Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Roots Radics Band
Scientist and Jammy Strike Back!


Released 1982 on Trojan
Reviewed by Lugia, 08/01/2004ce


Roots Radics Band: "Scientist and Jammy Strike Back!"
Trojan TRLS 210, recording dates unknown, released 1982.

1) Storming the Death Star
2) Mission Impossible
3) The Alien Aborts
4) Buck Rogers in the Black Hole
5) The Death of Mr. Spock
6) The Princess Takes Her Revenge
7) The Crushing of the Stormtroopers
8) Flash Gordon Meets Luke Skywalker
9) The Son of Darth Vader
10) C-3PO + R2-D2 = THE FORCE

The story behind this album is that it was sued out of existance. That's right. Noted directoral has-been George Lucas's company went after this thing since the cover art featured some LICENSED AND TRADEMARKED Star Wars stuff, plus LICENSED AND TRADEMARKED names of Star Wars characters, and also likely played against Lucas's LICENSED AND TRADEMARKED lack of any sort of taste, which anyone who saw the last couple of "Star Wars" prequals will attest to.

But should you turn a copy, do by all means grab it. This is fine, fine stuff, right up there with the Gold Standard of King Tubbys' brilliant audio-derangement. Prince Jammy is, in fact, at Tubby's on here, using the master's devices in virtuoso style. And Scientist turns in his offerings from deep in the heart of the great Channel One studio, one of the bulwarks of JA.

First track gets us into the deep stuff after a vocal sings "Sailin', sailin', sailin'...", whereupon everything just falls away and Prince Jammy gets busy with those step-switched EQs, sweeping and swooshing. Then the incomparable Scientist holds sway for a couple of tracks. Pure trippy echo all over...these dubs seem to recede off toward some sort of time-based event horizon quite frequently. Scientist always has had this ability to work a delay that's amazed me, and on here he's in fine form. So smooth, so nice...

Back to Jammy for the last tracks of side 1, and we're definitely into stone groove turf...working the filters, pushing the bass WAY out there, pulling it WAY back, as the snares crack and pop in the reverb like outer space firecrackers. "Buck Rogers..." contains some of the wackier EQ sweeping I've heard on 'classic' JA dub, in fact. And part of "...Mr. Spock" often sounds like it's being phoned in from Neptune.

Side 2 is mainly Prince Jammy, starting off in echo wackyland as sounds blast to the foreground, and then just stutter off in the delays as the EQ gets possessed. The EQ tinkerage here is right up there with if not surpassing "Buck Rogers...", in fact; the herb that day must've been suitable for the hands at the controls to hover right over that part of the desk all the time. And it just doesn't stop. Jammy's cooking in style here, mixing it up. Sometimes the echo holds sway, sometimes the explodo-reverb takes the fore, sometimes he just lets the track percolate. "Flash Gordon..." starts off with these walls of echo in which you hear the vocal call out "Ah mus' kill you..." as it dissolves into the cosmic weirdness. Kill me? Or just make my mind feel like it died and went to a red, gold, and green-tinged heaven? I submit that it's probably the latter...

Finally, Scientist gets us on out of here on the final track of the album. And he's got the machinery at Channel One going full-on. Everything's tumbling and crackling at the start of "C-3PO + R2-D2" as Scientist has the disorientronics turned up to 11. Echo one minute, Roots Radics jammed into a tiny cardboard box the next, vocals phasing in and out like some defective broadcast, all over that anchoring, steady bass....oh, yeaaaaaahhhhh... When the vocal echoes away singing "Gonegonegonegonegone..." toward the end, you'll agree that yes, you certainly are.

This is really a great artifact of that classic JA style from the 70s and early 80s. I'd have to say it's one of the finer dub collections from that period, surpassed by only a few certain things such as "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown", etc. It's just bothersome as hell that that has-been Lucas saw fit to get all snarky over a few references here and there. Bastard. No one has the right to deprive people of music that's this good.


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