Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lee “Scratch” Perry at House of Blues Sunset, November 7

Like a smoked-out James Brown from way-outer space, reggae icon Lee “Scratch” Perry is one of modern music’s most profound and influential characters to whom countless artists are massively indebted. From his own genre-creating productions of the ’60s and ’70s that defined the dub aesthetic to work with everyone from Bob Marley to the Clash, this genuine genius/madman’s legendary status is long established. On his latest CD, Panic in Babylon (Narnack), the 70-year-old Perry has wandered back from the wilderness to produce his strongest full-length in years, despite the nonsensical narrations (“Have a Perry salad/for this is a Perry ballad”). It’s bolstered by remixes from disciples like DJ Spooky and TV on the Radio’s David Sitek, who remixes the title track with breathtaking aplomb. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 11/06)