Digitaldubs ft. Tom Zé & Lee Scratch Perry – “Studying the Dub”

R$75,00

A – Estudando o Dub ft. Tom Zé & Lee Perry 03:51
B – Estudando o Riddim (instrumental dub) 03:38

Release notes by David Katz >>>

They are two madcap creative geniuses, jokers in the pack that changed the shape of the music of their native lands, ultimately yielding a disproportionate influence on the popular music of the world at large. They were born both in 1936 and are still unusually active, having been rescued from long fallow periods by prominent devotees from overseas (including David Byrne, the Beastie Boys, Kanye West and Jay Z, among others). Yet, for all that they have in common, there are gulfs between the realms of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Tom Zé that cannot be accounted for merely by the currents of the Caribbean and Atlantic that separate their physical places of residence, even as their commonalities remove any sense of otherness from the equation. For indeed, these are kindred musical spirits, even if they have never had the chance to explore their commonalities before this project, brokered by Rio’s Digitaldubs, the sound system and music production outfit that has been issuing some of the most forward-facing and multifaceted reggae to surface from Brazil during the last dozen years or so.
“My idea was to join these two ‘crazy’ legends of music together, one from Brazil and one from Jamaica” says MPC, the driving engine behind Digitaldubs. “They are both pioneers and heroes of experimental pop music, and both of them are 82 years old now! They both came from countryside originally, and moved to the city to make a musical revolution. Plus, Lee Perry is my favourite producer and artist, and Tom Zé is a kind of Brazilian Lee Perry. It was like a dream to put them together…they didn’t know each other, but I thought that they should!”
The product began to take shape after MPC built a rhythm track that sampled Estudando o Samba, Zé’s ground-breaking 1976 concept album, which took the form of a playful extended aural survey of the samba genre, and which was later named as one of the 100 best Brazilian albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Fate brought Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry into the picture when Digitaldubs was the opening act on a live date in São Paulo, allowing MPC to propose that Perry voice the track while in the city; then, one year later, Tom Zé added a parallel vocal contribution at his own home studio, which is also located in São Paulo.
“I explained to Perry the concept I wanted,” continues MPC. “Inspired by Estudando o Samba, we should ‘study the dub.’ It’s about deconstruction, experimentation, breaking the rules with an open mind—since Lee Perry came with these words, which he already had written in his lap top. And before I recorded Tom Zé I sent him Lee’s lyrics translated. He started to think about some ideas, and together in the studio we built his parts.”
Over a foreboding and slowly unfolding bass-heavy rhythm, inspired by the magical sound of Perry’s Black Ark dub creations of the late 1970s, the unprecedented duet thus drifts between the sagacious ravings and unfathomable wisdom of these ribald octogenarians, stereophonically alerting us of the need to be open in various ways, in order to succeed in creating music, as well as in our life journeys more generally. As MPC explains, “Open the door was the metaphor for this vibe of having an open mind, open heart, and even open legs, in order to let things happen in music and in life. It’s like that to make dub, with an open mind and intuition.”
The drumming skill of session player Joás Santos adds a Rastafari-focussed hybrid human dimension to the musical sound, which is otherwise a whirlwind of studio trickery, delivered in full Sensurround mode. Says MPC, “In the mix I’m working crazy stereo movements for the voices like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Tom Zé entering in your mind, flying around like inspirational souls. For the rhythm I wanted a heavy one-drop for a Black Ark vibe, and the percussion a mix of nyahbinghi and samba.”
Listening to this crucial track, one instantly understands that Tom Zé and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry are brothers from a different mother, but we have Digitaldubs to thank for revealing the natural fit of these disparate musical comrades, that have operated in entirely different spheres until now. It reminds that Digitaldubs has always sought to blend the best of traditional reggae values with elements of Brazil’s own rich musical heritage, producing something startlingly different in the process.

“Estudando o Dub” was released digitally on December 2017, supported by an animated video in July 2018. Out now on 7” vinyl.
credits
released January 1, 2018

Produced and mixed by Digitaldubs
Drum & percussion programming, bass and synths: Marcus MPC
Kette drum (Nyahbinghi drum): Joás Santos
contain sample of “Toc” by Tom Zé

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Additional information
Weight 0.500 kg
Dimensions 22 × 22 × 10 cm