Rhythm Collision, Vol. 1 & Remix Versions
Mad Professor, Ruts DC & Zion Train
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It is nearly impossible to underestimate the influence that punk-reggae-dub held over music in the early '80s. Whether you consider the revolutionary rhetoric of Bob Marley, the political assault of the Clash, or even the first germination of hip-hop. The early '80s experienced one of history's most unprecedented exchanges of musical ideas, spanning the beaches of Jamaica, the cold streets of England, and the urban blight/scenester mecca of uptown/downtown New York City. By 1982, things looked grim. Punk was dead, as was Bob Marley. The closest fusion of the two that could be found was in the downbeat of the Police. Also dead was Ruts singer Robert Owen. It was under these conditions that the remaining Ruts members — John Segs, Paul Fox and David Ruffy — joined with up-and-coming U.K. dub producer Neil "Mad Professor" Fraser, who had just finished work on his soon to be legendary Ariwa studio. Disc one of this collection captures the results of said meeting. Alternating between traditional reggae-dub ("Whatever We Do" and "Rhythm Collision") and more modern punk-funk ("Push Yourself - Make it Work") the group made one last battle cry for the underground that aligned them with legendary punk-dub artists like the Slits and Adrien Sherwood. Beyond the original eight tracks, an additional six 12" mixes are included, which further demonstrate the internal sound clashes, taking the lush dub of "Militant" and stripping it down to a dark, minimal version. Disc two finds contemporary dub collective Zion Train reworking the original session tapes over 15 years later. Using Mad Professor's vintage mixing deck, the ambient dub specialist surprisingly lifts the vocals on "Whatever We Do," giving it an almost pop sensibility. The rest of the disc takes a slightly spacier approach, no doubt a remnant of Zion Train's past work with ethno-trancers Loop Guru and the Shamen. But the most notable change is the hefty addition of the group's brass section on several cuts which, while interesting, cannot make these re-workings as essential as the originals.
This is a nice find on iTunes indeed. Now if someone would only get the rights to Animal Now we'd have the complete Ruts DC discography. I think after 27 years it's only fair.
Born: 1955 in Guyana
Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s
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