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LISTEN / MIXES / PRODUCERS SERIES

187 / Producers Series #17 / Lee "Scratch" Perry

Dr Rob goes in heavy on Lee “Scratch” Perry and can’t fail…

When I was a youth, reggae was the thing. I was 15 in 1981 and the Brixton riots were just around the corner, instead of thirty years ago. While at school, we went from Two Tone to toasting pretty fast. UB40 quickly ditched in favour of Rodigan On The Radio, Greensleeves 12s and Scientist LPs. Tony McDermott on the ink. Our introduction to Lee Perry probably came through tracks like “Bucky Skank” and “Return Of Django” on cheap Trojan compilations. I mentioned those Scientist LPs, but I think Lee Perry was the easiest way into Dub. You don`t need to be an expert in rhythm culture and versioning to appreciate the genius of dropping everything out of a track, destroying a lyric and introducing disgruntled cows and crying babies. Perry’s remix of Terrence Trent D’Arby is still something of an anthem for anybody and everybody that has ever spent some time on the floor of my room. You don’t need to know that Perry would clean tape heads with his sweater, helping to create the unique aquatic sound of bounced down bass and percussion tracks, to appreciate how damn funky everything is. You don`t need to have a fascination with the myth of The Black Ark, or some level of sympathy and understanding for the rumours of cocktails of gasoline and blackcurrant. For me, ever since those school days, Dub has informed everything. Bass, space, and sound forgotten, reduced almost to only a memory. I guess, everything in a minor key. I heard Dub when I first heard The Jungle Wonz and Sleazy D. I am in no way an expert, and I certainly don`t have a definitive collection, these are just some of my favourites. To me the music Perry makes is defiantly Pop. I don`t think he ever aimed for the underground.

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