Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Takes, Dubs & Versions

Been listening to Scratch over the past few days and stumbled upon the numerous versions of the 'Underground' rhythm he worked on. Not being a complete dub obsessive (although I certainly like it, and a lot) this was something of a revelation, they're all fantastic!

Here's the original (apparently), 'Underground' from Super Ape, 1976, prime Black Ark production:

And a trio of independent dubs, here strung together, also from 1976. Clive Hylton is involved somewhere...

Also appeared in a weirder, scratchier version as 'From Dub Four', perhaps a 'Creation Dub 4'? on the recent Sound System Scratch collection from Pressure Sounds. Not on Youtube but this is, and is equally impressive:

The Return of Sound System Scratch is even better. The Wire tried to link these to hauntology, what with all the disembodied crackle and spectral space; initially straighforward productions spun off their axes, ending up decayed husks.

Studio One recordings do riddims to death, but given how good they are it's hardly surprising. Here's Delroy Wilson, Jennifer Lara, Bobby Crystal and George Nooks playing with Errol Dunkley's 'Movie Star' riddim:

On a similar note I've also been listening to the boxset of Miles Davis' Complete Jack Johnson Sessions. It was one of those trophies I thought I couldn't live without at the time, but must confess to having barely scratched the surface. 5 discs of takes and edits that made up the original album, it's intimdating. But, having given it some time of late, there's a real charm to this approach, revealing aspects of the sessions which were subsumed by the whole in the finished product. The guitars of John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharock are particularly interesting, each taking different approaches, Sharrock usually just adding the odd distorted smear here and there, shot through with Echoplex.

The seemingly bottomless reserve of tape offcuts and unreleased material here functions as a positive deconstruction of the final production process. The appearances of multiple takes of various tracks allows listeners to attempt to piece together the final takes, and even construct their own edits. The Silent Way box was more consistent and complete, but these fragments possess more interest, I'd even be curious to see it stripped down to soloists. Imagine what Sharrock's spurts would sound like surrounded by nothing but space...

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