Primal Scream

PRIMAL SCREAM
ECHODEK
Creation (9 tks/45 mins)

OTHERWISE known as the Adrian Sherwood dub version of Vanishing Point”. Now, in most people’s hands such an exercise would be mere folly; an exercise in the self-indulgent druggy work-out for a band which is not exactly the most unfamiliar with the notion of the self-indulgent druggy workout. Thankfully the great Sherwood at the controls does what he does best and deconstructs the original – rewriting, redesigning and re-rolling the contents until it comes out of the other end of the mixer in this perfectly formed dub frenzy. So good that it becomes almost incidental as to lust what the original versions were, or even sounded like anyway.
spacer And, for those vinyl lunkies among us, it not only comes as a customary CD, but also as a box set of five seven-inch singles. Five nice ‘n’ fat slabs of black plastic with the middles duly stamped out and a spider provided instead. The way dubs were supposed to be presented in other words. Huzzah!

spacer So crank up those Dansettes and dig the seven-inch because this is how it goes.
spacer Seven-inch number one takes the Arabic refrains of “Living Dub” on a distorted analogue rumble through back street bazaars. Vocals slowed to a haunting drone while a repeatedly echoed “Good to be alive” lyric turns the feel bad vibe on its head. Flip over for -‘Duffed Up” and the ambience gets ever more sinister as bongs bubble furiously in a Turkish Kasbah and a St Louis (Cypher) horn section blows the devil’s own tune.
spacer The second seven-inch slab features a head-hurting, fiercely nauseating and mildly disconcerting door bell which dings its dong throughout the dubmerged beats of “Ju 87”. Side two (or is that four?) finds “Revolutionary” tickling the ivories of a melodica to the tune of a Sixties fall out victim.
spacer Vinyl offering number three takes the ambience even darker. “Vanishing Dub” is backed by “First Name Unknown”. Two bad trip versions of head-rocking psycho-delia which grab you by the throat and take you on a road trip to oblivion. Juggernaut dub driving up the wrong side of the toxic highway.
spacer Part four: The great Prince Far I ghosts his way through “Wiseblood”, a rich taste of heat-hazed madness. Sunday afternoons sat on your apartment steps, ice cream dribbling over your legs, the skunk harvest rattling around your brain. On the other side, the living gets even more laid-back as “Last Train” mixes the biggest reverb known to mankind with a hypnotic melodica, doing a return visit with a six pack of Special Brew in its grasp. The last seven-incher on the record player is the one-sided rock stomper “Dub in Vain”. A huge beat, freebasing a harmonica as that man Gillespie rocks out in the back ground crying “Gimme, gimme, gimme medication”. No points for guessing what the original was called. No points for guessing what any of them are. But that’s not the point.
spacer On “Echo Dek” Adrian Sherwood gives the Primals more medication than they know what to do with. He opens them up, creates space and melts more of the essence of Studio 1 greatness into the cracks than the tartan boys have ever sniffed-at Not simply a companion album, but every last inch of it is a brilliant creation in its own right.
MARTIN JAMES

Originally appeared in Melody Maker, 18 Oct 1997.
Copyright © Martin James
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