Tag Archives: Scientist

Five in-demand Scientist albums reissued

unnamed (1)Iconic reggae label Greensleeves – nowdays owned by VP Records – was key in putting dub on the musical map through releasing a number of classic albums. The ones mixed by mixing engineer extraordinaire Scientist have never been officially reissued before. I guess it has had something to do with copyright laws, or the lack of it in Jamaica in the early days of reggae and dancehall.

The label has now however managed to come around these issues by not crediting Scientist as the artist. Instead the albums are centred on the producers – Henry “Junjo” Lawes and Linval Thompson. Very clever.

The albums finally reissued are based on recordings that heralded the hit making start for Henry Lawes and the Roots Radics, a band often described as the main architects behind dancehall, a genre that represented a shift and big leap forward for reggae. Many of these dangerous recordings also marked the start for several long and successful careers. Barrington Levy is one the artists that started his career together with Henry Lawes and the Roots Radics.

And two of the dub albums are almost solely based on two of his sets – Englishman and Robin Hood. These two albums form the foundation for Big Showdown – where Scientist goes head to head with Prince Jammy – and Heavyweight Dub Champion. The other three sets – The Evil Course of the Vampires, Wins the World Cup and Space Invaders – have riddims taken from a large number of different artists.unnamed

But these five reissues offer more than just dub. Each album include the vocal counteractions on a different disc. It’s the first time the sets are presented in this fashion. Again, very clever.

These eye-catching comic book style albums are some of the best dub sets ever put out and they marked a change history of dub. The riddims provided by the Roots Radics are some of the rawest and heaviest ever to be put on wax. Scientist demolishes the riddims and then he builds them up piece by piece creating a completely new sonic landscape with emphasis on bass and drums.

These selections are crucial to say the least. Roots Radics riddims produced by Henry Lawes and Linval Thompson recorded at Channel One and then mixed by Scientist at King Tubby’s. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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Unreleased Scientist album hits the streets

11183_JKTDigikiller/Deeper Knowledge Records have found ten unreleased Scientist dubs and collected them on an album titled The Dub Album They Didn’t Want You to Hear!.

Nine of the tracks are dub versions of Flick Wilson’s School Days album and one is a dub from Wayne Jarrett’s What’s Wrong With the Youths set. Both albums were originally released by Jah Life.

This set is described by the label as classic Scientist 1980 style mixing. This usually means hard and sparse with focus on the bare essentials – bass and drums.

The Dub Album They Didn’t Want You to Hear! is currently only available on LP.

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A diverse dub album from Scientist and Ted Sirota

coverAcclaimed U.S. jazz drummer, producer and composer Ted Sirota decided a while ago to pay tribute to the music he had been in love for the past 30 years or so.

The project started with a successful Kickstarter campaign where Ted Sirota and premier dub wizard Scientist managed to raise 25,000 dollars. The funds were invested in Scientist Meets Ted Sirota’s Heavyweight Dub, a 14 track album recorded, mixed and mastered by Scientist.

The album title suggests a straight dub set, but this is not the case. A number of the cuts lean more towards instrumentals and songs such as Yanira and Saro-Wiva have lots of vocals thrown into the mix. A good thing that makes the album more diverse than a traditional dub effort.

Roots reggae, jazz, ska, hip-hop and dancehall are the main influences, and highlights include versions of Johnny Osbourne’s Give a Little Love and Randy Newman’s Baltimore, immortalized by Sly & Robbie’s highly successful take on it. Both cuts give the originals a run for their money.

Scientist and Ted Sirota also pay tribute to the late and great Jackie Mittoo and King Tubby. The former via the organ lead spaced out Jackie-Me-Too! and the latter through Tubby, a bass and percussion driven dancehall scorcher with honking saxophone and trombone echoing in and out of the mix.

Scientist Meets Ted Sirota’s Heavyweight Dub is maybe not the bass heavy punch that the title proposes, but it contains several inspired mixes and the instrumentation is superb throughout.

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A rock solid Barrington Levy anthology

1355252762_barrington-levy-reggae-anthology-sweet-reggae-music-1979-84Barrington Levy is one of those people whose importance in reggae can’t be over exaggerated. Together with producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes, mixing engineer Scientist and the brutally hard skanking Roots Radics he was part of creating dancehall in the late 70’s. And he was only in his late teens. Scientist was a little older and Henry Lawes was in his early twenties. Impressive to say the least.

It was during the early dancehall era that the young Barrington Levy had his heydays. His juvenile, energetic and enthusiastic singing style was extremely popular and suited the dancehall format very well, and he managed to release hit song after hit song after hit song, including Collie Weed, Looking My Love, Shine Eye Gal, Hammer, 21 Girls Salute and Prison Oval Rock. His biggest hits to date are however the ganja anthem Under Mi Sensi and Here I Come – with its infectious skiddly-waddily-iddily-diddly- diddly-whoa-oa-oh.

All these and 32 more tracks of the same high caliber produced by the likes of Joe Gibbs, Donovan Germain, George Phang, Linval Thompson, Jah Screw and the aforementioned Henry Lawes are collected on the two disc Barrington Levy anthology Sweet Reggae Music 1979-84. Even though this is a single artist anthology, it’s also a great way to discover the early days of dancehall and the Roots Radics militant and disciplined way of revitalizing vintage riddims giving them a rock solid edge.

Barrington Levy has had a long career and still records sporadically, even though he has announced his final album. His best period is by no competition his early years, a time when his output was massive. But this magnificent compilation manages to collect almost only certified scorchers, even though the audio quality could have been better on some tracks.

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Reggae goes outernational

Rymden är i hetluften just nu. Vår svenske ingenjörshjälte Christer Fuglesang gjorde inatt sin första av två planerade rymdpromenader. Och medierapporteringen är massiv.

I reggaevärlden har man naturligtvis varit i rymden och vänt flera gånger redan. I alla fall på skivomslagen.

Skivomslagen i reggaevärlden kan grovt delas in i fem kategorier. Vi har de religiösa, de sexistiska, de porträtterande och de gräshyllande. Sedan har vi ju förstås rymdomslagen.

Rymdomslagen är – kanske självklart – alltid tecknade och visar ofta artisten eller gruppen som hjälte/hjältar eller något annat tappert.

Vad rymdfascinationen beror på är svårt att svara på. Kanske ligger tjusningen i att rymden är relativt okänt territorium? Kanske beror det på de rymdfilmer som producerades under 60- och 70-talen och som satte sina avtryck.

Under 80-talet var det högsäsong på rymdomslag, och kända namn som Lone Ranger, Mikey Dread och Prince Far I hakade alla på trenden med plattorna Badda Dan Dem,

Lone Ranger

Dread at the Controls

Mikey Dread

respektive Cry Tuff – Dub Encounter Chapter III.

Prince Far I

Men bakom min favorit döljer sig ett skivomslag signerat formgivaren Tony McDermott. Hans tecknade skivomslag till plattan Scientist Meets the Space Invaders från 1981 är fenomenalt – den vinnande faktorn är nog de små Pacman-figurerna som anfaller Scientist i sin superhjälteuniform.

1981_Scientist-Scientist_meets_the_Space_Invaders

Scientist möter på sin platta rymdskurkarna. Prince Jammy däremot, förgör dem året efter Scientist på skivan Prince Jammy Destroys the Space Invaders. Även om titlarna påminner om varandra, så är skivomslagen rätt olika, även om dataspelskopplingen är tydlig.

Prince Jammys destroys the space invaders

På den tredje rymdplattan signerad Scientist och Jammy gör de gemensam sak och slår tillbaka. Albumet Scientist and Jammy Strike Back! har ett skivomslag med tydlig parafras till Star Wars-filmerna.

1983-Scientist_and_Jammy-Scientist_and_Jammy_strike_back

Även på vår sida Atlanten fattade man tycke för rymden. Brittiska Tradition gjorde plattan Captain Ganja and The Space Patrol där man utforskar rymden i en hyperteknisk farkost.

Captain Ganja

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