Review Summary: One of dub music's major players classic cuts.
Working as a protégé under King Tubby
, one of the founding pioneers of the Dub genre, Scientist
’s roots are less than humble. With his interests in electronics continuously growing from a young age, Scientist – born Hopeton Brown in Kingston, Jamaica – began working in studios as an engineer. After receiving a big break through Tubby’s studio his talents were made visible to others, including King Tubby, and he was set on his own recording path.
Scientist’s work ethic is ridiculous – he’s put out or contributed to over fifty records from 1980 to 2006. I suppose this isn’t that big a surprise given the nature of dub music and Brown’s actual role in the creation of the music. I can’t take anything away from the way Scientist creates his beats – the music here is smooth, flowing, and soothing, keeping just the right amount of psychedelic influenced atmospheres blended with a reggae backbone. However, it would be down-right rude not to mention said reggae backbone, in this case Scientist’s backing band (on more then several occasions) Roots Radics
. It is their musicianship, after all, that propels the dub beats to greater heights then they’d be able to attain on their own. The band is a tight unit, and they serve the dub/reggae genres quite well with their skill. It seems a bit of a shame that the album is only credited to Scientist rather than both acts, but I suppose this is the nature of the dub industry.
With his fourth offering, Scientist Rids the World of the Curse of the Vampires
, Brown doesn’t necessarily break any boundaries – though he was an early part of the movement and I suppose what little boundaries there were to be removed within the genre must’ve come across his path. Instead, he offers up a collection of smooth, groovy dub jams that have a surprising entertainment value. At the root of the music there may not seem to be too much going on. Repeated listens will reveal further depth in the tunes, though part of the power of these songs isn't to necessarily over think them to death. Take the disc’s opener, Voodoo Curse
, for example. The root of the song is in slow, rather dominant basslines, coupled with a decent array of drums and cymbals at a slowed pace. There is a lazy feel to this song that spreads throughout the majority of the record, passing its laid back vibrations to the listener. There is no pretentious message to be discovered (or any message really, for that matter), no rage or aggression, nothing taken too seriously. This is music to sit back and relax to, to let yourself melt into the tracklist and wait to emerge rejuvenated; it’s also excellent if you’re just sitting around baked.
Most of the tracks share a familiar feel, though despite the album and song names, there is much more warmth then ghoulishness going on here. A lot of the material has a nice way of melding into each other, so it’s a little easy to get lost if you’re preoccupied while listening. It’s a shame that this artist isn’t more well received here, or even more a shame that perhaps he will be best remembered for his music on Grand Theft Auto III, which composed the ‘K-Jah’ radio station.
A track-by-track seems useless on this one, and I’m assuming unless you’re already a fan of the genre, this review will promote few new listeners. The album is best played as a whole anyway, allowing the subtleties of the various sound effects to give it a feeling of whole. As far as dub music goes, Scientist
is a pretty legendary artist, and if you enjoy reggae or dub music, I’m sure you’ll enjoy his brand.
Standout tracks (if you need a taste first):
Dance of the Vampires
The Mummy’s Shroud
Your Teeth in My Neck