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The Loggia playlist: Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Dub-Triptych (1973-1979)

Verdict: 5 out of 5 dreads

There’s actually a lot more to Dub than just Dubstep. Jamaican Dub music has been around for a long time—and quite frankly never gets as good as when Lee Perry & The Upsetters are involved. This album is really a compilation of three different albums (“Cloak and Dagger,” “Black Board Jungle Dub” and “Revolution Dub”) that span the birth of Dub music at Perry’s Black Ark studio. All of it is classic, 1970s Jamaica—steeped in the rich musical traditions of roots, rock and reggae. Perry was, after all, an established reggae producer in the 1950s before he essentially invented Dub after a brief stint with Bob Marley and the Wailers.
There are few, if any, vocals on Dub Triptych other than Perry’s eccentric narration. It’s probably for the best given that the album’s earth-shattering bass would easily drown them out. As a producer, Perry is much more interested in sound than he is with lyrics. We’re talking about a guy that had smoke blown continuously into the microphone at his recording studio. At one point, it sounds like he might even be peeing or gargling water.  I’m not sure if Perry wants us to make a lot out of his performance, or nothing at all. I’d personally just roll with it—no one else has ever made music quite like this.
Using ordinary 4-track recording equipment, Perry literally re-wrote the book on technical music production through sheer energy and the genius of his technical mixing skills. Almost 40 years later, producers are still trying to figure out how Perry made most of his music. Even Perry isn’t sure, stating in one interview that while “It was only four tracks on the machine, I was picking up 20 from the extra-terrestrial squad.”
Wherever its inspiration came from, most of Dub Triptych is really great, rhythmic stuff. I grew up listening to Dub Triptych, and I still seem to rediscover it every year. Perry opens the lead track—“Cloak & Dagger”—with the words, “Greetings music lover—all hear the music power.” That’s pretty much what Perry sets out to do, and he does it well. Good bass, rhythm and flow never get old, and make Dub Triptych a refreshing album to return to when I get tired of hearing about Dubstep.

The Highlights:
-38 songs, 2 discs, and 2 hours of awesome bass
-Lots of great instrumental numbers
-Listening to Perry make all kinds of strange noises
-“Black Panta”, “Musical Transplant”, and “Hailstone”
-The saxophone on “Cloak & Dagger” and “Jungle Jim”

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