Thursday

Lee "Scratch" Perry & the Upsetters

Super Ape - 1976

Lee Perry's dub reggae cornerstone was released in Jamaica on his own Upsetter label in July of 76 under the title Scratch the Upsetter, and unleashed upon the rest of the world a month later as Super Ape, albeit with a different cover and track order. And while volumes could be written on the influence of Super Ape, the album itself is a dark, brooding exploration of skeletal harmonies and the sonic manipulation of Scratch in his absolute prime. Psychedelic doesn't even begin to describe this music. The peaks are numerous, but the narcotic waves of dub bass and dense orchestration create a hypnotic soundscape that functions most effectively in album length doses. As essential as it gets.
Return of the Super Ape - 1978

The follow-up to Super Ape, released two years later as The Return of Super Ape, carried the good fortune of being the final album recorded in Lee Perry's legendary Black Ark studio. Scratch himself allegedly burned it to the ground a year later in a ritual to cleanse the studio of the bad mojo that had permeated it in its later years. Although it serves as a nice companion piece, The Return of Super Ape is similar to its predecessor in name only, as it's more of an upbeat collection of bizzarre lyrical twists and wild experiments laced together with slinky dub grooves. Driven by the crack musicianship of the Upsetters, the instrumentation is less dense, and in turn, Scratch's surreal technical effects are pushed even further out front. As heady as it gets.


9 comments:

thebeathunters said...

hi, just to let you know that i'm back on the block at
http://biggersplash.blogspot.com/
hope to see you there sometimes

chris_c said...

thanks for the post, i love the site - always top class music - some new to me, some not. please keep up the good work!

JBL said...

Thanks for another interesting one JR-- I have long heard of the greatness of L"S"P, and am glad to hear him at his best.
I'm not feeling it, but I appreciate the chance to check it out, as always.

Willard said...

Thanks for the kind words JR.
As you may have noticed by the design, you're my mentor. I've been a fan of yours good, clean style for a while. Thanks for the guidance.
Capt. W

Paul said...

Many thanks for the share and for a great choice of music on the blog.

Paul said...

Many thanks for the share and for a great choice of music on the blog.

D said...

Thanks for this - been lookin for long long time!! Your blog is awesome! Thanks again, D

the vapor said...

i just stumbled upon your site while looking for Upsetters album Super Ape. Great Site!
megaupload says these two are temporarily unavailable though.
Looking forward to reading more of your blog!
the vapor

JR Heat Warp said...

Hey Vapor-

Megaupload is tricky like that sometimes. Try the link again after a short while. It usually works after a couple of tries. Thanks for dropping in!