Celebrating the 45th anniversary of Grammy winning dub & reggae pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry’s landmark 1973 album “Blackboard Jungle Dub”, the world’s first dub album, Scratch, now 82 years young, will embark on a tour across North America performing his studio masterpiece live in its entirety for the first time, aided by the technology of NYC’s Subatomic Sound System, his hybrid band of new school electronics and veteran Jamaican musicians from the Black Ark era recordings. They will also perform music from their album “Super Ape Returns To Conquer” ( http://bit.ly/SS033s ) which topped both reggae and electronic charts in 2018, plus singles like “Black Ark Vampires” (http://bit.ly/BAVss ) and classics from Perry’s work with the likes of Bob Marley, Max Romeo, and many more. Perry’s Blackboard Jungle album includes dub remixes of hit songs he co-wrote with Bob Marley, “Kaya” & “Keep On Movin”, as well as other big tunes from The Wailers and Junior Byles. Kaya turned out to be Marley’s most successful album of his career and celebrated its own anniversary with a massive festival earlier this year.
Perry’s collaborations in the early 1970s with Bob Marley & The Wailers defined the reggae genre and launched them to super stardom, but Perry himself shifted his focus in 1973 to constructing his infamous Black Ark recording studio so he could create a mystical new genre called “dub” made by using the mixing board as an instrument. Blackboard Jungle was the world’s first dub reggae album, and signaled not only the birth of dub as a genre, but also the dawn of remixing, the concept of the producer as an artist, and the power of an independent home studio to create world class music – ideas that impacted so many people around the world that they have essentially become the blueprint for music in the 21st century. Kanye West & Jay Z have sampled his recordings, the Sex Pistols hailed his work as inspiration for the punk movement, and artists across generations like Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, The Clash, The Beastie Boys, and Major Lazer have all sought out Perry for collaborations.
For over eight years in the USA, Subatomic Sound System has been Scratch’s go to band for bringing his Black Ark Studio sound live to the stage, a unique hybrid configuration that brings together a handful of live musicians like legendary Jamaican percussionist Larry McDonald (Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, The Skatalites, Gil Scot Heron) with computers and live dub mixing of classic recordings as well as brand new sounds Scratch hears from outer space. Formed in NYC at the turn of the millennium, Subatomic Sound System tours worldwide as DJ or live performance and band for Lee Scratch Perry; runs the Subatomic Sound label; hosts a radio show on Brooklyn Radio; and founded Dub Champions Festival.
Born in Jamaica in 1936, Lee “Scratch” Perry has been overturning tradition and confounding conventional wisdom for more than six decades. In the process, the widely acknowledged father of dub reggae became arguably the first creatively driven “artist-producer” in modern recorded music. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Perry on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Lee Perry began in the music business in the 1950’s and by the 1960’s became known for his innovative production techniques as well as his eccentric character. His first single “People Funny Boy” in 1968 was notable for its innovative use of sampling as well as a fast, chugging beat that would soon become identifiable as “reggae”. Concurrent with his own releases with the Upsetters, Perry produced numerous reggae artists at his Black Ark studio, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Heptones, and Max Romeo.
After his famed Black Ark Studio was consumed by fire, Perry took refuge in England and the USA performing live and making records with collaborators from a wide range of musical genres, all artists who had been inspired by his innovative work. NYC bass music specialists Subatomic Sound System connected with Scratch in 2007, creating his first dubstep remixes through a collaboration with Vienna’s Dubblestandart.
Lee “Scratch” Perry, 82 years young and now into his sixth decade as a pop-music provocateur, has few peers when it comes to fresh ideas and their implementation. Perry remains one of the world’s most imaginative sonic architects and his live show with Subatomic Sound System is proof that regardless of his age, he continues to break new ground.
MORE INFORMATION ON BLACKBOARD JUNGLE ALBUM
“Late 1973 saw the release of one of the greatest Lee Perry productions ever: UPSETTERS 14 DUB BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, the album better known as Blackboard Jungle Dub. The first fully-fledged Lee “Scratch” Perry dub album, and one of a handful of records vying for the title of “First Dub LP,” the album was initially issued in small quantities in Jamaica on the Upsetter label as a 14-song album mixed with channel separation, like an Esquivel record, with the drum and bass largely in the left speaker, and the guitar and horns in the right; later editions were reduced to 12 songs, and often issued with a monophonic mix (check the Auralux edition for the definitive reissue).
Some say King Tubby collaborated with Perry on the release, though Perry has often downplayed or denied Tubby’s involvement. In any case, opening number “Blackboard Jungle” is an awesome dub of “Bucky Skank,” had sense-surround drums, roaring sirens and wild guitar licks; “Kasha Macka” re-worked Prince Django’s “Hot Tip” within a stop-and-go mixing format; and there are dubs of Junior Byles’ “Place Called Africa,” and the Wailers’ “Kaya,” “Dreamland” and “Keep On Moving.” A true classic of the dub genre, this album is absolutely essential.”