Lee Scratch Perry, Peaking Lights, and Ivan Lee collaborate for ‘Life of the Plants’ Electronic dub record on Stones Throw Records

The players are Lee Scratch Perry, dub music pioneer, an icon of music whose influence has been felt around the world, Peaking Lights – Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis – a contemporary electronic dub band from Los Angeles, and Ivan Lee, a musician from Argentina who has toured with Lee Scratch Perry and facilitated this session.

Aaron Coyes and Ivan Lee formed a plan to work with Perry, producing several instrumental tracks for him to work with as vocalist. The session was set up at Stones Throw Studios in Los Angeles. Perry arrived in the morning, set up candles, burned sage, dressed the room up to his liking, and began recording. His first vocal take lasted an unexpected 20 minutes, with studio engineer Jake Viator manually extending the track in real-time for as long as Perry kept rolling. He finished and immediately free-styled the overdub back-up track in another 20 minute take. Ultimately the session ran 8 hours with Perry on his feet the entire time. (He is 82 years old.)

Life of the Plants runs 45 minutes, just three tracks and two dubs each about 9 minutes long. It’s an electronic record, and as Aaron describes it, “a great example of Lee’s diverse knowl- edge of melody and free-flow lyrics that some from somewhere deep in his subconscious.” “Lee has evolved from almighty producer to a word shaman in my eyes,” says Ivan in describ- ing Perry’s role as vocalist. “He calls and invokes energies through words, he’s the poet of the outwardly, a master of ceremonies.”

Lee Scratch Perry has been active in music for 60 years. He began making a name for himself as producer in the late 60s working with his studio band The Upsetters. In 1973, Perry built The Black Ark studio in his backyard in Kingston, working the mixing board for years recording artists like Bob Marley, The Congos, Junor Marvin, The Heptones, and produc- ing music that stands out as a high point in reggae history. His sphere of work, his collabora- tions, and his influence over the subsequent decades is too much to cover in this space. Aaron said it best: “Simply put, if Lee Scratch Perry didn’t expect, music would be lame.”

Life of the Plants will be released on vinyl (4 tracks) and digitally (5 tracks). The album cover is by Los Angeles-based painter Tim Biskup.

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