High Style 21st century reggae from London's MDV - from roots rhythms to drum & bass - smart electro arrangements, great vocals and conscious lyricism - essential listening...

M.D.V. - Roots All Sorts
‘Roots All Sorts’ is the unique album from M.D.V. (Many Different Variations), formally known as One Style M.D.V.   This reggae band has been together for over 20 years as friends and has been through several transformations. They began in their local community, playing community events, pubs and clubs of the London boroughs of Hackney and Islington. This led to larger events across London, such as The Notting Hill Carnival and Anti-Racism, Anti-Apartheid festivals.
The band pride themselves on their live appearances and their unique, experimental sound. They have shared the stage with many mighty forces of reggae music, such as Burning Spear, Misty In Roots, Gregory Isaacs and The Mad Professor. Due to their alternative sound, M.D.V have also lined up alongside the likes of Asian Dub Foundation, Super Furry Animals and The Levellers.
The late, great Joe Strummer was a big fan and requested the band as his support act.  From the on-set you know you’re in for something special from this release.  The album opens with ‘Change Their Ways’, a deep down and heavy roots fueled track, in a modern dub-style, supported by a set of highly complementary lyrics. The album continues with ‘Beautiful Day’ a more up-tempo, dancehall style cut. The use of dub effects is evident on this track as with many others, giving the tune a gritty, almost dark edge, yet lyrically this particular track is uplifting and inspiring, an exciting combination. ‘Dangerous Times’ follows, returning to the deep down roots reggae vibe and the soulful voices of the vocal trio Korus, who make an impressive contribution to this release.  The album continues in this vein with experimental, fresh and original tracks, each one reinforcing the overall quality. Most cuts are down-tempo, rootsy and all are extremely well produced. It’s difficult to pigeon hole this band or place them in a single category, yes the album is reggae, but listen closely and you'll feel the soul, blues, jazz and hip-hop influences that are subtlety blended into each cut.  Personal favorites for me are ‘The Heat is On’, ‘Change Their Ways’, ‘Keep it Real’ and ‘Riff’, a modern dub fueled mix of amazing complexity and intricacy. It’s hard to fault this album, each track is very individual yet they all fit together perfectly to complete the aptly named ‘Roots All Sorts’.  I’m also a huge fan of the liquerishall sorts style CD cover!  
Review by 'JumpUp'
UK Reggaeguide


Roots All Sorts (TMPQ, 2006)
MDV follows up their 2004 EP Style One with the colorful full-length album Roots All Sorts .  The title is apt, since it mixes traditional roots reggae with "all sorts" of other styles.  Specifically, they blend roots with dancehall, electronica, rock, and pop in an intriguing combination of sound somewhat akin to what I've heard from Germany's Seeed.  Even if not every effort strikes your chord, you have to appreciate the band's willingness to experiment, which contributes to the album's sense of excitement and wonder.  And for the most part, their mad scientist concoctions are successful in crafting a sonic dreamscape, at times brooding and murky, at other times kinetic and rousing, but always just a bit trippy. Revisited from their EP is one of the best cuts -- and one of their best blends of traditional roots with modern sounds -- the haunting "Keep It Real," along with the down-tempo harmony of "Wake Up" and the offbeat digi-reggae-rock of "Down Ism Capital."  Other strong combinations of old and new include "Change Their Ways" and the haunting anthem "Dangerous Times."  MDV delivers a welcome throwback to '80s synth reggae with "The Heat Is On," a dark, bluesy roots tune with vocals and overall production that hearkens back to Eddy Grant 's heyday, and "Saturday--Sunday," a drowsy dub with a smattering of vocals that could easily have come from an early '80s Black Uhuru dub set.  Those looking for a little twist in their reggae routine might want to check out MDV.


Dubflash - Germany
MDV, known from their last CD-EP "Style One" present their new full length album: "Roots All Sorts", out in the shops on 1st August 2006. The name is program in this case. They deliver a fresh mixture from roots to dancehall to dub. Something for everyone. And all songs are lead by the magnificent vocalists. If they don't cause reactions in you, then I wonder what singer does.MDV call their style "Reggae music for the 21st Century", and that although they are making music for approx. 20 years already. But well, I can only say that this is reggae music how I like it: modern, fresh, unique, tight. Yeah, tight is a good attribute for this music. Who would have believed that me (Dub Rogue, the heavy stepper, who needs his beats rolling) would like dancehall tunes with their angled beats? If it sounds like on "Beautiful Day", then I have nothing against it. Apart from their convincing conscious - and really great sounding- lyrics, my favourite tune of the album is "Screwface", a tough dub tune. Of course, this song as well as the others are played live - MDV is a reggae band. Thinking about hearing this live at a concert... wow!
But it would be a too long review if I write about all tunes that I like on this album. I like the whole album. It's modern and fresh.  And it is possibly the best roots reggae album of this century (so far). Is there a need to say more? I don't think so. Only: Support this group, buy their album when it's out and "Keep It Real".

Jah Sound .net
Deux ans après le prometteur EP "One Style" , le groupe londonin MDV (Many Different Variations) présente son second album enregistré pour le label Too Much Peace & Quiet.  Et c'est toujours dans un style très  orienté Dub digital que cet album nous entraine, mais peu être un peu moins sombre que le précédent en grande partie grâce aux chants. Les anglais produisent même deux morceaux vraiment Roots Reggae "Dangerous Times (Part 1)" et "The Heat Is On". Toujours beaucoup d'effets sur les Dubs, encore un peu de distorsion pour la guitare électrique ("Screwface", "Down Ism Capital") et beaucoup d'énergie pour le Stepper ""Death Bells Toll".   MDV confirme son talent et affirme son style avec une recette simple(guitare, basse, batterie, mix): essentiellement Dub, auquel on y ajoute des influences Reggae, Soul, Rock et Hip-hop pour un résultat efficace qui ne ressemble à aucun autre groupe d'Outre-Manche!

Reggae Doctor-Riddim Magazine
Die Chimäre, die Homer in seiner Ilias beschreibt, hatte drei Köpfe: vorne den eines Löwen, im Nacken den einer Ziege und schwanzwärts züngelte eine Schlange. Das entspricht bildlich etwa dem Eindruck, den MDV-Scheiben hinterlassen – wer hier wohin blickt, bleibt rätselhaft. Die Engländer winden sich, schlüpfen aus der Hand beim Versuch, sie in irgendeine Schublade zu schmeißen. Passend steht das Kürzel MDV für „many different variations“! Träge, schleppend, holpernd, treibend, schleichend – rhythmisch findet sich hier das gesamte Spektrum, ornamentiert mit elektronischen Rüschen, eleganten Gitarren-Schleifchen und spröden Schlagzeug-Schärpen. Hier und da täte etwas „human druming“ gut. Dieser postmoderne Reggae hat das Potenzial noch zu reifen. Aber kann Avantgarde überhaupt perfekt sein? Sei’s wie’s will: MDV schickt seine Hörer sowieso laufend in die Wüste, weil sich die UK-Boys weder auf Roots, noch auf Dub oder echte Instrumentals festnageln lassen. Das verstört zuweilen. Dafür entschädigt „Roots Allsorts“ mit genialen, bewegenden Momenten, die immerhin so reichhaltig gesät sind, dass sich das Reinhören lohnt. Fern aller üblichen Reggae-Gepflogenheiten wird diese Scheibe viele Musikfreunde dennoch etwas ratlos zurücklassen. Tönt hier wirklich die „Reggae music for the 21st century“, wie MDV meint? Homers Chimäre würde vermutlich drei verschiedene Antworten geben, was kaum klüger macht. Wie auch immer, „Roots Allsorts“ ist eine sehr interessante experimentelle Reggae-Spielerei mit Schwächen, aber ebenso mit unüberhörbaren

Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)                                                MDV - Roots allsorts
Vocals : 4/5         Backing : 4/5           Production : 5          Sound quality : 4       Sleeve : 4
MDV (aka Many Different Variations) EP 'One Style' was reviewed here in late 2004.We closed the review with these lines:  "from the first 5 tracks already shows that MDV is a name towatch for in the near future. If only they keep doing what they can do best and don't try to follow fashion." We're glad they kept away from 'di fashion sound 'n ting' and maintained their unique profile, as witnessed on their latest effort called 'Roots All Sorts'...     ...The band has always used its own original material and have only scratched the surface in terms of what they can offer. They describe their music as '21st century Reggae' and their goal is to 'stimulate your musical synopsis through the vibes, lyrical content and dynamics of the music'.    'Roots All Sorts' is the next step in the band's vivid organic development. Here we see a mature band, riding the reggae waves in their own way, injecting the sound with elements from all kinds of musical hemispheres. Their sound might be called ambient reggae, but we feel that would be unfair regarding some excellent uptempo tunes such as Nagasaki Dub and Beautiful Day . Furthermore  they know how to produce a wicked and heavenly one drop reggae tune as Change Their Ways .  The most traditional reggae song here has to be The Heat Is On .
Well, let us say no more. Do check this one out if you're interested in reggae beyond the borders, you won't be disappointed, trust us!  Teacher & Mr. T

Cultural Vibes
Le groupe "Many Different Variations" nous présente ici son 2ème album sur le label "Too Much Peace and Quiet", avec un son tjrs aussi original, repoussant les limites musicales du Reggae et du Dub en mordant sur les terrains du Dancehall, du Hip-Hop ou du Trip-Hop, tout en restant toujours attaché au Roots... All Sorts... !

Reggae Connection
Le groupe MDV profite de l’accueil positif de leur récent EP ‘Style One’ pour enchaîner avec la sortie attendue de ce nouvel opus bien foutu.  On peut les définir comme une des forces dynamiques de la scène reggae britannique. Un line-up simple bass, guitare et batterie mais très riche en variations musicales.

Frecuencia Reggae -por Shane Cleveland
M.D.V.- Roots Allsorts [4 estrellas]
Los integrantes de esta banda proveniente de Inglaterra llevan más de 20 años juntos, algo muy raro de ver hoy día. Su nombre, M.D.V., significa Many Different Variations y su sonido refleja esto mismo, ya que no suenan igual a ninguna otra banda europea. En este, su segundo disco, podemos escuchar muchos ritmos lentos y pesados, y en sus letras no olvidaron cantar sobre la situación actual del mundo. Esto es música para escuchar y reflexionar sobre tu rol en este mundo.

"What an excellection collection; anyone who misses out on this album has to be completely 'rootless

Tony Bates 101.3 OAK FM

What a great sound!! Completely wowed!! We have played several of your tracks to date and plan to schedule more in future programs.
Harry Boerman Veluwe FM

Yeah MDV! The CD is very great!I like all the songs!!!There is not much to say!Good productions,nice vocals and danceable!GREAT!Keep on moving!I will promote it heavy!
Alex a.k.a. DJ T-Killah...! kanal-ratte

Unique and interesting sound - I quite liked it. I've reviewed it, and it will be added to our heavy rotation list on Sunday. Thanks!

Sadie McFarlane KZSU Stanford

Very good collection of songs, UK dubs which reminds one of King Tubby.

Michael Neita waterhouserock.com

Great , unique reggae groove. I like using this cd to spice up my shows. Keep me on the promo list please. thanks

Mitchell Mendys WKNH

Hi MDV, Many Sincere Thanks for the CD" Roots Allsorts " that you sent us recently. We have enjoyed it immensly, and have added tracks from it to our playlists. Your presentation of music, inside the style and personality reflected in the tracks is very refreshing. Keep it up. Many thanks again, and please stay in touch.
Graham J Barclay graham@soundwavefm.co.nz

The Best Reggae We've Received in a Long Time. Fabulous Dub Rhythms and Smooth Conscious Vocals make this entire CD a Classic. "Dangerous Times - both" truly deserve 12" issue.
RE Ausetkmt Program Director BadGalsRadio.com

I think, this one of the best things I have received, modern, very British and catchy. It rocks every dance. Keep going!

Aimar Ventsel Estonian Radio

Some of what the reggae press said of the "Style One EP."

"We were quite surprised by the amazing quality of recent independent
releases namely.. MDV. (UK) with "Style One"" - Claat.com, Germany"Unique reggae sound" - Reggae Vibes, The Netherlands"Their lyrics consist of themes like streetlife, capitalism and the current world situation which are perfectly timed to the slow and heavy rhythms" - Armageddon Times, SwitzerlandMDV don't resemble any other English reggae band, which is a rare quality these days" - Reggae Connection, Belgium"A group to discover and follow" - JahSound.net, France "Engaging enough to draw a considerable following" - Reggae Reviews, USA."This is excellent music that makes you want to sit up and listen" - Blackechoes, Republic of Ireland"Very dark.." - Dubflash Germany"This is so good it deserves wider appreciation" - Gargamel Magazine, UK.