For the past two and a half years or so legendary producer and overall mad man Lee “Scratch” Perry has worked together with producer Daniel Boyle in his Rolling Lion studio in the UK. The result is a sweaty and swirling set with a whopping 24 tracks. It’s the first part of a two stage project, where Daniel Boyle in the next phase aims to record a follow-up in Jamaica with a number seasoned singers and deejays.
Together they have worked with the aim of re-building the sound from Lee Perry’s mythical Black Ark studio. To create this very distinct sound they have utilized bits of vintage studio equipment – microphones, compressors and effects – originally used back in the days. And the analogue and organic sound is certainly close to the original Black Ark style. The bass is a little louder though.
And what is unique in this project is that the tracks have been jointly created by Lee Perry and Daniel Boyle. Lee Perry has for the first time in years been pushing the knobs and being active on the mixing desk and at the mixing stage.
Back on the Controls is deep roots music and features a number of well-renowned musicians – guitarist Hughie Izachaar, Hornsman Coyote, singer Christine Miller, bass player Dennis Bovell and drummer Style Scott.
On top of the ethereal and esoteric music created by the players of instruments floats Lee Perry’s half sung, half-spoken mumblings and grumblings. It’s sometimes hard to understand a word of what the man says, or rather preaches. But then again, even if I had heard the words, I probably would not have understood anything anyway. He’s not big on context or storytelling.
This is an overall pretty dark and dense album, but the backing vocals provide some well-needed brightness and lightness.
Lee Perry’s latest releases have been partly in the more electronic field, and he has worked together with UK’s The Orb and Dubblestandart out of Germany. This set, however, brings back his raw signature style. Lee Perry has relocated from the factory to the rain forest.