“People have to respond to that bass frequency, especially with reggae music. They have to feel it”

Mad Professor

Time for some more tasty Mad Professor tidbits – listening to that great Marvin Gaye dub whetted my appetite for more of this 2nd generation UK-based Guyanese producer. Mad Professor (real name Neil Fraser) was so called because of his aptitude with electronics. This is what distinguishes the 2nd generation of dub controllers – the technology. The first wave having used mostly analog effects including pain-staking work on reel to reel tape decks. Digidub is not always well regarded these days by reggae heads, with some feeling it has dated (I used to love Dub Syndicate in the eighties, for example, but find them hard to listen to, now) – but Mad Professor’s work might be sometimes devastatingly stripped down, but it still FEELS rootsy and the soul is always there.

His electronic based production techniques also led to collaborations with many different artists outside of the reggae world, which we will come to shortly. In fact I discovered Mad Professor via his famous Massive Attack “No Protection” dub album, of which this is a scarily intense example:

Next up is a fascinating, but short interview of both Mad Professor and the famous UK soundsystem master, Jah Shaka. Footage like this, especially with Shaka is exceedingly rare. Jah Shaka has never been into self promotion and recordings of live performances are hard to come by (there’s this and this on Soundcloud, but seriously go see him, it will be mind blowing). I particularly like the quote about feeling the bass – this chimes with me about Jungle too. It’s not really the same experience listening to it at home as it is through an enormous system, so heavy that the very air you breath in the rave is trembling with bass weight.

Mad Professor is an amazingly prolific artist. Here’s one of his early nineties productions from his Ariwa studio (in West London, now in South Norwood, about half a mile from where I live, incidentally), from the Black Liberation Dub series.

A very rootsy sounding collaboration with another dub reggae great, Scientist:

Here’s one of Mad Professor’s many many remixes of UK pop artists – the sublime Sade, Lovers Rock. Mad Professor has spoken warmly of the UK Lovers Rock scene (check out these brilliant podcasts by him from Fabric, here and here). This homegrown reggae genre from London still divides reggae fans – especially older roots and dub heads who feel that it’s poppy insouciance runs counter to what reggae should be about, but in reality lovers was huge here even if JA born Jamaicans give it short shrift. A great lovers rock mix by John Eden can be found here.

And finally another live dub on the same radio station as the Marvin Gaye clip – this time featuring Bob Marley. Enjoy.

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