Lee “Scratch” Perry: Repentance


Lee “Scratch” Perry is known for his role as the legendary Jamaican producer who helped usher in the genre of dub music over 40 years ago.  Featuring experimental and spacey bass-laden effects on lyric-less versions of reggae classics, a new genre grew and was popularized by the storied producer.  Having created and worked on countless albums with every dub artist imaginable, the storied Grammy winning icon is back with his 54th studio album, Repentance.

In an unlikely collaboration with ultra-creative artist and producer, Andrew W.K., an acquaintance Perry made at Austin’s SXSW festival in 2006, the pair embarked on a unique undertaking.  Fusing Perry’s classic dub-reggae rhythms with contemporary musical influences, an album that is relevant in the modern music world, though rooted in the dub tradition, emerged.

With tracks such as “Santa Claus,” and “Party Time,” the pair layer Perry’s reggae cadences over more modern driving electronic beats.  The results are textures that you might expect to hear from the more modern acts of Hot Chip or Spank Rock.  Not only integrating more new-school beats, Perry and W.K. also infuse Repentance with a more modern instrumentation on several tracks, juxtaposing and combining eras in musical development.  This phenomenon can be observed in most of the album’s tracks, particularly “Fire,” “Pum Pum,” “Heart Doctor,” and “Chooga Cane.”
Despite the modern twists integrated on his new album, Perry still holds true to his Jamaican dancehall roots backing most of these genre-hopping songs with aspects of traditional dub palates.  The most significant of these dub-rooted songs are “Shine,” “Reggae Man,” and “War Dance.”

Lee Perry has come forth with an innovative album that illustrates the maestro’s ability to adapt to multiple musical milieus. An engaging album for dub-reggae fans and beyond, Perry has provided his take on modern music while still remaining loyal to his Jamaican roots.

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