Lee “Scratch” Perry – Arkology (1997)

perry_arkology
“Purportedly the definitive Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry compilation, the three-CD set Arkology is loaded with good intentions and is carefully constructed, but with a back catalog like Perry’s — where it’s nearly impossible to find out what’s what — definitive in this case is a dream. Still, the compilers have done a fine job of providing an overview of Perry’s career that makes sense musically, historically, and culturally. For those who want to jump headlong into Perry’s world, this is the way to go. (Otherwise, buying two to three individual releases would be recommended.) Arkology’s foundation is the 1979 anthology Scratch on the Wire; the compilers took those tracks and added a significant number of remixes and a few previously unreleased dub tracks to give it some weight. And that is perhaps the set’s biggest drawback; it doesn’t cover quite enough of Perry’s career. Remixes are nice, but a representative sampling of the early, mid-, and late periods at Black Ark would have been better, as well as a few of the early-’60s ska tracks that didn’t make it onto Heartbeat’s excellent Chicken Scratch compilation. There are also some irritating audio considerations here; sometimes reggae reissues lose that warm, extremely loud bass sound that is crucial to the riddims. That’s not always the case on this release, but there are some moments when you wish there was just a little more blood coming from the speakers. So, all that said, is Arkology worth it? Absolutely. Don’t think that this large purchase will give you all the crucial Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry recordings; it provides a good overview and is an excellent introduction, but consider it the start, rather than the completion, of your journey with Scratch and the Upsetters.”
allmusic

“Work your way back through everything you know about hip-hop, electronica, punk rock and post rock, and somehow, some way, you always end up at Black Ark. It was at Black Ark, a four-track studio in the suburbs of Kingston, Jamaica, where, in the mid-and late 1970s, producer, songwriter and indie-label entrepreneur Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry transfigured reggae’s loping cadence and R&B heart into something darker, holier and more dangerous — a music of visionary rhythmic textures and biblical-warrior vengeance. Many of the dub, sampling and remix techniques routinely exploited by the Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan and the Chemical Brothers were forged by Perry on the humble, overstressed Black Ark console. And Perry, now in his 60s, was broadcasting the heavy manners of premillennial, black-exile tension on classic Black Ark productions like Max Romeo’s ‘War In a Babylon’ and ‘Police and Thieves,’ by Junior Murvin, when Tricky was little bigger than a spliff. …”
Rolling Stone

“Arkology is an anthology of Black Ark treasures collected and annotated by Perry experts Steve Barrow and David Katz, a magnificent four hour set of music that is an absolutely essential collection for both old and new Lee Perry fans. A 52 page booklet is included, featuring a biography of Perry nicely punctuated by many unpublished interview quotes, an annotated track listing, terrific photos, and an earthy graphic design. It’s one of those sets that makes you feel that you’re buying something with the weight of history. Each CD of Arkology is made to look like a reel of master tape – a nice graphic touch. Perhaps Perry would have named them scrolls. Like Biblical scrolls, the music resonates with wisdom, righteousness, and – of course – an almighty groove….”
Reggae Vibes

YouTube: THE CONGOS – Don’t Blame On I, MAX ROMEO – War In A Babylon/THE UPSETTERS – Revelation Dub, Police & Thieves – Junior Murvin, Vibrate On – Augustus Pablo, Bird in Hand, THE CONGOS – Congoman, THE HEPTONES & LEE PERRY – Why Must I Version / THE HEPTONES – Make Up Your Mind

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