The Upshot: A double CD consisting of 34 mostly dub tracks from Wobble’s own 30 Hertz label archives, for fans of the erstwhile PiL member’s trippier side.
BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Several lifetimes ago, John Wardle—aka Jah Wobble—was bassist for PiL. I consider myself lucky to have caught the band during his tenure. Fast forward about 8 years, and Senor Wobble became a part of the Axiom Mango contingent of artists working with Bill Laswell on a body of work that this reviewer considers some of the most challenging genre shifting and futuristic albums of the time. Not one to be pigeonholed, Jah Wobble then went on to form the Invaders of the Heart, working with a cast of world music stars. Invaders of the Heart has two tracks that I never tire of, “Whiskey Priests” and “I’m and Algerian”.
Last year, the 6 cd set Redux was released and it was at that moment that Monsieur Wobble’s oeuvre of work started a new round of reevaluation by the music literati. This time out, Cherry Red Records, those reissue happy Brits, have culled together a double CD consisting of 34 mostly dub tracks from Wobble’s own 30 Hertz label archives. A track like “Orion” displays a Miles Davis vibe front and center, and, coupled with the narcotic whirl of Wobble’s bass, is as close to smoking a massive spliff as you can get. It’s a late day’s journey into oblivion, mahn! “Inspector out of Space” has the controls set for the center of your brain. Trippy, spacey, and definitely not legal for those under 18, the track is a dub transmission to the universe pulsed back at random intervals. “Forest Funk Dub,” on the other hand, is a jazzy number. Here the production is given a light touch, and where the drums seem rather naked, the dubby bedrock creates a unique contrast that gives the track a unique layered effect. The funkiness of the bass and guitar, coupled with bars of chilled out organ, creates something so engaging you’ll be up dancing in no time. Definitely a standout track on this collection and one that begs to be sampled. Seeing as I’m living in China, the track “Dragon and Phoenix Dub” called out to me for a listen. The track in dub form saves it from relying too heavily on the cod chinoiserie, and actually made me imagine being in the Yau Ma Tei district of Hong Kong sitting at a Da Pai Dong noodle stand.
This set has definitely been lovingly culled together for fans seeking out a very specific side of Wobble. As talented a bassist as Wobble is for the uninitiated it may be best to start with Wobble’s Invaders records or the aforementioned boxset. Regardless one can’t help but be blown away by the scope of Jah’s musical output.
DOWNLOAD: “Forest Funk Dub” “Orion” “Dragon and Phoenix Dub”