Pull up selector! - Rory's new movements

By Richard Johnson Observer senior reporter

Friday, June 14, 2013

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The name Rory is synonymous with Stone Love Movements, arguably the most influential sound system in Jamaican pop culture.

Since 1982, while a student at Calabar High School in St Andrew, Rory Gilligan has been a selector for this 'immortal sound'.

Decades later, the 40-odd year-old has shifted gears, trying his hand as music producer.

"It reached a point when the standards were falling and with the move from vinyl to digital, people stopped paying attention to production and mastering the material to achieve the best quality. So I really wanted to make a difference," he tells Splash.

Gilligan has chosen the 'road less travelled' when it comes to identifying artistes with whom he wants to work.

"I could have taken the easy way out... create some beats and 'riddims', draw for the biggest artistes, record them, and release a string of sub-standard tunes. But that is not my style," he explains.

"I like being the voice of the unknown. I get a rush out of finding that voice, that artiste that nobody has heard of, or has not heard from in a long while, and work with them... I get a rush from that," he adds.

Even Gilligan's production methods are different from prevailing trends. He is not into looping tracks, but rather records section by section with melodic introductions which he hopes will produce a signature sound.

To date, he has worked with a number of London sound systems, reggae band Rootz Underground, singers Nadine Sutherland, Jah 9 and Keida.

He is particularly proud of the work he put in for Jah 9's debut album, New Name, a jazz on dub hybrid which was released recently to much acclaim.

"I put my all into New Name with Jah 9. It was hours and hours of voicing and re-voicing, trial and error, till we came up with what we thought was the right sound."

Gilligan states that one of his biggest peeves with the music business came while promoting the Jah 9 project.

"I took one of her tracks to a radio station and the disc jock listened and told me that it was wicked and loved it, but then said it would sound better if it was performed by a man. I just could not believe what I was hearing. I can't believe people still think in that way," he says.

Reflecting on his days at the turntable, he winces at some things he did.

"Now that I'm in my 40s and a lot more conservative I look back at how stupid I was in the things I did and said during the 1980s and '90s. That's why now I cannot record certain things and certain artistes, because I know the power of the microphone and the music, and the effect it can have on people, despite what other people want to say."

He is currently working on projects with the C-Sharp, Raging Fyah and Pentatuch bands and musician Addis Pablo, but still yearns to find that distinctive Jamaican voice.

""I want to work with a voice. A voice like no other, something that is very Jamaican with the haunting quality of a Burning Spear and the unmistakable 'Jamaicaness' of a Culture (Joseph Hill)."




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