The difficult thing with music like this is deciding whether it’s thoughtful, clever and deep, or just a bunch of random sounds sewn together to make a cosy blanket of nice background music for a tea shop. And well, his last album was called Elevator Music…
While some of us get the name Jah Wobble confused with wobbly Jabba the Hut from Star Wars, to others this man is a living legend; a musical pioneer, turning his hand to all sorts of different sounds and excelling at them all. This is very much a World music album, pulling bits and pieces from all over the globe in to what is essentially a psychedelic chill out album with beats and heavy basslines.
Opening track, Viking Funeral, sounds like chilled out Faithless and much of the album is influenced by Asian and Far Eastern sounds, but also has a space-age feel to it. There’s three tracks with the word ‘dub’ in the title, but the bass is so prominent throughout the album that pretty much every track deserves some kind of similar reference in the title.
The sleeve tries to explain what Wobble wanted to create with this album. He wanted it to be recorded in surround sound, but this proved too difficult so he resorted back to stereo. He claims though that the album retains a ‘5.1 sensibility’ – isn’t that like saying your two-door car has the spirit of a five-door?
Yes, so he’s made two very interesting doors, but if this was in 5.1 surround sound it wouldn’t just be very interesting: it’d be revolutionary. And it’s not like he blew the recording budget on the artwork because the sleeve looks like it’s been thrown together by a blindfolded chimpanzee in Microsoft Word – a chimpanzee who doesn’t even realise that using Times New Roman on one side of the page and Arial on the other looks really, really shoddy.
Back to the music though, and certainly what Jah Wobble lacks in graphic design skills (yes, he did the sleeve himself with the assistance of someone from the production company), he makes up for in musical composition. While to those who don’t like this kind of music this will do little to change their minds, for those who like that experimental World sound, and especially those who like their music woofer-heavy, this will probably prove to be quite an exciting delight.
Maybe it’ll be a huge success and in a few months’ time it’ll be re-recorded and released 5.1 style, so it can really do itself justice.