Although the current fascination with drum-and-bass in dance-club music may be trendy, it's far from new. More than 20 years ago, working on an antiquated four-track, Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, 61, stripped reggae down to its drum-and-bass essence, filtered it through a weed-stoked psychedelic sensibility and beefed it up with thundering reverb. Perry's creation was called dub, and just as Phil Spector changed pop with his Wall of Sound, Perry's hazy, hallucinatory rhythms altered reggae and its offshoots.
This long-overdue three-CD collection (the title refers to Perry's Black Ark Studio) focuses on his late-'70s production work and includes tracks by the Congoes, Augustus Pablo, the Heptones, Max Romeo ("War in a Babylon") and Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves." Brimming with previously unreleased material, B sides, hits and, of course, dub remixes, Arkology is a must for hard-core fans and rhythm neophytes alike. (Island Jamaica/Chronicles)