Lee "Scratch" Perry is the living embodiment of the notion that history would, on the whole, prefer its musical heroes to stop making music. If Perry had packed it in toward the end of the 1970s, leaving his 1977 collaboration with the Clash on "Complete Control" as his parting gift, he would be enshrined in legend as the man who helped invent dub reggae, pioneered the idea of the studio as instrument, and recorded Bob Marley. And he is remembered for all that.
Since the late '80s, Jamaican dub innovator Lee "Scratch" Perry has sporadically collaborated with British producer Adrian Sherwood, whose truly jarring, rule-breaking sound is a clear descendent of Perry's. Rainford (Perry's legal birth name) follows sometimes underacknowledged albums such as From the Secret Laboratory, in addition to Perry's guest appearances on records by Dub Syndicate and Sherwood's collaborations with dubstep pioneer Pinch. Both artists are in fine form on Rainford, with Perry delivering his inimitable brand of playful, free-associative verse and Sherwood twisting trippy rhythms around him.
F or a while now, the annual Lee "Scratch" Perry album has seemed like a chore for everybody involved. The good bits usually came courtesy of Adrian Sherwood, the progressive dub reggae producer of four decades' standing and a friend and collaborator of Perry's for three of those. On Rainford, he brings a sense of control and confidence, providing the perfect environment for Perry to remind us why he was so special in the first place.