Yesterday our dub specialists at LargeUp sat down with Jamaican music pioneer Scientist who is in NYC for an epic clash of sound titans called the Dub Champions Festival (happens tonight–details and a chance to win tix here). The result of that meeting was this pretty amazing interview conducted by LargeUp contributor Kieran K. Meadows. Scientist–who along with King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry (headlining his own, must-see Dub Champions Fest show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night—details here) laid the foundations of dub reggae, thereby paving the way for remixes, DJs like Kool Herc, and Larry Levan and well, the whole approach to sound that defines music nowadays–conducts a master class in rhythm. His ear is so attuned that he is even critical of the mix on acknowledged masterpieces like Michael Jackson‘s Thriller and Marvin Gaye‘s What’s Goin On?–which sounds like a case of “uh huh/sho you right” until you hear Marvin getting the Scientist treatment on this dub plate for Sideway Outernational soundsytem. Get a taste via this youtube clip after the jump, read Scientist’s words below and then hit the link to read more.
LU: Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires was released in 1981 and then a year later, Michael Jackson’s Thriller came out utilizing some of the same B-Horror movie sound FX and samples. When you heard Thriller, what did you think?
Scientist: [Laughs] You really want to know what my honest opinion was? The composition is good. But I really wish I could get those tapes of Thriller to really make Michael Jackson–hear how he really sounds. Here’s what the gospel truth is: Thriller is a form of electronic music that came out of reggae. I am a person who created hi-fidelity and set the standard and the benchmark. So when I hear Michael Jackson’s music–to people in that time, because it was new to them, it was like “Wow,” but I could hear all the defects. Just like I could hear all the defects in Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” song. You should google ‘Scientist Marvin Gaye’ to hear the remix I did. The whole world knows that song. But when that song came out about the same time, I could hear all the weakness that Motown was putting on it, because people never heard that music in any other way and they grew up listening to it like that, they believe that’s what it’s supposed to sound like.