Saturday, February 03, 2007

Holy dinah, I caught the dubstep bug, and I's coughin up blood, I yam. Big, clotted, mucusy chunks. But not really though. That was a while back.
Been listening to a lot, just don't have that much to say about it. That Milanese and Boxcutter stuff is good, just a bit busy for my lissening plays-ear. I'ma be more at ease spelunking in the bass caverns carved out by the likes of Digital Mystikz, Skream, Loefah... Croydon massive? That 2disc Vol. 4 of Tempa's Dubstep Allstars is more my can of beans. Of course, there'a a lot to be said for the twelves themselves. DMZ's Ancient Memories with Skream's remix on the flip is zzzzonked. And the Burial album just gets better with every listen. Nuff said.
So I've taken this dubstep state of mind as an opportunity to finally get into the Upsetter. And I've tried. I think AllMusicGuide steered me wrong for the 12,357th time and told me to check out Super Ape first. Like, everything's compilations, what's a good album from the guy, y'know? And Super Ape is kinda good, I guess. You have to understand, my notion of the legend, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, was that my love of sound would override my natural disposition towards disliking bouncy island music which makes it completely impossible for me to wallow in self pity. I mean, I wasn't expecting Sun Ra or anything, but maybe I kinda was, and apart fom the odd bongo sound having me bugged out, nothing on the album had me thinking he was a 'magician of sound,' at least no more than anyone in an analogue studio filled with pot smoke and crappy equipment. I guess it'd be a trip if you threw it on your Audi's factory installed stereo after you'd had enough Jr. Gong and Matisyahu, but I'd already moved on.
So I done my homework and I realised that the Perry era I most want to hear is probly the least documented. After much success with Studio1, Bob Marley, basically inventing reggae, and publicly falling out with many former associates, Perry was signed to Island Records, doing endless production work and reaping mucho international success and respect. At the same time, Island is rejecting the work he's most proud of, and the local criminal element start's wanting a piece, so he finds himself increasingly being either deceived or blatantly extorted. And then his studio burned down. These are the situations where the line between eccentric and batshit crazy starts getting real fuckin blurry. So, surprisingly enough, he didn't do any recording for a while, until some Dutchies passed him some equipment before pulling the plug and editing together The Return of Pipecock Jackxon. To make a Syd Barrett analogy, and why not, it's his Madcap Laughs. A bit thin and fragile compared to earlier doings, and marred by outside influences. And like The Madcap Laughs, it's brilliant. But listen back a couple of years to Roast Fish, Collie Weed and Corn Bread (rejected by island. so were a couple others. anyone know what they were?) and hear the technicolor wonder that was the Black Ark. Still a bit 'sunny side up' for me, but undeniably twisted. The backing vocals on 'Throw Some Water In' say it all. I like, I like, (i'm getting there) but fast forward just a wee bit to '79. The year of the fire, all the stresses in Perry's life at their abolute height, he records a track called 'City Too Hot,' and it has to be the most suffocatingly thick dub I've ever heard. If this was the first Perry I'd ever heard, he would've under-promised and over-delivered. So finally, I'm left wanting more. I've been listening through that Arkology 3disc, and I'm thinking about checking out a collection of singles off Perry's Black Art label, but if anyone can point me in the direction of just a few more primo '79 era Black Ark tracks, for the love of jah, hook a brother up.
And under the header of 'Personal Achievements & Genuine Afflictions,' I've managed to injure myself doing absolutely nothing. Pinched nerve in the lower back. Complete hobblement with short bursts of severe pain. And these T3s are disappointing. I thought I'd be drifting through Mario Bava films real gassy, all smiles and far off giggles. But really, they just make me relaxed enough to rub one out in a serious manner every now and again. Actually, that ain't so bad. Never mind.

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