The sonic experimentations conducted by legendary Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry in the 1970s in his fabled Black Ark studio were so advanced, they continue to influence 21st century electronic music strains and recording techniques. As one of the pioneers of dub, Perry sometimes reconfigured his own work multiple times.
For example, the 1976 Perry-produced single "Chase The Devil" -- from 1976's War ina Babylon album from Max Romeo & The Upsetters, Perry's studio band -- is a searing roots reggae anthem offering an imaginative take on good triumphing over evil. (Romeo's declaratory opening lyric, "Lucifer son of the morning / I'm gonna chase you out of earth," was famously sampled on JAY-Z's "Lucifer," produced by Kanye West, in 2003.) With Prince Jazzbo and The Upsetters, Perry fashioned a "Chase The Devil" dub remix, "Croaking Lizard," for his 1976 album Super Ape, considered among the finest dub albums ever made; he did another remix of the song, "Disco Devil," again altering the rhythm and adding on his own inimitable vocals. That trio of "Devil" versions are interwoven on a brand new rendition of "Chase The Devil" (featuring vocals by New York City's Jahdan Blakkamoore and Screechy Dan), which is included on Super Ape Returns to Conquer, a reimagining of Perry's classic album, produced by Scratch, now 81, and Emch, co-founder of New York City's Subatomic Sound System (a collective of musicians combining roots, dancehall, and dub reggae with electronic music, hip-hop and Latin influences).
"We brought together the three versions on the new 'Chase The Devil' to show Scratch's innovative work from that time; he's an amazing producer and songwriter who wrote for Bob Marley and Max Romeo (among others), he did great dub remixes and ran a successful studio; it's interesting that Kanye West sampled 'Chase The Devil' because in many ways, Kanye is the realization of a blueprint that existed in Scratch's 1970s work," comments Emch, a DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist and the driving force behind Super Ape Returns to Conquer, which drops on Sept. 22 on Emch's Subatomic Sound label. "Of all the album's tracks," continued Emch, "we did the most musically faithful version on 'Chase The Devil' because it's a classic and updating it was about bringing that message to a new generation."