Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I, Claudius (I) : Reduce, Re-use (Roots)

Claudius Linton was a blind spot for me. Sometimes it seems like it’s all blind spots, really. I got a copy of this comp called Roots Master, and the man has clearly got the power. With a majestic name like Claudius Linton, it’s no surprise. Part Burning Spear, part Linton Kwesi Johnson, CL has got the soulful roots all wrapped up, the dub testifying, too. The band performs that expert sonic rollercoaster, with muskrat-like keyboard parts poking a head up here, a big underground bass line diving down and blowing your hair back, some exuberant morse-code hand-percussion sending messages of i-ree into the cosmos.
I have no idea what “Backra Massa” is about, but it’s definitely some DNA-level joy – soul sun pleasure. At our Driftwood Singers communal family barbecue this past weekend, I came armed with music to go one-for-one in an anticipated cosmic drift-atron late-night music duel with Lefty, but the fatigue set in, the bone tiredness won out. So I didn’t get to unload the amo. My powder stayed dry. But speaking of arms, the thing I love about “Reduce the Arms Race” – aside from the “you ain’t goin’ nowhere" commitment of the stoned-anemic groove – is the aim-low implication of the verb “reduce” in the refrain; from that word alone, I feel like James Wood would be able to unpack all kinds of biblical portents and historical, imperial, cultural nuggets.
I’m not unpacking no portents.

“Backra Mass”- Claudius Linton

“Reduce the Arms Race”- Claudius Linton

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