past and present of reggae music. From vintage roots and dub to dubstep/electro dub this release manages to keep a superb flow without sharpening the differences between styles. In this release the evolution from reggae/dub to dubstep seems natural or even inevitable.

Linval Thompson is one of the few reggae legends (with an almost 40-year history) who has not lost any of his earlier vocal ability – just listen to his warm, silky, emotional chanting in the vocal version of ‘Show Babylon’. Apart from a great vocalist, Linval has been an eminent

TMSV photo


producer; the outreach of the ‘Thompson Sound’ was considerable in the late roots and early dancehall era (from mid 1970s to mid-1980s). He has produced over 40 albums with artists like Trinity, Freddy McGregor and Barrington Levy among others. When the digital reggae sound became popular, he stepped aside dissatisfied with these developments albeit he continued singing and producing occasionally.

‘Show Babylon’ is a conscious reggae anthem with an eclectic production that carries the original roots sound. TMSV’s remix explores the dubstep/electro dub direction and while it features the typical hard beat it is concentrated on dub with a futuristic spacey texture. The producer from Utrecht has been scoring deep and dubby tunes one after the other. Manasseh is a deft UK dub veteran (he first appeared at the Notting Hill carnival in 1985) and sound system operator and his dub version is utterly playful and uplifting with rounded effects.

Reggae Roast has delivered very interesting sets of collaborations throughout its releases ranging from roots to dubstep and jungle and this 12” is a landmark for the label. Roots reggae in its finest!

Linval Thompson Photo

Linval Thompson


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