All mouths will be fed. Twenty years ago next month saw the release of Laika Come Home, a complete and total transfiguration of Gorillaz s/t debut as remixed in dub. Spacemonkeyz (dj Darren Galea) is the controller, and the results are nothing short of sublime. At times haunting, at times ethereal, the dozen tracks absolutely float featuring limber contributions from the likes of U Brown, Tina Weymouth and Terry Hall. Not unlike Bill Laswell’s ambient-dub interpretation of the Bob Marley catalog, Laika is the rare instance of a remix album feeling as essential as the core material its culled from.
Bill Laswell’s 1997 remix collection of the Bob Marley catalog. At eleven tracks, the set deftly works a seam that feels at once familiar yet pleasantly discordant. As an ambient exploration of dub, traces of Marley’s original compositions float in and out, at times cresting, though more often submerged in atmosphere. As Laswell’s paints the walls with sound, melodies appear and disappear. Spacious, impressionistic and meditative, Dreams proves the exception to the rule of the remix album—no small feat for a cottage industry with a history of sideways results.
By chance I met Ras Tayo at Deadly Dragon Sound a decade ago. He invited me to bring some tunes out to The Den in Brooklyn, and soon I began spinning with a serious group of selectors every Sunday night. All the DJs had their big tunes and favorites that I’d look forward to hearing. These songs are ones they played often.
Are you sure Neil done it this way? Not exactly, but it’s hard to care when the results are this good. Revered reggae crooner Ken Boothe teamed up with producer Lloyd Charmer’s in the early 70s, after a decade cutting sides for a who’s-who of Jamaica’s top producers. Nestled amid covers of Syl Johnson, Marvin Gaye, and Bread on his 1975 LP Everything I Own, Boothe’s take on ol’ Shakey’s downer ‘Hey Joe’ narrative is a scorcher for the books.
In 2017 Aquarium Drunkard brought you Christmas Jambree: A Vintage Jamaican Yuletide Mixtape. At 28 tracks it’s an extensive collection of Jamaican reggae and ska Christmas tunes. If you’ve never heard it, do slide over there right now, but if you’re already converted, and looking for a bit more in that vein, the following companion has you covered. Dig in, dig deep, and happy holidays.
Dub The Millennium. First released in 1993, Manasseh’s swirling medley of dub, reggae, electronic, ambient and UK indie. The original vinyl edition of the lp is home to ten tracks, the CD twelve. This matters as the eleventh track, “Souljah”, is a high watermark of the album-long exercise in disparate fusion.
Pachyman, the one-man dub reggae project of Pachy Garcia, is not to be slept on. Born in San Juan, PR, and now residing in Los Angeles, Garcia’s latest long-player is laced with the good shit. At a dozen tracks, it’s a roots ride of originals, all with knowing nods to the genre’s greatest innovators.
For this installment of the lagniappe sessions, we asked Garcia to riff on the inimitable Greensleeves label.
Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus’ Love Thy Neighbour is perhaps the last great masterwork produced by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry within the hallowed walls of his Black Ark studio. It is a testament to the uncompromising spiritual clarity of Ras Michael’s Nyabinghi mysticism, and to the dubwise delirium of the Upsetter’s sonic palette.
Roots reggae is the music of the Rastafarian tradition. It speaks to the spiritual, political, and socially conscious message of God, called Jah by Rastafarians.
Press play for a celebration of roots stylings including the traditional, digital, and dub.
Quarantine Scene Check, Day Infinity (Sunday): The depths of AD HQ’s office closet beckoned. And like Hiram Bingham III, but hatless, I entered. The 7 year old’s pleas for FROZEN II dissolved behind me (I ignored them) as I fought past the aesthetic pleasures of BASF stacks and Scotch reel-to-reel tapes. And then there I found it, the unsightly treasure: a cache of ‘90s Case Logic books…
When I call up the reggae legend, Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Upsetter, to talk about his new album Rainford I reach him on a grainy WhatsApp audio connection. He’s in Jamaica and he’s in bed, “looking at the lights. looking at the day, and looking at the night.”
Perry’s in his eighties and when he gets going he speaks in limericks, but he doesn’t come across as wacky, just joyful. The first thing I notice about Perry is the giggle that roils through the conversation and punctuates his sentences. It’s disarming, a Buddha-like by-product of a lifetime of producing joy by way of deep and heavy rhythms, and meant for killing egos.
Yuletide sails into Jamaica each year on what the locals call the Christmas Breeze, a slightly crisper air that tends to waft through the island come December. There’s another seasonal […]
It’s July, which means it’s time to check in with the third largest of the four Greater Antilles. Enter Bomboclat! Island Soak, Volume 8 – another batch of seasoned sides […]
When a cover works. In this case, Mudie’s All-Stars Jamaican rendering of Idris Muhammad’s “Loran’s Dance.” I’m scribbling this on a train back to Tokyo after three nights haunting an array of […]
Yuletide in Jamaica glides in each December on what the locals call the Christmas Breeze, a slightly crisper air that tends to waft through the island this time of year. […]