Best Seven / Sonar Kollektiv
Glyn “Bigga” Bush, a.k.a. Lightning Head, is one in a long line of Brits who twists and contorts dub and ska to his own nefarious purposes. Inspired by all things Jamaican, “El-Head” basks in the glory of the old Roland Alphonso Studio One days while dipping the 40-year-old sound into the multicultural gumbo that describes so much of today’s music. Slow-crawl reggae bass lines meet with funk sensibilities which collide into driving Latin percussion while tripping on the dub reverb. While these culture clashes do not always work, they do make for an interesting album and some very good music.
“El Head Sound,” for example, is a pleasant dub that melts its way into a slow motion Latin funk. There’s some good, old-fashioned calypso ska like with “E.V.A.” “Step On Out” is a yearning dub/soul ballad that has a dash of the haunting. The most intriguing concoction has got to be “Message to the Tribes,” a driving, swirling house cut with intense batucada rhythms pounding away at you beneath queer Hammond effects. And the jewel in this crown has to be “Bassdrum And Snare,” a bare-bones drum and toast with the magnetic vocals of Patrice (who does sort of sound like a cross between Bob Marley and son Ziggy). Even Tom Browne would be envious of this Jamaican funk.
At times, Studio Don can get a bit tedious, but there is definitely enough good stuff here to make me applaud the effort and actually look for “Bigga” in the future.