Music Hall of Williamsburg
Lee "Scratch" Perry

Presented by JLL - Part of the Dub Champions Festival

Lee "Scratch" Perry

Sinkane, Dre Skull

Sun, September 23, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

This event is 18 and over

Lee "Scratch" Perry
Lee "Scratch" Perry
One of the most important figures in the history of reggae music is Lee "Scratch" Perry. As a songwriter, a performer and especially a producer, Perry has been at the forefront of reggae music since the late 50's ska movement. Practically the inventor of both dubs reggae (he produced one of the earliest all-dub albums, Blackboard Jungle, in 1974) and the "scratch" turntable effect used by DJ's (his production of Charlie Ace's "Cow Theory Skank" in 1973 became the first recording to use the "scratch" effect), Perry's studio innovations have influenced not only reggae but also rock, punk, pop and dance music. Yet, at 70 years old, Perry, with his new album "Panic In Babylon" (Narnack) was released in August 2006, proves to be more relevant than ever.

"Panic In Babylon" originally released in Switzerland and available on CD and vinyl LP, follows on the heels of Perry's Grammy award for Best Reggae Album. Drenched in Perry's signature dub-echo style, the
album is musically hypnotic with an uncluttered instrumental simplicity. The lyrics explore global fears, political corruption and narrative; with Perry boldly declaring on the title cut "I am the Upsetter."
From the bawdy "Pussy Man" to "Inspector Gadget 2004," Perry leavens his more political and spiritual songs with lyrics that expose his fun, human and instinctual side. The album comes with a bonus disc that features a Dave Sitek/TV on the Radio Remix of the title tracks and a DJ Spooky Remix of "Purity Rock," illustrating Perry's cross-over appeal and spotlighting hip-hop artists paying back the musical debt they owe Perry.

Encapsulating Perry's entire long astonishing career is difficult at best. Chronicling his recordings as a solo artist and as the leader of various groups, along with his overflowing catalogue of productions, all released on a myriad of labels, could fill a book.

Perry was born Rainford Hugh Perry in the small town of Kendall, part of the Hanover section of northwest Jamaica on March 28, 1936. A dancer and domino player of renown when he was young, Perry began his musical apprenticeship on the Kingston, Jamaica music scene of the 1950's as part of Duke Reid's Trojan sound system. From there he became involved with celebrated producer Coxsone Dodd and his Downbeat sound system. He subsequently worked as an A&R man at Dodd's influential Studio One, eventually supervising the famed Sunday afternoon auditions held at Dodd's Orange Street record store. In 1959, Perry cut two singles that launched his career, "Old or New" and the song from which his nickname is derived, "Chicken Scratch." In the early 60's, Perry's reputation as a songwriter and producer exploded with recordings for the likes of Delroy Wilson, the Maytals and the Wailers, while he continued to record himself, sometimes under such pseudonyms as King Perry.

In 1966 Perry left Studio One under a cloud of acrimony. He was so upset with Dodd that he wrote a song called "The Upsetter," an attack on Dodd that became the name of Perry's band the Upsetters. It also became the name of his label and of his Charles Street record store. In 1969 he released "Return To Django," which shot up to number five on the U.K. charts; he followed the success of the song with a highly successful U.K. tour. In 1973 Perry opened his famed Black Ark studios in Washington Gardens, a suburb of Kingston. It was there that Perry's abilities as a groundbreaking producer became fully formed. Using only a TEAC 4-track recorder (the heads of which he would clean with his t-shirt), a Soundcraft mixing board and an Echoplex tape delay, Perry established himself as reggae's premier record producer through innovation, alchemy and a mysterious ability to take even the most moribund song and performances and create magic.

In the small, 12-foot studio that was filled with his beloved small rubber balls and thick with ganja smoke, the Perry legend grew and he was the first reggae producer to experiment with drum machines and phasers. Some of the Perry-produced recordings that followed became the seminal releases of 70's reggae, including Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves" (later covered by the Clash), Max Romeo's "War In Babylon,"
and other recordings by the Heptones, Mikey Dread and Augustus Pablo. It was around this time that Chris Blackwell began licensing much of Perry's output and releasing it on his label Island Records.
From 1977 on, Perry not only worked with Bob Marley on various productions and released perhaps the first 12-inch reggae single, Carlton Jackson's "History," but he also produced such non-reggae
artists as the Clash, John Martyn, Robert Palmer and even Linda McCartney.

In the late 70's and early 80's Perry fell on hard times. Island refused to release two of his albums and his studio fell into disrepair. In the summer of 1983, the studio burned to the ground, possibly of arson which forced Perry to relocate, this time to the U.S.A. Soon after he returned to Island Records and relocated once again, moving across the Atlantic to Britain. By the start of the 90's, he had buried the hatchet with Coxsone Dodd, relocated to the Netherlands, then on to Zurich Switzerland, where he eventually married Swiss millionairess Mirielle Campbell in a Hare Krishna temple. They have two children and the family still lives in Zurich.

In recent years, Perry has continued to work as a songwriter and a producer, but more importantly, he has continued to record himself, making fresh, new music while maintaining his mastery of the
recording studio.
It’s soul music! And truly universal; uniting rhythm and styles from our world over to help you move, relate and be, Sinkane’s Mean Love rolls like an emotional, existential history of the artist. Co-produced with long-time Sinkane collaborator and childhood friend Greg Lofaro, Ahmed Gallab has created an altogether unique compound of sound, stylistically nostalgic and ultramodern at the same time. From Gallab’s childhood in Sudan there is a Pan-African influence of popular Sudanese music and haqibah, as well as distinct horn and synth arrangements more common to East Africa. This background merges with the lessons learned from Ahmed‘s stints with obsessive craftsmen such as Caribou, Yeasayerand Of Montreal, and especially the monumental task he underwent as musical director of‘ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor.’ Gallab excavated and arranged a treasure trove of lost classics from the West African synth-pioneer to put together a now legendary series of performances. Alongside his band-mates in Sinkane (jaytram on drums, Ish Montgomery on bass, Jonny Lam on guitar), he also brought on guests Damon Albarn, David Byrne, The Lijadu Sisters, Money Mark and members of Hot Chip,LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, and Blood Orange.

The experiences from this on-going endeavor contribute to the collective feel of the record.It is Gallab’s uncanny ability to embrace and assemble a huge history as pure and generous modern-musical expressions. The funky, infectious brasslines of “New Name,” as well as the Equatorial “Young Trouble” are prime examples of the incredible aptitude of Sinkane’s songwriting. Employing the architecture of pop, and a forward-thinking approach to its classic instrumentation, the vibes of Sinkane’s deep-groove past remain intact, in full force.We could lay down a bunch of extra buzzwords to this collection, of course; there are doses of West African funk slow-burners, a noir blaxploitation cool, and a more afro-centric Curtis Mayfield is present, specifically in album standout “Hold Tight.” In the end, these songs GIVE, and its up to you to take what you want.

You can detect a surprising country soul rising in the title track, “Mean Love”, and also in the hauntingly beautiful slide guitar work of “Galley Boys.” Both tunes are reminiscent of a time when soul heavyweights such as James Carr and Solomon Burke recorded juke joint anthems. The title track sits proudly on the same mantelpiece as an updated version of those classics, a tearjerker that will grip the imaginative heart of modern concertgoers and collectors of dusty soul on vinyl.

It takes a disciplined mind as well as an artistic heart to curate so many influences and disseminate them wisely. A longing and verve for his African origins emanates from the album in a particularly poignant sequence of songs. When “Son” undulates with the mantra, “I will not forget where I came from” and segues into the Sudanese Pop melody of“Omdurman,” (Gallab’s hometown in Sudan) it is the romantic recapturing of a lost childhood memory, and a jolt to the listener’s solar plexus. Says lyricist Greg Lofaro,“I think, to a lot of secular folks, the most compelling argument for heaven is the thought of seeing loved ones. In this case, the melody informed the content very specifically and I knew I wanted to speak graciously, not bitterly, about that. Ahmed typically names sketches for what they’re inspired by or remind him of. Often, that’s something Sudanese (“Warm Spell” had been called “Kurdufan” for awhile). So, it was fitting and we kept the title Omdurman.” This song also has a live quality – when you hear in on record, it precipitates the image of a live hymn, a promise that begs for an audience call and response, “Where, if I should settle down, will I finally settle?”

Mean Love is an album with an open door invitation, and gets deeper with every listen.You hear it right away in the blistering opening track, “How We Be.” An instant classic, sounding like a lost gem of soul funk, a sweetness of voice alongside honey bass lines, the tune grips you and makes you wish for a dance floor, while enticing you to stay for the whole journey of the album.

Paul Gilroy, the path-breaking scholar and historian of the music of the Black Atlantic diaspora, once wrote that a primary characteristic of black cross-Atlantic creativity is a “desire to transcend both the structures of the nation state and constraints of ethnicity and national particularity.” Nothing could be more precise about the cross-disciplined, multifaceted second album by Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab, aka Sinkane: Mean Love.
Dre Skull
NYC DJ/producer Dre Skull came up in the art/music scene that birthed Lightning Bolt and Paper Rad while starting his career with the conceptual performance group Slow Jams Band. Many sweaty house shows and performances at art institutions later, Dre decided to step back from the intersections of art and music and turned his attention full-time to making music. He has since worked with a wide variety of Electronic Music forerunners: LAIDBACK LUKE & DIPLO, GOON & KOYOTE, LAUREN FLAX and UDACHI & JUBILEE. In 2009, DRE SKULL founded MIXPAK RECORDS s as an outpost for his own productions, recently completing work with artists ranging from LIL SCRAPPY, VYBZ KARTEL, NATALIE STORM, 77 KLASH, GOTTY BOI CHRIS to SIZZLA. The fourth MIXPAK release, VYBZ KARTEL's DRE SKULL produced single, "Yuh Love," is a worldwide phenomenon, with strong support on the London airwaves and the music video reaching number one on CVM TV's Hitlist in Jamaica.
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211