Rocket riddims



Wading through Lee Perry’s sea of a discography is a bit daunting. You have to put in a few laps, taking the hits with the misses, mostly because of all the tapes floating around and landing in the wrong hands. So when Techno Party with its butchered, pixely, PhotoShop cover found its way to my desk, I was equal parts wary and intrigued.

Since Perry’s legendary Black Ark studio (where he produced Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Congos and others) burned down in the mid-’80s, the artist (who has been dubbed a dub genius and a certifiable madman) continues to work. Now in his 60s, Perry has broken new ground musically with this electronic experiment. Techno Party, produced by the Mad Professor, explores the fringe of drum ’n’ bass, dub, techno, hip hop and trance. Despite some tacky “Whoo! Yeah!” calls running through one track, most of the album mixes these styles fluidly, creating something totally new and surprising. And the reggae master shines as always with his tripped-out, stream-of-consciousness lyrics that remain steady with the lazy bass notes, despite the electro noises swirling overhead. In “My Name Is,” an oddly pleasing sing-along, Perry’s voice has been sped up to match cartoony, futuro spaceship noises. “Crooks in the Business” mirrors some of his past work, targeting industry bigwigs who have stolen material from him. It’s a bit revenge-oriented: “I’ll make you eat your shit/Eat up your shit/Drink up your piss/Smell your poop/And read your book/I am a book/Crook in the business/Can you read me?” Despite the shady packaging and questionable intent, the disc throbs with Perry’s famous hep-hep ska jumps and creative stretches in a futuristic format. And the end result, while not entirely revolutionary, is incredibly listenable.

Melissa Giannini is the Metro Times staff music writer. E-mail her at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.