Jamaican music icon and Godfather of the remix Lee “Scratch” Perry was the first producer to fully realize the mixing board’s potential as an instrument. Four decades after the release of his landmark dub album Super Ape, Perry has reimagined his 1976 masterpiece with a new cast of musicians and artists, essentially remixing his remixes into Super Ape Returns to Conquer.
The album is Perry’s first with his touring band, Subatomic Sound System, an innovative hybrid of NYC-based electronic musicians and original Jamaican band members, including percussionist Larry McDonald (who played on the original Super Ape sessions) and Brooklyn dancehall don Screechy Dan. “Chase the Devil” revisits a track Perry first produced for singer Max Romeo — and which was later sampled by Kanye West for Jay-Z’s “Lucifer.” “Underground Roots” features the final recorded performance from the late Ari Up of U.K. punk pioneers The Slits. Title track “Super Ape” is a timely reminder of humanity’s fragility in the face of nature; “War Ina Babylon” revisits another classic Perry/Romeo collaboration.
Lee “Scratch” Perry’s influence on modern music is immeasurable. He redefined the role of the producer in the 1960s and 1970s, pushing the limits of basic recording equipment with innovative DIY studio techniques, shaping reggae, dub and punk through his work with Bob Marley, King Tubby and The Clash. Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, Major Lazer and the Beastie Boys are among those who’ve sought Scratch’s unique touch in the studio.
Now 81 years old and residing between Jamaica and the Swiss Alps, Perry is still a vital creative force, releasing new music and touring annually. The Super Ape Returns to Conquer tour kicks off Oct. 24 at The Middle East in Boston; On Oct. 25th, Perry and Subatomic will make a special appearance at Brooklyn’s Output for Francois K’s Deep Space party.