Reggae and dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry gives his track “Zion’s Blood” a spaced-out update in the latest offering from Super Ape Returns to Conquer. The new record is a complete reworking of the Upsetters’ 1976 classic Super Ape and arrives September 22nd via Subatomic Sound.
On the new iteration of “Zion’s Blood,” Scratch manages to deepen the song’s groove through juiced drums, rich horns, slender guitar and the occasional synth wobble. Perry’s vocals have an older, wizened grit as well, and his voice sifts hypnotically through the dense sonic milieu.
Scratch co-produced Super Ape Returns to Conquer with Subatomic Sound co-founder Emch. The pair recorded the LP at Subatomic Sound Studios in Brooklyn and Scratch’s home studio, the New Ark, in Jamaica. The LP features Troy Shaka Simms and Omar Little on horns, Screechy Dan on vocals and Larry McDonald – who played on the original Super Ape – on drums and percussion. Ari Up, the late singer for the Slits, contributed vocals to “Underground Roots.”
“It is a crazy thing to do to completely remake a classic,” Emch said of Super Ape Returns. “No one has ever dared to do something like that. It prompts the question: What is the motivation if it was already classic? Really, it was to adapt a slow hypnotic album to a hype live show while still maintaining the vibes that make the music special. Like an alternate version.”
Scratch is set to embark on a North American tour October 24th in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Along with “Zion’s Blood,” he shared a reworking of “Chase the Devil” – the track famously sampled by Kanye West for Jay-Z’s “Lucifer” – featuring vocals from Jahdan Blakkamoore and Screechy Dan.