Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Black Ark

"The Black Ark
The Black Ark was the recording studio of legendary reggae and dub producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, located in the yard of his family's home in the Washington Gardens neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica. Although the studio itself was somewhat rudimentary in its set-up and particularly basic with regard to some of the dated equipment employed by Perry, it was nonetheless the breeding ground for some of Jamaica's (and arguably the world's) most innovative sounds and recording techniques in the latter half of the 1970s.

Innovative musical techniques
An example of Lee Perry's inventive style was his ability to overdub layers of sound effects and instrumentation on each recording track of a basic 4-track machine, with such precise timing and in such a way that the resulting sound would destroy the competition from Jamaica's other top producers using the latest 16-track mixing consoles. Perry once buried microphones at the base of a palm tree and thumped it rhythmically to produce a mystifying bass drum effect; his drum booth at the Black Ark was for a time surrounded with chicken wire to further his distinctive sound; many of his songs are layered with a variety of subtle effects created from broken glass, ghastly sighs and screeches, crying babies, and a mooing cow children's toy. These and other notable recording techniques helped define the Black Ark sound, as well as Lee Perry's creative legacy.

Musicians and the Black Ark
In addition to providing pioneering sounds for such reggae stars as Bob Marley and The Wailers, Junior Byles, and Max Romeo, Lee Perry and his studio were formative in creating the highly innovative reggae sub-genre called Dub, in which the producer/engineer becomes the focus of the music, manipulating a pre-recorded track and creating something entirely new using his or her mixing console as nothing less than an instrument.

The end
In 1979, following years of increasingly bizarre and erratic behavior, Lee "Scratch" Perry allegedly set fire to The Black Ark studio, effectively ending an era during which much of Jamaica's most delightfully creative sounds had captured the world of music. However, it has been related by several Perry family members that the studio in fact caught fire in 1983 after an ill-fated attempt to rebuild it, the result of an electrical accident. More often than not, Perry has claimed that he personally destroyed the Black Ark due to "unclean spirits" - an allusion to some of the undesirable people who were constantly at the Black Ark in later years." -Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

thx for the chicken wire link

themusicologist said...

pucker ..

thrown down a few pieces of reggae from 'across the ages' over the past few weeks on my musicaldiary


Anonymous said...

Communion Wafer?

AMP said...

Church's Fried Chicken

Anonymous said...


Roger Camden said...

Perry was probably crazy, but he was also a talented and creative man. Are there any producers working today with that level of inventiveness in their craft?
Often record production is aimed toward making the most perfect product. I personally find imperfection to be more entertaining. Is there anyone still with the balls to let a band record a strange-sounding album? And where have the happy accidents gone?

XMP said...

Where have all the happy accidents gone? Classic Dub and early Punk always appealed to me for that reason.

Turk said...

What a welcome return to blogsville

3 Perry albums I've yet to 'experience' :)


Thanks XMP

1 day I'd love to just post everything I have of his but it gets more unlikely by the month -

this is what I 'would' share...

Lee "Scratch" Perry - Black Ark (Single Selector)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Black Ark in Dub
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Blackboard Jungle Dub
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Blood Vapour
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Build the Ark
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Chapter 1
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Cloack and Dagger (1972)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Dry Acid - Lee Perry Productions (1968-1969)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Ethiopa
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Excaliburman
Lee "Scratch" Perry - History Mystery Prophesy (Mango MLSP 9774) 1984
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Jamaican E.T. [2004]
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Kung Fu Meets The Dragon [1975]
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Lord God Muzick
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Lost Treasures (1-3) incomplete with 'lost' tracks =((
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Megaton Dub
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Message From Yard (Rohit - RRTG 7773)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Musical Bones
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Open the Gate -1989 (2x'CD' release)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Pressure Sounds
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Reminah Dub
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Revolution Dub
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Satan Kick the Bucket
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Scratch Walking
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Super Ape (1976)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Super Ape Inna Jungle
Lee "Scratch" Perry - The Dub Messenger
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Tojan Box Set - 1968-2001
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Turn and Fire - Disco Dubs (1989)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle (2004)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Upsetters In Dub

Lee "Scratch" Perry & the Mad Professor - Experryments at the Grass Roots &
Mystic Warrior

Lee Perry And Adrian Sherwood - From The Secret Laboratory

Lee Perry, Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo - From The Heart Of The Congo - 1977

and that dosen't include the stuff I own (add 10 more CDs & 5 Vinyls of which 3 are triple Box sets of Perrys 'Africas Blood' & early less obtainables - hence I bought them... but I so want to STW...

but 60 albums not including the 7"s, 10s n 12"s.. :/
I guess now A-V just turned 1 year old it would be timely.... & it is now winter, my numb fingers tell me :)

Yes A-V deserves a Perry-athon... time to "plan" this out properly.

OMG I just looked through the 'vinyls' folder - hmm, I guess I could do 3 a week for a year on top of the usuals...

damn KDX is so much easier....

A-V needs a make-over, "keep it simple" is the heading :) so out will go ALL the whistles n bells... I hope moving to 'vrsn 2' dosen't 'kill' everything though, I need advice - can I revert back to the 'old' look in case I end up with a 3 day rebuild of html code I don't understand or once I upgrade that's it?
Do you have the time? :)

XMP said...

Lee Perry, Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo - From The Heart Of The Congo - 1977


I'm not so sure about how you save old blog themes and templates, but I'm sure there's something in the Blogger admin if that's who you're using. Like an FAQ or some shit. I wish I had the time~! That's why we kept this page design so simple and consistent. Makes it very easy to update with new posts.