Album Review of In Dub by Jah Wobble.
Release Date: Sep 23, 2016
Record label: Cherry Red
Genre(s): Jazz, Reggae, Dub, Pop/Rock, International, Electric Jazz
In his entertaining liner essay, Wobble writes: "I think dub is at its best when it is used with roots music, which normally tends toward pentatonic scales and no developed harmony. That pretty much applies to English Folk, swathes of sub-Saharan African and North African music, Chinese traditional music, Japanese music, American Appalachian music et al…." There are stellar examples in this package. Wobble employs aesthetics rather than chronological order in his sequencing.
Jah Wobble (real name: John Wardle) is something of a hero to music-lovers of a certain age. A school friend of both John Lydon and John Beverley (aka Sid Vicious), Wobble emerged as one of the cutting edge pioneers of post-punk when he formed Public Image Limited (PIL) in 1978—with the post-Sex Pistols Lydon—and contributed to the two most influential albums of that extraordinary era: the band’s eponymous first LP, and the iconic Metal Box. Wobble’s opening bassline to PIL’s first single, “Public Image”, still strikes a euphoric chord.
Several lifetimes ago, John Wardle—aka Jah Wobble—was bassist for PiL. I consider myself lucky to have caught the band during his tenure. Fast forward about 8 years, and Senor Wobble became a part of the Axiom Mango contingent of artists working with Bill Laswell on a body of work that this reviewer considers some of the most challenging genre shifting and futuristic albums of the time.
Jah Wobble — In Dub (30HZ)Part of what made the early albums by Public Image Ltd so invigorating was their departure from what had come before, bringing an experimental synthesis that was neither rock, nor post-punk nor anything else that was easily labeled. As the band stitched together the energy of punk and the anti-establishment ethos, bassist Jah Wobble could be heard injecting a style that, while certainly very far from reggae, clearly owed a dub debt: the very first sound heard in First Issue’s “Theme” is Wobble’s slow, deeply dubby bassline. Since then Wobble has never stopped exploring the potential of dub, his primary musical influence.