Release Date: Sep 23, 2016
Record label: Megawave Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Reggae, Dub, Dubstep
Must Be Free arrives six months after the 80th anniversary of dub master Lee "Scratch" Perry's arrival on planet Earth and less than a year after his Swiss studio burned down after he forgot to put out a candle. For the most part, his youthful spirit hasn't changed much over the years, nor has his eccentric personality or his unmistakable delivery. He still has a stream-of-consciousness vocal style and plays cosmic word-association games, frequently punctuating his babbling with squawks, shouts, and other loony vocal outbursts.
It’s quite some time since Lee Perry has delivered a truly essential album. These days he is reduced to husky toasting and just the occasional delicate snatch of singing, but then he is 80 years old. Perry is still weaving together eccentric threads of cosmic word association, all of which form part of his jumbo-size puzzle. Someone in the future will probably tie it all together and preach the cult philosophy to which only he himself is currently devoted.
Lee Perry's monolithic stance in the world of music is unassailable. Simply put, the man is one of the authors of dub and has traversed not only the content but the form of the Afrikan electroacoustic expression, everything from a two-and-a-half-inch tape reel and tube mixers to the digital madness of infinite sound and fearless edits.This release bounces from dubstep to acid jazz to noise, all aided and abetted by Subatomic Sound System, IAMPhlobo and the Groovematist — but this is where it gets tricky. There is a lot going on, and while it's crafty in the extreme, it all tends to be of a piece.