I’m back on the dub wagon again. Something so great about a dub record on a weekend morning…
When you think of classic dub, there are a handful of names that come to mind: King Tubby, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Scientist, and, of course, Mad Professor (aka Neil Fraser). I had the privilege of seeing the Mad Professor perform live in Seattle back in 2011 at a cool club called Neumos as part of the annual Decibel Festival. I knew nothing at all about dub at the time, so the whole thing seemed like a big reggae rave to me with plenty of people grooving and smoking, which was pretty cool.
Dub Me Crazy!! is probably the most “out there” dub I’ve heard. Whereas Tubby and others keep the effects relatively subtle, then hit you with random bigger distortions, the Professor goes full tilt from start to finish. If there was ever a reggae version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mad Scientist would do all the music for it. His mixes are trippy, spacey, echoey, and modulated throughout. The progression of side A brings it to you piece by piece, opening with “Your Rights/My Rights” and it’s more straight forward dub sound, to “Freedom Chant” and it’s metallic space bubble effects, to the even more trippy “Ankoko,” and then the brief “Dub Power” that has so much going on you’ll almost forget that somewhere at the root of the track are some reggae riddims. Mad Professor isn’t afraid to leave the vocals in his tracks either, unlike a lot of dub mixers who eliminate all the voices other than perhaps a looped snipit. He works the same space-age magic on the voices that he does on the music, sometimes making it sound more like a computer or robot doing the singing.
Originally released in 1982, Dub Me Crazy!! has been recently re-released on vinyl, which is great because dub begs to be listened to on the turntable. I like that Mad Professor has his own style, though personally I’m a fan of the more subtle dub producers, stuff that’s closer to reggae than it is to techno. But if you’re more of a techno/electronica fan and looking for an entry into the world of dub, Dub Me Crazy!! is probably exactly what you’re looking for.