One year later, the two Frenchmen are attempting to pick up the pieces with a new company, the aptly named Chapter Two Records. Like Makasounds, it is based in Paris and focuses on roots-reggae.
The 38-year-old Maslowski was recently in Jamaica to work on fresh projects.
Paris Burning by singjay Derajah is Chapter Two’s debut album. An acoustic set by Clinton Fearon of the Gladiators is also in the works, so too, a new album from resurgent roots singer Winston McAnuff.
In a recent interview with the Observer, Maslowski said it felt ‘strange’ not being at the helm of Makasounds, which is now in the hands of a liquidator. At the same time, he said the new Chapter Two projects have given him and Germa renewed hope.
“Things are still up in the air with Makasounds, the liquidator says it will take two years to lock up things,” he said. “We’re quite sure in the end we’ll get back some of the stuff.”
That ‘stuff’ includes the 84 albums Makasounds accumulated since Maslowski and Germa formed the company in 2003. The catalogue includes Diary Of The Silent Years, an album by McAnuff that launched the label.
Known in music circles as the ‘Electric Dread’, McAnuff’s career started in the mid-1970s with Derrick Harriott as his main producer. By the 1990s, he was a forgotten man until Makasounds picked up Diary Of The Silent Years.
McAnuff followed-up with a clutch of strong albums including Paris Rocking!, Nostradamus and A Drop which have made him one of the most popular reggae acts in France.
The Inna De Yard acoustic series spearheaded by veteran session guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, also fared well in France. It featured noted roots performers like Kiddus-I, the Mighty Diamonds, the Viceroys and Linval Thompson performing some of their best known songs in ‘un-plugged’ format at Smith’s St Andrew home.
Makasounds also released albums by Harriott, Leroy Smart, The Meditations and Hugh Mundell. While McAnuff and Inna De Yard returned encouraging numbers, Maslowski said other albums did not, resulting in the company going under.
“Sales were slow. We never had the success we were expecting with some of the projects,” he stated.
Since the mid-1970s, France has been a fertile region for roots-reggae artistes who perform at its numerous summer festivals. It is a good market for Jamaican producers from that era whose songs are easily accessible in major cities like Paris and Bordeaux.
Mediacom, Tabou I and Makasounds have been some of the more successful French reggae labels in the last 15 years.