As reggae lovers for decades, one of our biggest dreams was to collaborate with the creative genius behind the legendary sound of the Black Ark studio, one of the dub originators, the man responsible for shaping the sound of Bob Marley and the Wailers amongst many other greats, the mighty Upsetter, the unspeakable Lee “Scratch” Perry! That happy day has finally arrived in 2019 when Lee, who lived in Switzerland for a longtime, recorded his voice on The 18th Parallel’s ‘Cosmic Drop Riddim’.
The details around ‘Words From The Upsetter’ recording are not that common. In summer 2017, we at Fruits Records had the privilege to tour European festivals with Lee “Scratch” Perry as members of the Najavibes backing band. This is how we got to know the legend and start the production process. The first seed was sown. Nevertheless, the riddim track of the song was laid down in Kingston in 2014, as our crew of musicians – not known yet as The 18th Parallel – was recording our first release ever, A Little Walk album with the legendary Sino-Jamaican singer I Kong. The unused riddim slept in the hard drive for five years until we found the right artist to ride it. The Upsetter had that mystic vibes we were looking for, it was a perfect fit.
Then we spiced it up with a few more overdubs – analog string synthesizer, cosmic guitars, subtle sounds of musique concrète. Finally Roberto Sánchez brilliantly recreated the type of sound that the Black Ark was famous for: full of Mutron Bi-Phase, tape delay and spring reverb hits as testifies the dub version ‘Spring Thunderstorm’.
The production of this song has been a long and heavy process, but we're now able to present this brand new recording to the world. Sadly, Lee’s not physically here anymore to witness this release, but his musical legacy is so immeasurable that his memory will live forever in every music enthusiasts’ heart around the world. And this record is now a part of this legacy. We’ll be forever thankful for this opportunity and would like to give a special thanks to his family and friends (big up Dr. T!) who helped us and gave us assistance during the creative process. This record is dedicated to the loving memory of Lee “Scratch” Perry.
The ‘Cosmic Drop Riddim’ wouldn’t be fully completed without two extra unexpected cuts. The first one is an amazing instrumental song featuring Perry’s longtime friend and Jamaican number one trombonist Vin Gordon where trombone meets bass clarinet and bass flute to create a deep, foggy, mystical atmosphere. This will take you to a night journey to East Africa. The second cut highlights the art of dub poetry through the beautiful poem by Yasus Afari, ‘Healing Chant’.