Midnite: Metaphysical Roots

Great reggae can come from almost anywhere these days, including Caribbean islands not named Jamaica. Take Midnite, who hail from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, for example. They've recorded nearly 50 full-length albums since 1997 while becoming a steady touring unit throughout the U.S. Lead by brothers Vaughn and Ron Benjamin, their music combines earthy, '70s-inspired reggae elements reminiscent of greats like The Twinkle Brothers and Burning Spear, with progressive, synth-driven compositions in the style of roots revivalist groups Groundation and John Brown's Body.

On early albums like 1997's Unpolished through 2012's In Awe, Midnite's songs unfold in the slow, methodical tempo of Rastafarian Nyabinghi drum circles. The simple, melodic backdrops leave space for the brothers' chant-style singing and intricate lyrics. Like a Rasta-centered string theory, lead vocalist Vaughn Benjamin often weaves mathematics, science and chemistry with mystic Afro-Caribbean wisdom. Of his creative inspiration, Benjamin told Google, "The combination thoughts are infinite; it's like quantum physics." Fear not: the heady intellectual concepts don't overshadow Midnite's engaging music. Discover more about Midnite and add the free track "The World Is Beautiful" to your library. – Tomas Palermo, Google Music

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