The Upsetter Back At The Controls

Perhaps no one has been as influential on reggae as Lee “Scratch” Perry.  It’s almost as if the Almighty himself tapped Perry to bring this new style of music to the planet.  Many call Bob Marley the “King of Reggae”, in all honesty though, isn’t Lee Perry the real “King of Reggae.”  Without Perry, there is no Wailers. Without the Wailers, this music, which was routinely descibed as “jungle music,” never escapes that small rock in the Caribbean.

It is quite significant then that Perry, who is pushing 77 years of age, is in the lab right now working on a new album.  He is currently working on an intriguing new project with London-based producer Daniel Boyle.

Boyle, a lifelong music enthusiast, has recorded and produced everything from rock to opera.  After taking a short break from music, he returned with a new studio and set out to record a reggae album.

The most intriguing rumor regarding the recording of this new Scratch album is that Boyle and Perry have collected all of the same equipment that was used in the Black Ark Studio, Perry’s legendary recording studio.  Word is that Scratch is back at the controls of his old equipment doing the dubbing and effects!

Boyle spent years searching the web in order to get an authentic sound for Rolling Lion, the recording studio where the two are at work.  His web search turned up gold: the exact kit that Perry had at the Black Ark minus a few components.

Says Boyle, “Scratch certainly had some interesting and rare effects from equipment like the Mutron Bi-Phase and used them in a certain order, so we’re doing the same on our mixes. I had access to the same desk Scratch had via my friend Dubmatix, but I chose to run everything through a Toft ATB board instead – I really like the sound of them and it worked with the other vintage units.”

Unlike Scratch’s albums of late, where he has been hands-off, even phoning in vocals at times, he is in the studio with Boyle doing what he is best at-flipping switches, turning knobs, mashing buttons, and, this is most important, dancing out his desired riddims in that signature cripple rootsman skank.

If his last two albums are any indication of what this new project will sound like, we can expect the wildest concoction of sound available on wax.

To read more, and to access samples and interviews, please visit

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