Subatomic Sound System meets Lee Scratch Perry & Ari Up of the Slits (7″ vinyl)

SS014 Lee Scratch Perry & Ari Up

A #1 on Ernie B’s vinyl charts. First time and only time Ari Up of the Slits and Lee Scratch Perry appear on record together! Sadly this would be the last record released during Ari’s lifetime and one of her final recordings. These tracks bring together two eccentric legends doing what they do best on some of Scratch’s classic 70s dub vibes that Subatomic Sound System pushes into the future rootical dubstep realm.   LIMITED EDITION 7″ VINYL EXCLUSIVE OUT NOW IN THE USA, EUROPE, & JAPAN

The “Hello, Hell Is Very Low” vinyl 45 features a dub and vocal take of a rootical dubstep reflip of the rare and classic “Underground Roots” riddim, known to have been used by Studio One’s Sir Coxsone Dodd’s sound system to lay waste in Jamaican sound clashes (typically played back to back with the only known vocal version, a closely guarded special rumored to have been done for Coxsone by Junior Byles). On this 45, Subatomic Sound System dubs the riddim up proper with maximum respect to the tradition of the masters, Lee Perry & King Tubby, while also turning out the low end, delivering drums and bass big and bad enough knock out even a modern day dubstep club crowd. It also must be mentioned that, this is the first time EVER that Lee “Scratch” Perry and Ari Up of the Slits appear on the same recording, even though they both worked extensively on On-Sound projects with Adrian Sherwood during the 80s. The combination proves strong as they both succeed in striking a clever lyrical balance, delivering vocals that juxtapose conscious culture and spirituality with humor and wordplay.

On the A-Side, “Hello, Hello, Hell is Very Low” features tough lyrics from Lee “Scratch” Perry alongside Ari Up of the Slits and original melodica from Subatomic Sound’s Emch that summons the ghost of Augustus Pablo for some classic melodies. The dubbed out track is centered around Perry riffing on the line “Hello, Hell is very low and Heaven is very, very high!” linguistically playing off the greetings “Hello” vs. “Hi” and with the metaphysical concept of “Hell” being “lo(w)” and “Heaven” being “(hi)igh” in what is on one hand slapstick humor and on the other hand profound moral philosophizing. Ari Up meanwhile shows her respect for dub history and the people of her second home, Jamaica, with lyrics “Underground roots, what we bring to you, rub-a-dub roots, message to the youth…time to know the truth!” exorting the “underground youth” to rise up “overground” while at the same time sending a message to the dubstep generation about the origins of dub and respecting its founders.

On the B-Side, Ari-Up of the Slits delivers “Bed Athletes” a singjay vocal tune in a classic dancehall style. Lyrically she twists the original children’s song melody into a positive minded and humorous sex education course for the “underground youth”, with a verse for the men and another for the women, emphasizing the importance of physical fitness and mental training for mutual enjoyment of each others company in bed, even suggesting that men “learn Ninjitsu” so the art of “Japanese fighting” can be “used ‘pon daggering”.

Wire Magazine review by Steve Barker

Wire Magazine (UK) review by Steve Barker