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Friday, Jun 20 2014 | 00:30
Image: 1588710 During his almost 40 years spanning career Jah Wobble recorded more than thirty solo albums
and contributed to even more, uncountable projects. On the route from the post punk of Public
Image Limited (PiL) via dubby dance music (especially in form of Jah Wobble's Invaders Of The
Heart) to world music and ambient in all its facets the exceptionally gifted bass player hasn't left
out almost any genre which is relevant in the modern British music scene.
With "Inspiration" Jah Wobble returns to his roots, the love of his youth, reggae music. With the
singer PJ Higgins he found the prefect companion, voice and songwriter to accomplish this
endeavor with flying colors – a match made in heaven. Already the opener "My Heart's Burning"
sparkles with the magic that arose during the recording sessions between Wobble and Higgins
and sets the groundwork for the next seven tracks to come. PJ Higgin's vocals are piled layer
upon layer and weave seamlessly in the deep, dubby bassline and the mellow guitar sounds.
This masterfully, delicate reluctance is present over the full length of the album. Now and then,
for instance with “I Did Bad”, it almost gets trip hoppy and you wouldn't be surprised if at it's
finale suddenly Tricky would sneak around the corner. What makes the difference to the trip hop
of Bristolian days is the mastery of these professional musicians who show off their
craftsmanship on each and every song.
It's only with the third track, “King Of Illusion”, that you finally notice that the foundation of this
album is actually reggae. The trumpet of Sean Corby and the offbeat-played keys by Wobble
himself make slight references to the bygone sound of Studio One. On the other hand you can
clearly hear that the separate instruments have been mixed in a lavish mastering above-board –
in a way one now ought to speak of “spherical reggae”.
The core part of this masterpiece is of course the title track “Inspiration”. Alex McGowan caps it
all off with his very distinctive guitar playing and the thriftily applied Fender rhodes add extra
virtuosity to the already very complex arrangement. “Floating on high”, sings PJ Higgins and
means the transcendence you achieve when you addict yourself to all your inspirations and
consider yourself as an aggregate of them. And this album is figuratively speaking jam-packed
with influences and ideas, as many as it needs to make your head spin.
Giddiness is no where in sight though, thanks to Jah Wobble's extra-experienced bass playing
that pieces all the individual songs together to one big beautiful picture. It's the common thread
to everything that's going on and the grounding of the electrifying voice of PJ Higgins. On “What
Have I Become” there's no holding back anymore though and she catches fire delivering a
performance that goes right through you. The drums and percussions played by Marc Layton-
Bennett add a heavy dose of voodoo to the mix. Even a spiritual (“Chaingang”) find its way on to
this immaculate and, after repeated listening, truly impressive collection. The call & response by
PJ Higgins is simply accompanied by hand claps and foot stomps and, of course, Jah Wobble's
restrained bass.
All in all, this is a well-rounded package trying to be a classic reggae album but overstating the
case by turning out to be much more than that. If PJ Higgins and Jah Wobble were new kids on
the block, they'd be a pair to keep an eye on. Keeping an ear to the ground doesn't hurt though.

01. My Heart’s Burning
02. I Did Bad
03. King Of Illusion
04. King Of Illusion (Dub)
05. Inspiration
06. Watch How You Walk
07. Chaingang
08. What Have I Become Available from 30.05.2014
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