Lee “Scratch” Perry
Producer/performer/innovator Lee “Scratch” Perry doesn’t create art so much as he induces a state of mind. From his early days as the “Upsetter” in the late ’60s to his latest release Rise Again, Perry weaves aural magic that is unmistakably “Scratch.” Continuing with the dub tradition he helped create, Rise Again finds Scratch as performer, with Bill Laswell producing. And what a creation it is. All of his music is headphone candy, and this one is no exception. Now he’s not the rowdy mental patient of the Black Ark days (the legendary studio he built in Jamaica and supposedly burned to the ground in a rage), heck, he doesn’t even smoke weed anymore — but the music is dope without it. Laswell has assembled a great collection of players to back the influential Perry, including master reggae drummer Sly Dunbar, TV on the Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe, P-Funk legend Bernie Worrell on keys, and Hawkman among others. The result is a perfect presentation of Perry’s particular wizardry, circa 2011. It takes a few spins before the record starts to sink in, but between Laswell’s aural trickery and some deep Perry lyrics, you’ll find it hard to believe Rise Again is the product of a 75-year-old man. But if anything marks the career of Lee “Scratch” Perry, it’s the element of otherworldliness that is his musical and philosophic status quo. Take a ride with Rise Again. You might not come back.
Lee Perry: www.lee-perry.com