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The Inspiration of William Blake

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Album Review

From his early days on the British punk scene to his stint with Public Image Ltd., from his world music/dance fusions with the Invaders of the Heart to his later collaborations with Bill Laswell and Brian Eno, Jah Wobble has always been willing to try anything that strikes his fancy. Maybe that explains why he chose to write music to accompany the words of William Blake, the 19th century poet/artist/mystic cited as an influence by Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. But Wobble went several steps further, creating a concept album using atmospheric textures as a backdrop for his recitations of some of Blake's greatest poems. Skip past the repetitive opening track, "Songs of Innocence," and the rest of the album is a delightfully unusual marriage of spoken word and music. "Lonely London" features former Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, whose intricate grooves meet Mark Ferda's rich atmospheric textures and Wobble's hypnotic dub bassline to form a swirling psychedelic vision Blake would be proud of, while "Bananas" uses percussion, synths, and samples to create an ethnic-influenced sound not unlike Dead Can Dance gone techno. The first release from Wobble's 30 Hertz label, this album foretells intriguing future output.


Born: 11 August 1958 in Stepney, London, England

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Born John Wardle, Wobble was an old friend of Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten. When the Pistols broke up, Rotten formed Public Image Ltd., and Wobble became the bass player. After the group's first few albums, Wobble had a falling out with Rotten (now Lydon) and guitarist Keith Levene and departed for a solo career, also collaborating with artists such as Can members Jaki Liebezeit and Holger Czukay and U2's the Edge. Wobble's solo repertoire ranges from pop to pseudo-reggae to "difficult to listen...
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The Inspiration of William Blake, Jah Wobble
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