30 minutes with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

Paul MacGuiness of The Guardian on the phone with The Upsetter:

Hello Lee, where are you now?

I’m in my bedroom.

What can you see from your window?

[Wife repeats the question, slowly] I can see ice and snow. What goes on. What can you see?

I’m stuck in the Guardian office. I wish I was looking at snow.

Maybe you are, who knows. Maybe you have double vision.

The clock continues here.

Recommended listening: Police and Thieves

On-U Sound / Adrian Sherwood – 30 Years at The Controls

“Rock and roll, what an empty generation.”

One of the initial notices of existence regarding the On-U Sound crew was the Major Malfunction album credited to drummer Keith LeBlanc, with Doug Wimbish on bass, Skip McDonald, keys and guitar and Adrian Sherwood mixing.  The cut up samples, robotic yet human nature of this work, it’s subtle and direct political nature, crossing racial lines, embracing the good, the bad and the damn ugly, percussion concussions, grabbed me by both ears and slammed me headfirst into many a speaker stack.

“Technology works, technology delivers.”

The search began, reading album sleeves, seeing the same names pop up, remixes by Adrian Sherwood here and there, Tackhead, Sugarhill musical crew of Wimbish, LeBlanc and McDonald. Listening to African Head Charge on my Walkman, sounds panning from the left side of my head to the right and seemingly moving to the front lobe then back, pausing midway to drop some rootical knowledge and dub science.  A psychedelic Africa indeed, never heard anything like that before.

“Adjust the treble and bass.”

So enamored with this sound when in London, I knocked on the door of the address that was  on the sleeves of these’On-U Sound’ productions.  A Japanese woman opened the door of the house, “Uh, is this On U Sound, I’m looking for Adrian Sherwood?”  The woman who introduced herself as Kishi invited me in.  In my head, juvenile enthusiasm was on, I was saying “Damn, that’s Kishi, Kishi!” Kishi Yamamoto was Adrian’s wife back then and she was responsible for the majority of the label artwork and also played keyboards. They didn’t know me from Jack, I arrived unannounced but yet here a fresh pimply yout’ living in Toronto who had a program on CKLN Radio was now standing in the living room / mixing studio of musical royalty, being offered tea, and more records to fuel my program and passion.  A massive mixing desk was on the wall, yes, on the wall, not on a table as normal,  it took up less space this way.

Pay It All Back

I used to have a cassette that had the first Public Enemy album on one side and on the other was “As The Veneer of Democracy Starts To Fade”, by Mark Stewart and The Maffia.  That shit was coarse, nothing like it existed before, apart from Public Enemy in a way, that’s why that cassette was so important to me.  Those two albums showed the possibilities that existed and they still do to this day.  When revolution has become a marketing tool and rebellion stale, put on those albums now, as the charge is still there, ready to inspire and set fire.  The world of control domination politics, statistics that blow minds, sounds that carry the hurt and aspirations. Reflect the time of the past, then and now. Techniques are being constantly refined to maintain the status quo that has been in place for hundreads of years  – yes that’s how I spell hundred.

You gotta check The Quietus interview with Adrian, it delves deep, really sets the record straight as to the conditions of the time that went into creating such an influential sounds.  Adrian and crew have touched thousands, from Massive Attack – vocalist Shara Nelson worked with Adrian that’s how come they knew her, Depeche Mode, Adrian did several remixes for them, Peter Gabriel,  Living Colour, Primal Scream – Echo Dek, what a great piece of work.

Me and my man Angus and a quite a few others would travel across London or up and down the country to catch On U Sound nights, legendary, two queues, one to get in, one to get out, ha!

You get the drift, enough blabbing from me, check that article and seek should you feel what’s been written.

Ear Conditioning 11 – Foreign Affairs

Begin:

Surprises, don’t you just love ’em?  One of the joys of going to music festivals such as Womad Las Palmas for example, is the unknown.  Who are we going to see?  For the  majority of artists and festival go’ers it will be the first time encountering each other.  Chancing upon Trio Chemirani was a highpoint of going to Womad about three or four years ago.  They played early on the first day, a percussive trio, an Iranian family, a  father and his two sons, playing the zarb, a drum that isn’t technically a drum. Makes sense yes?  As the zarb is played with all ten fingers, this presents melody, as well as rhythm, dope let me tell say.

Been listening to the Gonjasufi album alot since it’s release last week.  Funkadelic, Chic, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Mustafa Ozkent and more  come to mind, and it’s still original get me?  It’s well worth the price of admission.

Last Friday I handed over my contribution to the Galdino 2010 release, which I wrote about in the previous post.  A little bit of tweaking to be done at Tuff Gong, and we are set.  Adrian Sherwood is on the case as well, so it should be a quality package, as well as a damn good cause to publicize.

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry takes on Black Sabbath, then Pempi went an’ dark’d it up with a bass frenzied attack. Eh? yeah, I know.  When I dropped it at Txola last Friday, the one called Jose, was all WTF?! in my face.  Now if we can get some bass-bins in the joint, then there’s gonna be some serious trouble.  The newly-installed town-council enforced dB limiter as a right pain in the ass, so now we are only tickling people with the sound, and dat nah right.

On the subject of bass music, had to dig out Horsepower Productions, some quality pressure if I remember correctly.

The show as usual as it turns and twists, but not enough the throw you off the deep end, which maybe it should do actually.

In that case, I’ll try again next week, so for now….eat this.

Ear Conditioning (Week 11) – Foreign Affairs

  • Palestinian Radio
  • Trio Chemirani – Reng é Rāchel (émouvance)
  • Vilayat Khan – Morning Raga /Jalsaghar The Music Room
  • Portishead – Silence (Island)
  • Zinc – Faster (Bingo/Polydor)
  • Horsepower Productions – Special 131 (Tempa)
  • Maga Bo – Homeboys (Soot)
  • Reso – Channel Pressure (Civil Music)
  • Low Limit – Turf Day (Rush Hour)
  • I.R. featuring Deeder Zaman, Paxato Singers, the ghost,  Zumbi – Galdino 2010 D.WattsRiot Rmx (Indigenous Resistance)
  • Mutamassik – DounDoun (Rough Americana)
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Nochexxx – Smashing Your System featuring Sensational (Werk)
  • Other Weapons – Who You Be [Instrumental]  (Destroy All Concepts)
  • Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Iron Man Dub / Pembi Remix (On-U Sound)
  • S.U.A.D. – Epileptic – Martyn’s Remix (Z Audio)
  • Gonjasufi – Rebirth (Warp)

This transmission will be floating out there via Sunhole Radio from 22h00 GMT  tonight and maybe Radio Norte next week Tuesday at 20h00 GMT.  Sunhole also repeat the program every weekday morning at 11h00.

Update: The above program is now available to listen at your convenience via Pod-O-Matic.

Clandestino Festival – June 11-13 2010

Lee 'Scatch' Perry

The initial confirmations for eighth edition of Clandestino Festival in Gothenborg, Sweden are:
Mala/Digital Mystikz; Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry with Adrian Sherwood on the live mix; TrashVanTraxx (Barcelona); Wu Fei (Bejing/NYC); Little Dragon (Gothenborg); Staff Benda Bilili (Kinshasa)
We are still finalizing the programming, however should this tempt you, early-bird tickets are available  here.