I’m sitting here in a fog of pain killers and medical marijuana listening to Master Piece, renowned dub-reggae pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry’s latest offering of lounge-dub and deep trance. I got the vinyl — it’s crisp and warm at the same time like sitting by a fire in a field of snow. It’s September 11, 2012, 11 years since the attacks of 9/11. I’m in my apartment in NYC not far from Ground Zero. The new towers are once again visible from my window. I wasn’t going to tie the album review to 911 but given the unlikely release date and the fact that I’m laid up due to a recent back injury, it actually feels just right. Like many New Yorkers, I was here and lost friends. NYC and the world have never been the same, but I think for the first time in a long time it’s starting to feel a little better. Maybe its the bad back cocktail, or the tripped out delay loops talking, but either way I think I’m finally starting to get over it. Ever slightly. Even enough to lay this 911 joke on you:
“Knock knock” – “Who’s there?”
“911” – “911 who?’
“You said you’d never forget…”
For the uninitiated, Lee “Scratch” Perry is one of the most important figures in the history of reggae music. Not only did he help develop the early reggae sound captured in a number of important recordings, but as an engineer, producer, songwriter, and performer he pioneered a number of innovations, including the sonic tape experimentations of dub. Lee has worked with many of my favorite artists including acts as diverse as The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Massive Attack, The Orb, and of course more traditional reggae artists like Mad Professor, Bob Marley, Scientist, King Tubby, and more.
I’ve heard the LSP burned down his own studio, the infamous Black Ark, once after a disagreement with some investors and also that he invented reverb by putting mics in beer cans around the studio. Guy is clearly a super genius and not afraid to get weird on the reg. Plus, you gotta love a guy who designs his own album covers with a Photoshop for Dummies handbook. Priceless. Buy the CD or Vinyl of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Master Piece today, and download “Soul Man” (Reprise) for FREE at Rolling Stone.
Listen to a sampler of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s “Master Piece” below…