Ticklah, Ticklah vs. Axelrod

Nate Patrin

By Nate Patrin

on 03.20.13 in Reviews
Melting-pot eclecticism done right

Victor Axelrod can do it all, or at least everything he feels like doing. As a contributing member of Antibalas, the Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band and Easy-Star All Stars, he has covered Afrobeat, Latin soul, Southern funk, dub reggae, and any genre he feels like adapting into that already-broad scope. But it’s under the roots-reggae identity Ticklah that he originally made his name, and Ticklah vs. Axelrod is a fine amalgamation of all the styles Axelrod’s got stashed under his hat. There’s some deep dub, naturally — the melodica-soaked “Answer Me” and its sparse, ghostly choir are straight from the Augustus Pablo playbook, and the soaring trombone and canyon-echo cymbals of “Descent” have all the resonance of Vin Gordon traversing through King Tubby’s vast sonic landscapes. But there are also some fitting integrations of dub-compatible sounds, from the sunny ’60s ska-meets-boogaloo vibe of “Mi Sonsito” to the soul-jazz-tinged “Deception.” And it benefits well from a slate of guests that includes sound bwoy-burying roots singer Mikey General and Native Tongues go-to hip-hop vocalist Vinia Mojica. Less a soundclash than a soundmeld, this is melting-pot eclecticism done right.