UK

Writing here, elsewhere (in the ethos, maintain & build)

Constant Elevation/ Maintain And Build 12'' Prod. Maniac Mob 1996

Perhaps you’ve noticed that the amount of website entries has reduced here. I haven’t moved to a Nepalese cave, or shack near a Lombok beach (or hiding out on a fire-escape in some major urban centre in the United States) where the Internet is tricky, even if the connection in Paris remains highly irregular. (Tech support faults my computer).

The past 18 months have been a mix for me following the death of my sister in late July 2017. Passing within a fog, at times – not depression’s stark certainty, but harder to define emotions such as confusion, doubt and loneliness. Splintered, exaggerated feelings and reactions, marked by pain. Where the suffering is cumulative, thick with the past, held within disorienting realisations: I am older today than my sister when she died, though her birth preceded my own by two years.   

Writers writing about themselves writing after loss are not my interest. Though I appreciate memoirs of writers experiencing extreme circumstances: imprisonment, political exile and the like. Sentimentality is always the main risk with this kind of writing, alongside falseness, egotism. Seeking out the “silver lining” when the cloud is more pertinent. Looking for meaning and transcendence when there is none. Ignoring the fact that it is never only this.

Suffering is malleable, shifting to fit within the lives we lead. Children need to be fed, jobs attended, bills paid. Ambivalence about this continuation of life when confronted by pain does interest me; as another example of the in-between emotion that shapes much of our lives - some refer to it as aversion. But the truth is as I was coming to terms with this loss, other aspects of my life were moving forward. I was working more as a journalist than before, for Passion of the Weiss and The Wire mainly, but other places too.  

This “outside” writing as a music journalist is the principal reason for the decrease for posts on my site. Since December 2018 too I’ve also been working on a project that I hope to finish this June. I won’t detail it here. One of the most useful pieces of online psych knowledge I’ve picked up is the danger of sharing projects (and success) prematurely – the chorus, or absence, of hosannas lessening the intensity required to complete something; the fact that there needs to be something to push against for us to complete the work. I’ll keep it quiet for now (“pray for me,” though that I get it done).

Some of this journalism I’ve published during this time can be read here at my Muck Rack page, but it’s not all here. The site provides a great service, compiling portfolios of journalists. Over time, I’ll put up some of this writing and will also keep you in the loop re a future by-line, which marks a new/old direction and for that reason means a lot for me.

Feel free to check out Passion of the Weiss - please consider donating to the Patreon so the site can only get stronger - and read/subscribe to The Wire, a print magazine dedicated to the underground and those making music because it means something to them, others is something precious in this era of the disposable, trivial-hysteric and slapdash.

Thanks to the great editors at Passion of the Weiss and The Wire, for the commissions and responsiveness to my ideas/work; to my family and all those in the Paris circle too.   

Coda:

"Church Going" Philip Larkin, read by Tom O'Bedlam (The Less Deceived, The Fortune Press, 1955)

A little obvious perhaps, it’s certainly one of the most famous poems written in English, well-known to any school or university literature student, but it’s still one of the most beautiful, especially in this reading. Often it’s stated baldly that this is not a religious poem, or is used to describe the increase of secularisation in Western countries, but the final verses remain ambiguous to me, as if the need - as we have seen in Paris recently - for some kind of communal space, whether it’s linked to religion or culture remains a keep aspect of what it is to be human.

“Bored uninformed knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation--marriage and birth 
And death and thoughts of these--for which was built
This special shell? For though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth 
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is 
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet 
Are recognised and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete 
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious 
And gravitating with it to this ground 
Which he once heard was proper to grow wise in 
If only that so many dead lie round.”

(It pleases me to stand in silence here).

‘Mr Majestic’ Calibre & High Contrast (12” Signature Records, 2004) plus Horace Andy ‘Money, money’/ ‘Money is the root of all evil’ (prod. Phil Pratt/Bunny 'Striker' Lee/Lloyd Barnes/Scientist)

No interviews to cut and paste, no artist comment connected to the release, dated 2004, but it’s no issue as this track stands by itself as something that is immediately accessible and still effective more than a decade on. Whether you like it for the song construction, the sharp horn sample taken from the Horace Andy/Bunny Lee classic track, or the simple lyrical concept:

“I man no like/A man who tried to cheat her.”

Interestingly, this striking vocal sample remains unidentified. Many of the online sources claim that the horn sample comes from Horace Andy/Phil Pratt Allstars' 1976 single, plus dub, ‘Money is the root of all evil’ released via Pressure Disk, produced by Phil Pratt, but as you’ll hear that isn’t correct 

The source of that distinctive horn sample is the Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee produced version from 1978 (some places say 1979):

Lee returned to the song with Don Carlos/John Wayne in 1983, changing the focus to include women into the sources of corruption (as one listener below the line joked the one ‘down vote is from a female capitalist’).

There are other, maybe even many other versions of this classic song, here is the very beautiful one from Horace Andy’s Dance Hall Style (Wackies, 1983), produced by Lloyd Barnes.  

I've already written about this album before, see below, and referred to Jo-Ann Greene's AllMusic review, but I'll quote from it again here:   

By modern standards, a six-song set barely qualifies as a single, never mind as a full-length album, but with each stellar song featured in its extended form, Dance Hall Style doesn’t merely pass muster as an album, but as a masterpiece. As with all the Wackies sets from this era, it’s the riddims and arrangements that inspire absolute awe, but as Horace Andy gives each of them his all, this album is as notable for his performances as for Lloyd Barnes’ sensational production and his studio band’s phenomenal musicianship. Incidentally, Andy himself provided bass, rhythm, and lead guitar on the album. Not all the songs, however, are new — two revisit a pair of the star’s earlier hits. Andy cut “Lonely Woman” for Derrick Harriott back in 1972, and for it, Barnes created a sizzling new riddim that bristles with militancy, while still echoing back to the days of early reggae, before flashing over into pure roots rockers in the tense dub section. “Money Money” was cut for Bunny Lee a few years later in rockers style, and so Barnes instead takes it immediately into deep dread territory, filling the atmosphere with absolute menace.

Jazzy Wayz*: Antiphon, Alfa Mist (Pink Bird Recording Company, 2017)

Personnel: Alfa Mist, Keys/piano, Kaya Thomas-Dye, Bass, vocals, Jamie Houghton, Drums, Rudi Creswick, Bass, Jamie Leeming, Guitar, Johnny Woodham, Trumpet, Maria Medvedeva, Alto Saxophone, Mansur Brown, Guitar, Gaspar Sena, Drums, Jordan Rakei, Vocals, Tobie Tripp, Violin/strings, Lester Salmins, Violin/Strings.

(Go to the Bandcamp album page to see detailed listing re tracks and musician performances)

Such a deserving record, this one, so worthy of the accolades, praise and attention. Released on the independent label based in East London, Pink Bird Recording Company - which is described as a label that works ‘with artists that create all types of music, ranging from Rock to Classical and everything in between’.

Outside the fact that this record has met with such justified success – I remember when it was first posted by the great Provocative Educative Youtube channel, one of my principal sources of new music online and have since watched it creep to nearly two million views following its release in March, only five months ago – it is also encouraging listeners to look at jazz afresh.

Of course, yes, there could be debates about what kind of music it is in fact. I have no real interest in making a case either way, but Alfa Mist’s Antiphon should be celebrated I believe in the way it gives life to the loosely framed genre of jazz, while adding hip-hop inflections.

Throughout the record there are samples of men (a man?) speaking. It’s difficult to make out exactly what the voice is saying, his voice is not highlighted, or brought forward – it’s just another element, just not a musical element – and this adds a definite warmth and human dimension to the music.

Of course this inclusion of a voice, or voices reflects a jazz lineage; throughout the 60s and 70s black American jazz musicians frequently used spoken-word elements in the work. One of the most dramatic examples of this is Archie Shepp's 'Malcolm, Malcolm - Semper Malcolm' from his 1965 classic, Fire Music (Impulse!). 

But the quality and role of this voice is different: it is self-conscious, poetic and presenting a message whereas the voice on Antiphon sounds like it's expressing thoughts in an informal, spontaneous way. It is a completely different register and level of intensity or intent. 

Descriptions of the record state that Antiphon was ‘created around a conversation with his brothers’ (and that it ‘blends melancholy jazz harmony with alternative hip-hop and soul’).

This idea of including voices, voices that are not presenting an argument, or making ‘a point’ or being funny or whatever it might be strikes me as a really interesting development in both genres – jazz and hip-hop. It reminds me of Mick Jenkins’ inclusion of conversations with his sister on his 2016 The Healing Component. See my essay on his track ‘Fall Through’ from this record that I published in March this year. 

These voices create something that is both personal and universal; specific and general, while adding a deep layer of intimacy to the music. One definition of the word ‘antiphon’ is: ‘verse or song to be chanted or sung in response’.

For me, the two stand out pieces of music on this record are the opener, ‘Keep On’ – the wonderful performance of drummer Jamie Houghton is often highlighted, but the work of the bassist Rudi Creswick is equally impressive. This is music where the give and take is central, see for example the kind of delicate ‘anti-solo’ almost between the principal instruments, see the two minutes from about 7’40, with Alfa Mist offering up his own accompaniment with an intelligent modesty.

and 'Breathe' (ft. Kaya Thomas-Dyke)

The only piece of music with vocals, provided by vocalist/bassist Kaya Thomas-Dyke; such a perfect evocation of desire, muted in a kind of dream-scape that never falls into cliché. And then just after five minutes, the entire mood shifts just like a beat switch in a hip-hop track, to then conclude with a piano-based coda of rolling movement as if it were an interlude.  

London-based producer/WhoSampled head of content Chris Read interview published at okayplayer.com

Right from the very start, hip-hop has always held within it a contradiction related to sampling, secrecy and artistic self-exposure. DJs soaking off the labels of records to evade prying eyes of their competitors, as Chris Read, Head of Content at WhoSampled says, co-existed with compilations such as Ultimate Breaks and Beats (or before that Octopus Breaks) breaking down the genre to core elements.

This public dimension of the producer’s craft has only become more pronounced in the internet era. “It’s impossible to live your life outside the reality of the world we live in now,” Read says. “Whether it’s making music or playing sports, there’s always going to be a body of people out there who will want to discuss and analyze what you do.”

The UK-based WhoSampled site, founded in 2008 by Nadav Poraz, has as its tagline “exploring the DNA of music”. With its collection of 462,000 songs and 156,000 artists alongside content provided by 17,000 contributors worldwide the scope of the project is vast.

Each month the site notches up two million visitors curious to discover music they may, or may not recognize, with others drawn into the “web of musical connections” the site provides. In Read’s description: “It’s discovering stuff you like, but don’t know you like yet via its connection to something you already know you like.”

With such a reach, the site’s approach is necessarily eclectic. The frontpage when I last looked featured a D’Angelo mixtape; a piece exploring the “varied catalogue of Herbie Hancock” and an analysis of samples used on the Baby Driver movie soundtrack. The deep impact of sampling on pop culture means top searches for the month are just as likely to include Katy Perry, or a track performed by an X Factor contestant, as a hip-hop classic.

For a long while, Chris Read was best-known as the “rap mega-mix guy,” he tells me with a laugh when we met in the dark recesses of a restaurant in a plush East London hotel – soundtrack: Childish GambinoOtis Redding — because of a phenomenally successful mixtape The Diary he put out ten years ago. The mixtape charted hip-hop’s history, from 1979-2007, via more than 800 tracks — in order of release.

Read more here

Remembering Dennis Davis, 1949-2016. David Bowie: 'Right’ (Young Americans, RCA, 1975)/ ‘Sound and Vision’ (Low, RCA, 1977)/ ‘Look back in anger’/’DJ’ (Lodger, RCA, 1979)

Drumming as an expression of freedom; without wanting to sound too out there, you can see it in the fluid movement of the wrists of the best musicians, the way the bones dissolve almost as they capture and expand the beat, allowing it to have space full of air, while remaining certain, so complete.

Remembering Dennis Davis then, who passed away in April last year. Best-known as the master drummer on Bowie's finest recordings: Young Americans (1975), Station to Station  (1976) Low (1977), Heroes (1977), Stage (1978), Lodger (1979) and Scary Monsters (1980).  

Not sure about Stage, but all those others are like a soundtrack to an era and expression of essential musical genius, collaboration, risk-taking. Producer Tony Visconti remembered Davis's contribution and gift in a statement:

(Davis) was one of the most creative drummers I have ever worked with. He came into David Bowie’s life when we recorded some extra tracks for Young Americans and stayed with us through Scary Monsters and beyond. He was a disciplined jazz drummer who tore into Rock with a Jazz sensibility. Listen to the drum breaks on Black Out from the Heroes album. He had a conga drum as part of his set up and he made it sound like two musicians were playing drums and congas. By Scary Monsters he was playing parts that were unthinkable but they fit in so perfectly. His sense of humour was wonderful. As an ex member of the US Air Force he told us stories of seeing a crashed UFO first hand by accidentally walking through an unauthorized hanger. There will never be another drummer, human being and friend like Dennis, a magical man.

In a 1999 interview with Uncut magazine, Bowie said that Davis was 'a powerfully emotive drummer… The tempo not only 'moved' but also was expressed in more than 'human' fashion' (cited in the Rolling Stone tribute).

Writing about Bowie is a challenge for me. His records are imprinted on my spirit, I know every lyric, every shift, but tend to go into adolescent-mode when writing/talking about them, in awe that Young Americans could be followed by Station to Station and then by Low … (such a giddy fan-stance is not that helpful). And yet, much of Bowie’s achievement in this period, as he acknowledged freely, depends on the contribution of the musicians who provided the foundations, the so-called ‘D.A.M trio’, Bowie’s most effective and distinctive rhythm section: Dennis Davis on drums; Carlos Alomar on guitar and George Murray on bass  

Dennis Davis started his professional career with Roy Ayers, this is where he met Alomar (he also played with Stevie Wonder on Hotter than July … and on Iggy Pop’s The Idiot). He was first hired by Bowie to Young Americans – that lush, idiosyncratic exploration of Soul, a kind of love letter to the United States and its music.

Listen to the way the bass is foregrounded, along with the vocals of course, with the drumming little more than an occasional interruption, a kind of tap here and there; Davis’s understated, albeit central, style continues on Bowie’s record, Low where Davis, it is said, developed a particular snare sound that was/is considered to be revolutionary.

About that time, Bowie asked whether I’d mind making an album with Brian Eno in France, and we commenced to make Low. I unveiled my secret weapon, patching the snare mics directly into the Harmonizer and recording the effect on track 24. When drummer Dennis Davis heard the sound, he begged to have it routed into his headphones. We soon discovered that the rate of the Harmonizer’s drop off was controlled by an envelope at its input. So now that Dennis could hear the effect as he played, he was able to control the sound by how hard he hit his snare. This is why hardly anyone has duplicated that snare sound—we didn’t do it in the mix, we did it live!

Visconti again, for more detail on this development have a read of this

There is a wonderful kind of containment and control here; something that would be reversed in the wild-eccentric exuberance of Bowie’s Lodger two years later. This record is a masterpiece on so many levels, you see I’m slipping here …  but really, it is a representative work refusing easy categorisation, while having such a firm sense of its self (and so full of joy and musical experimentation).

For me the song, ‘Look back in anger’ is the quintessential expression of musical freedom and energy, such energy (and this is largely thanks to the extraordinary contribution of Dennis Davis that blows my mind each time I hear it) :

Elegant and expressive: nothing better, ever.

...

I am a D.J., I am what I play
Can't turn around no, can't turn around no
I am a D.J., I am what I say
Can't turn around no, can't turn around,
I am a D.J., I am what I play
I've got believers (kiss-kiss)
Believing me

I am a D.J., I am what I play
Can turn around no, can't turn around
I am a D.J., I am what I play
Can turn around no, can't turn around
I am a D.J., I am what I play
Can turn around no (kiss-kiss)

Time flies when you're having fun
Break his heart, break her heart
He used to be my boss and now he is a puppet dancer
I am a D.J., and I've got believers

I've got believers
I've got believers
I've got believers in me
I've got believers
I am a D.J., I am what I play
I am a D.J.

(This is the perfect Bowie song on every level: the poetic, elusive lyrics that are funny/sarcastic/bitter, at times, while carrying an aggressive charge of dislocated indifference, refusing reductive explanations; and then the music: take a deep breath, be quiet now). 

In praise of: 'Breathing' Kate Bush (Never for ever, EMI, 1980)

'I see myself on the piano as a melody,’ Kate Bush sang on Lionheart’s 'Symphony In Blue' quoted by Matt Lindsay ’30 years on: the Dreaming by Kate Bush’ The Quietus 2012

Outside
Gets inside
Through her skin
I've been out before
But this time it's much safer in

Last night in the sky
Such a bright light
My radar send me danger
But my instincts tell me to keep

Breathing
(Out, in, out, in, out, in)

Backing Vocals – Roy Harper Bass [Fretless] – John Giblin Drums – Stuart Elliott Percussion – Morris Pert Synthesizer [Prophet] – Larry Fast

Genre: Art rock, baroque pop

That moment where Kate Bush hides almost, singing the word 'keep' so quietly, to the point we can hardly hear it at the beginning, just before the release when she sings the word breathing. The genius of Kate Bush has many, many facets but one aspect that I’ve been noticing recently is her imaginative phrasing, the way she emphasises or hides certain words when she sings (and this changes, depending on the performance). It’s a beautiful thing to observe and sense. As it is within such detail that we can see her gift, in its entirety.

 “To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.” 
― William BlakeAuguries of Innocence

There’s such a sweet fragility in that half-heard word. It captures that moment of doubt, softer perhaps than fear that is felt before a decision is made, ‘to nullify (your) life’ .. or to breathe. This is especially effective here as it contrasts with the building, declamatory ‘I’ve been out before/but this time it’s much safer in …’

‘Breathing’ - the song that Bush described as her ‘little symphony’ is all about the contrast in different kinds of movement in music forward and backward (out/in) that manifests expressions of confidence and uncertainty. All of this is then upended by the magically strange section at 3 minutes: the post-apocalyptic dream-scape, that evokes the world after a nuclear Holocaust. She moves from the intimate to the abstract.

Originally, I thought the song was an expression of the intense feeling of longing, all mixed up with desire that you might have for someone you love, perhaps your mother, your beloved and the grief that is felt when they are no longer with you. It is, in fact, written from the point of view of a foetus (in the video Bush dances in an enclosed space of diaphanous material to represent a womb).    

Bush has said that her inspiration for the song came from ‘a documentary she had seen about the effects of nuclear war, while the tone of the song was inspired by Pink Floyd's The Wall (side three in particular).’ The wonder of the song lies in the intimate detail and the personalised delivery – something as far removed from notions of anti-Nuclear campaigning, as could be imagined - and the way Bush represents the idea of breathing ‘your mother in, your beloved in/breathing her nicotine …’ 

‘Breathing’ closed Bush’s third solo album Never, for Ever that came out in 1980 (the album began with the over-the-top cleverness and theatrics of ‘Babooshka’ – and Kate in a revealing Clan of the Cave Bear outfit, strutting, her angular movements lodging themselves in the imaginations of curious teenage boys the world over …)

Never for Ever was the first album that Bush had full production control and is still impressive many decades on for its creative risk-taking that at no point feels forced: the personality of the artist is the unifying element, alongside her constant cultural referencing: 

Bush’s literary and cinematic influences were again to the fore. “The Infant Kiss”, the story of a governess who is frightened by the adult feelings she has for her young male charge (who is possessed by the spirit of a grown man), was inspired by the 1961 film The Innocents, which in turn had been inspired by The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. ”The Wedding List” drew from François Truffaut’s 1968 film The Bride Wore Black.”Delius (Song of Summer)” was inspired by the 1968 Ken Russell TV movie Song of Summer, which portrays the last six years of the life of English composer Frederick Delius, when Eric Fenby acted as his amanuensis. Fenby is mentioned in the lyrics (“in B, Fenby”).
— Wiks

‘Delius (Song of Summer)’ strikes me as particularly influential in terms of the light-electronic alternative acts that have emerged since the 2000s in its delicate swoon and the way it’s mixed together ...

The album also included the superb anti-war song, ‘Army Dreamers’ (that includes extremely sweet-gentle and ironic male backing vocals, again upending expectations).     

Never for Ever was Bush’s first album to reach the number one slot on the UK charts and the first solo record by a British female artist to reach this status; moreover, it is the first studio album of any woman to achieve this, rather than compilations. Bush said that the album title alluded to contradictory and conflicting emotions, which pass, as she said: ‘we must tell our hearts that it is 'never for ever', and be happy that it's like that’.

Reviews for the album have a kind of grudging tone, something you often see in appraisals of the work of artists who are women (the Allmusic review saying, for example: ‘Bush's dramatics and theatrical approach to singing begin to solidify on Never for Ever, and her style brandishes avid seriousness without sounding flighty or absurd’ ...  an 'appreciation' from Sputnikmusic is even worse, concluding that the record was ‘no masterpiece’ but that it showed Bush’s work was ‘improving in all the right ways.’ … ah, merci monsieur).   

The album is also important in terms of Bush's artistic development in the way it demonstrated her interest in new tech; this is taken from an article in the NME:

As soon as I met the Fairlight,” Bush admitted in 1985 about the digital sampling synthesiser, “I realised that it was something I really couldn’t do without because it was just so integral to what I wanted to do with my music.” The possibilities are obvious on ‘Never For Ever’, the most lush of her albums to that point, where dreamy Minnie Riperton soul (‘Blow Away’) meets berserk vamping rock (‘Babooshka’). Its finest moment is the haunting ‘Breathing’ with Bush facing up to the burgeoning nuclear crisis as weapons move into Greenham Common. “What are we going to do/We are all going to die” is as direct as she ever gets, and has all the more grim power for that.

Easily the best piece of writing I’ve come across on Kate Bush’s work, Never for ever comes from Matt Lindsay ’30 years on: the Dreaming by Kate BushThe Quietus 2012. It’s full of fantastic research and persuasively argues for the importance of this record, as a transition towards a more autonomous juncture in Kate Bush's career and the way it gestured to her musical future. Here is his comment on ‘Breathing’ …

Bush’s melodramatic ivory tinkling is woven into a throbbing musical backdrop. Gabriel’s trusty synth wizard Larry Fast on Prophet 5, the ‘atomic instrumentation’ of Pink Floyd’s The Wall (side 3 apparently, ‘Hey You’ in particular) and 10cc multi-tracked vocal wash are all subsumed into Bush’s striking originality: a uniquely female perspective sculpted from male sources. Breathing’s bold studio craft was a strong indication of things to come.

Again, from Matt Lindsay:

(Bush) was also enamoured with the colossal ‘gated reverb’ drum patterns, without cymbals, Gabriel was cultivating with engineer Hugh Padgham at London’s Townhouse Studios. As with the Fairlight, this would become a salient feature of 80’s rock, perhaps most associated with Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight (1981). Collins had learned the technique while working on Gabriel’s Melt album and had gone as far as recruiting the singer’s producer, Hugh Padgham. This suggests a kind of forward thinking MOR phalanx during this period. At the time only Tony Visconti’s pioneering work on Bowie’s Low (1977) was this drum sound’s only real precedent. (Visconti was briefly considered for production duties on The Dreaming before Bush assumed full responsibility).

Check out this extremely touching live performance from Kate Bush of ‘Breathing’ – her skill shows through her ability to be so heavily invested in the moment, it’s almost as if you can touch her soul, while she maintains distance (until that lovely smile at the end).

The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses

UK writer, Neil Griffiths partly personally funded a new prize for books published by small, independent presses, on which he has bestowed the rather extravagant name, 'The Republic of Consciousness' and the tagline: 'hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose.'    

It seems that most have forgotten that the literary greats, let's say the Modernists depended on the existence of small presses and small literary magazines - see above - to get into print. Today these writers are studied in university courses the world over, but when they were alive they were scrounging for work as casual teachers of English in Trieste, or Rome. (I recently read this striking evocation of the peripatetic life of James Joyce and his family, where he was described as 'unsettled and penniless' - puts it into perspective somewhat).  

On reading the long-list of the authors on the Republic of Consciousness Prize, three immediately appealed to me, one so much that I ordered the novel from the publisher last night. See if you can resist, after reading this description of The Marvellous Equations of the Dread by Marcia Douglas - a writer who was born in the UK, grew up in Jamaica and is now based in Colorado (the publisher, Peepal Tree Press calls itself: the 'Home of the Best in Caribbean & Black British Writing')  

A magical realist journey through the history of Rastafarianism, Bob Marley & Jamaica – not necessarily in that order. Rhapsodic, poetic, scripturally engaged and endlessly inventive. Not only is the electric atmosphere of Jamaica evoked with sensuousness, delicacy and love; so is the ‘dub-side’, a studio yard just the other side of death, where Bob Marley and a toothless and lisping Halle Selassie discuss the relative merits of routes to Zion.

Check out this longlist for the Republic of Consciousness prize; it offers up a multitude of interesting, innovative writers and books to be discovered. And here is the website for Marcia Douglas. Can't wait to read her book, described as 'a novel in bass riddim ...'