Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Lee Perry and the Collective Alien Consciousness

There was a time in my life when I lived Dub morning, noon and night. I'm talking the old school Dub mainly, but also a lot of the work that people like Adrian Sherwood and Jack Dangers were putting out there as well. I was indiscriminate when it came to the classic stuff though- I just needed that sound in my head. It may be an acquired taste, but once it gets under your skin it can easily become an obsession.

Anyhow, Lee Perry is the man who created the form, for the most part. He's also, well, watch the video. Fascinating how Dub not only sprang from this man's brain, but also seems to have a collective effect on certain other brains- as he (sort of) refers to in this commercial. Just another piece in the alien puzzle, that seems to be insinuating itself into the global consciousness we are building in the Synchrosphere.

Dub played a crucial role in Neuromancer, which ties into this idea of the electronic Loa - the old gods using new technology to reanimate themselves as evolutionary wetware, just as Gibson described in the still-prescient Count Zero.

Even here- note that after identifying himself as an alien, Perry invoked Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury...

Check out Dub Radio to infect your own brain....


  1. The rasta elders floating in a soundclash spacestation is one of the most enduring images from neuromancer. The Upsetter is truly one of the unsung heroes of reggae, never usually mentioned in the same sentence as freedom sounds like Marley and Peter Tosh. Saw him in concert a few years ago and he still had enough energy to move a thousand strong crowd. If you want pure undiluted Perry madness listen to anything with him and Mad Professor. Really sad to see him doing a guinness advert but hey we all need to eat right? For the record I do think he is tapped into some extra spacial frequency and has been for many years, one of his recurring lyrics "I've got a lightning head". We love you Scratch!

  2. In the interest of shameless self-promotion I will say that I did a featurette comicstrip for an issue of 2099 UNLIMITED, "Kid Current Online" depicting life among the avatars on the Internet, and this was in '93... very much inspired by Gibson's cybersanteria. I had him sign a copy the next year when introduced to him by Ellen Datlow...

  3. BL- Not on the Secret Sun- Marley and Tosh forever play second fiddle to the Upsetter. Dub is the alien component.

    Ned- You can shamelessly self-promote any time it's on-topic =)

  4. Wow!

    After bringing my head above the surface of design work, I was so pleasantly surprised to see this post. Excellent thoughts. Chris, I never knew you were into dub music, mon (smile). My admiration of you extends itself further.

    As a Jamaican, it is really great to see Perry getting more exposure given the magnitude of his work and the effects on the global consciousness. Perry literally created a new genre of music and the tributaries that flowed from that are endless, from rock steady to reggae to dancehall to hip hop to reggaeton to pop and dance,... He's truly a genius.

    Perry's music echoed the raw African ancestral instrumentation resonating and reverberating soundscapes that illustrating the evolutionary link to the Gods, and his intellectual curiosity helped to paved the way for new adepts like Dub Poet, rastafarian and host of The Cutting Edge Mutabaruka.

    Three Cheers, my friend!

    Keep up the good work, as we evolve through love, honesty and the truth.

  5. It's all part of a continuum, Andre. Dub was influenced by Psychedelic Rock and then fed back into Rock through Post-Punk in the late 70s, which is how I was really exposed to it. Dub in many ways is the building block of a lot of my favorite music in that it was about using the studio as an instrument. In that way, Perry had a huge influence and that really informed a lot of electronic dance music later in the 80s.

    And of course this all ties into what? The Mighty X, of course! William Gibson brought dub into the Sprawl trilogy and then later did a couple XF eps. If you watch the first one, Kill Switch, there's this tripped out loop in the background that is straight out of the Lee Perry cookbook. I remember when I first saw that episode that loop totally freaked me out- like so much else in those first five seasons.

    This will tie into an upcoming Alien Dreaming post, too.

  6. This comes kind of synchronistically for me because I am considering going to see Lee Perry and Adrian Sherwood at the Sydney Opera House tomorrow night. Guess I have to now.