Review Summary: "Scratch" produces yet another collection of Dub fun.
In the world of Jamaican music, if Bob Marley is number one, then Lee “Scratch” Perry is undoubtedly number two. Perry may just be the most important artist you don’t pay any attention to, or have never heard of. In the late 1960’s, Perry popularized a form of music known as Dub, which consisted of instrumentally remixing previous recordings, while adding echo, reverb and other effects to give a recording an entirely new life. With his house band, The Upsetters, Lee “Scratch” Perry has made some of the finest music ever to come out of Jamaica, or anywhere else in the world. His 1976 release “Super Ape”, is a true picture of his signature Dub style.
If you haven’t heard any Jamaican music, outside of Jamaican legend Bob Marley, then this disc may come as a bit of a surprise to you. While Marley’s own style is based around honest and true lyrics, and simple, yet excellent groove, Perry’s sound is considerably different. For one, there is more happening in the realm of instrumentals, and effects. Instead of usual Reggae music directly hitting your soul, Perry’s style swirls around you endlessly and carries you away to a different world. There are many highlights on this record, such as the bass in “Croaking Lizard” and “Super Ape”, echoed guitar in “Underground”, and Perry’s soaring voice in “Zion’s Blood”. All of the tracks here clearly represent the same style, yet are all strikingly different. The ten tracks on here just fly by, and will go even faster if you’re just relaxing with some friends on a warm summer day.
Lee “Scratch” Perry will always be remembered in Jamaican music as one of the founders of Dub, but this, and many of his records show that he didn’t just create a new genre, he did something with it. All of the tracks on “Super Ape” are geniously crafted to showcase Perry’s Dub sound. The studio effects wrap the music around you without being overbearing, and the slick reggae sound of The Upsetters house band combined wonderfully with it. If you want to get used to the Dub sound, this is recommended, if you already are interested in Dub, but don’t have this, get it. This is a record that can be enjoyed by experts and novices of Jamaican music alike.