Thu | Oct 17, 2019

Rolling Stone gathers 'Colon Man'

Published:Thursday | December 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small

In the earlier part of last month, Kingston-based digital dancehall collective Equiknoxx told The Gleaner about the release of their 2016 debut instrumental dancehall album called Bird Power Sound, an ongoing online radio show and curating dancehall at the behest of major energy drink and culture brand Red Bull. However, the group stayed mum on the release of their "debut LP proper".

On November 24, Equiknoxx released Colon Man and after two weeks, it has placed seventh on Rolling Stone's 20 Best EDM and Electronic Albums of the Year list. Though Bird Sound Power is a complete debut work, it comprises previously released tracks going back to 2009. The 'proper debut', Colon Man, was recorded between December 2016 and June 2017.

"It's good to see work well received. Put work into the universe and get love back," Nicholas 'Bobby Blackbird' Deane told The Gleaner. Shanique Marie has similar feelings, saying she is proud of the achievement in such a short space of time.

"While Jamaican dancehall and its booming sound have informed every aspect of pop, hip-hop and R&B, [Equiknoxx] add much-needed heat to modern dance and bass music. Equiknoxx knows how to deploy weird noises to make deep space dancehall," wrote Andy Beta of Rolling Stone, describing the work as a 'woozy, experimental ride'.


For the 'proper' production, the collective drew inspiration from Jamaican history, particularly from the Jamaican workers who were instrumental in the building of the Panama Canal. The title Colon Man is from a Jamaican tale and song about a mysterious character who was one of over 100,000 Jamaicans who returned from working in Colon on completion of the canal. The story of the Colon Man serves as a metaphorical foundation for the album, as Equiknoxx experimentally builds on the groundwork laid by their music production predecessors.

Equiknoxx makes the list among other critically acclaimed international albums like Big Fish Theory, released by hip-hop artiste Vince Staples in June 2017 (placing 11th), grime artiste Stormzy, who placed eighth with Gang Signs & Prayer, released in February 2017, and Jlin, who placed first with her footwork album released in May 2017.

"It's a wonderful feeling. We give thanks," Gavin 'Gavsborg' Blair told The Gleaner.

Equiknoxx sustains their dancehall experimentation with song titles like Kareece Put Some Thread In A Zip Lock, Heathen Emissaries From The Dens Of Babylon, Your Ears Are Not Very Small, Melodica Badness and Definitely Not Something Offensive.