Erika Goldring, Getty Images The four members of Little Big Town will…
- Posted on Sep 23rd 2010 5:00PM by David Dacks
Wrongtom entered the picture around the time of Manuva's 'Slime and Reason' album in 2008. "I got in touch with the label a couple of years ago asking if I could have the acapella for 'Buff Nuff' [the lead single from 'Slime and Reason'], which was doing the promo rounds," Wrongton tells Spinner. "I figured the answer would be a flat no, but instead, I wound up working on the 'Slime and Version' CD [a dub companion to 'Slime and Reason'), and now this album."
This year, Wrongtom proposed a new idea to Manuva: a remix and re-envisioning of his back catalog. 'Duppy Writer' is a play on words which references the process. 'Duppy' is Jamaican patois for 'ghost,' transforming the title's meaning into 'Ghost Writer,' which is Wrongtom's role.
The album takes tracks from Manuva's four previous albums for Ninja Tune imprint Big Dada, and recasts them into grooves which suggest different decades. For instance, 'Buff Nuff,' the song that established their partnership, is stripped of its futuristic Toddla T production and turns into something that would have rocked dancehall pioneer King Jammy's studio in 1985. In a way, it's the tried and true Jamaican concept of 'versioning' where artists use a hot rhythm to power their vocals, except in this sense, the vocals remain while the rhythm changes.
"Dub defies genre," says Wrongtom. "Taking a song and dissecting it or stripping it back is an important part of composition and production. It's also about capturing time. You snatch moments of music, and try and hang on to them with the tape echo -- it's like time travel, only noisier."
Manuva is bemused and happy with this turn of events: it's an entirely new album but with familiar elements. Even though it was released at the end of August, "it changes by the day" he says. "I did my first performance with Wrongtom, we did a live dubbing workout show in east London. It went really well. It's going off!"
So if it's going to be live, is it going to be more along the lines of the great London-style reggae and dub parties held in warehouses and under bridges? He's coy: "I see more and more places appear that I can put the sound system in and happily play -- some legal, some not so legal."
But Manuva's first duty is to promote the label which has been his home for a dozen years. "Immediately, it's about doing a few of the Ninja Tune 20th anniversary dates," he says. "In three weeks, there's a big warehouse jam in London, then we're going to Japan."