Lee “Scratch” Perry remakes his classic dub album Super Ape
So, apparently, Lee “Scratch” Perry has remade his 1976 classic dub album Super Ape. And as our friend says, it might be Scratch’s best work since he burned down the Black Ark nearly forty years ago. At eighty-one years old, Perry and original percussionist Larry McDonald—along with NYC dancehall legend Screechy Dan—have revisited the album’s timeless tracks and reimagined them for “the bass obsessed, sound system generation.”
The album, Super Ape Returns to Conquer, drops on September 22 on Subatomic Sound. Label guru, Subatomic band leader, and album coproducer Emch explains the concept behind completely remaking Super Ape: “It is a crazy thing to do to completely remake a classic. No one has ever dared to do something like that. It prompts the question: What is the motivation if it was already classic? Really, it was to adapt a slow, hypnotic album to a hype live show while still maintaining the vibes that make the music special. Like an alternate version.”
We’re premiering the track “Curly Dub,” below.
“Curly Dub” features a bold steppers beat and unlikely swaggering jazz bass line that get turnt up and taken on a psychedelic trip back to Africa. Though reggae is often identified by its signature bass lines, Scratch upends convention on this composition with a massive walking jazz bass line originally over a four on the floor steppers beat (somewhat groundbreaking in the 1970s) that is redone by Subatomic Sound in heavyweight fashion with tight 808 house kicks, big belly sine wave bass, and an added energy boost from improvised Ethiopian sax solos – extending the original American jazz influence all the way back to Africa. Screechy Dan reincarnates Scratch’s original vocals that harken back very clearly to the vocal phrasing style that Scratch famously nurtured in Bob Marley. Scratch blends his spirituality with signature humor, proclaiming “I am free” and that he is black Moses, here to free the people, imploring the to feel it, smell it, and taste it. Scratch was a huge influence on the Beastie Boys, one of the few respected artists also known for their humor, who featured Scratch on their track Dr. Lee Phd.
The official tour starts October 24—with a can’t-miss NYC show at Output on the 25th with Francois K/Deep Space!
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