Jah Wobble

Deep Space

The Wire – April 1999

Approach this title with care – Deep Space might suggest Hawkwind’s stoned cosmic musings or Model 500’s pristine interstellar twinkles, but this latest release from Stepney’s finest practitioner of low end theory owes little to either. In fact, the space in question is generated by Wobble’s continuing mission – to fuse the atavistic caverns of the Celtic imagination with the echoing soundstages conjured into being by the mixing desk.

a succession of organic motorik rhythms, predicated as ever on Wobble’s triumphant less-is-more approach to bass playing, makes up the framework here. The opening “The Immanent” is the most restlessly kinetic, spun along by Jaki Liebezeit’s millimetrically precise revolutions, plunging and weaving for 13 minutes through a dizzying succession of reverb spaces. A pyrotechnical array of pipes and drones – khene, flute, rauschpfeife and crumhorn, supplied by Jean-Pierre Rasle and The Wire’s own Clive Bell – Adds tingling flesh to the rhythmic bones, making up massive hanging chords which teeter on the brink of Pro portentousness.

The next track, “The Transcendent”, eases the pressure, melding pagan clattering, ragged Celtic harmonies, and a skinny guitar drawl that wouldn’t be out of place on a Pussy Galore record, into a downtempo swirl of Ambient sound.

Wobble’s music has increasingly attempted to induce states of biorhythmic sanctity by focusing on the simple wonder of the bass pulse. In keeping with this, much of the music on Deep Space is a form of meditation.

Its casual beauty puts paid to allegations of New age vapidity – the album takes in the layered drones and calibrated dub effects of “Disk, Wind And Veiling Curtains” and the prehistoric dolour of “Funeral March” with equal poise.

Best of all, though, is the unwavering drum and bass mesh whose gentle insistence over fully 15 minutes takes the piece, “Girl Amazed At The Perfection Of A Rose Fails To Meditate Upon Chaos”, from sparse John Tavener – like whimsy into an immaculately searching and wonderfully measured exploration of sonic space.

Chris Sharp

Daily Telegrapy – 11th April 1999

The bass always used to be the poor cousin of the electric guitar, often attracting the least musical member of the band. Over the last two decades Wobble has helped to transform it into a lead melody instrument, the anchor, rocket motor and spiritual center of the music. Perhaps only New Order’s Peter Hook, or Parliament’s Bootsy Collins, have come close.

Deep Space renews the classic pairing of Wobble with drummer Jaki Leibezeit, late of the Kraut Rock super group Can, and the album hangs off the fusion of Wobble’s heavy bass riffs with the sparse structural rhythms laid down by Leibezeit. Interleaved are drones, ethnic flutes and chunks of systems music and beguiling vocals from Bosnian singer Amelia Sulejmanivch.

Mainly instrumental, with lengthy tracks and odd time signatures, this is not bound for Top of the Pops. It’s a fine album, though, and confirms Wobble’s status as the nation’s favourite quiz show guest, joker, spiritual guru, star trooper and bass player extraordinaire.

Richard Wolfson

Flipside – 17th April 1999

Deep Space blends the former PiL man’s succinct, low-end theory with drones, rumbles, pipes, and a motorik momentum provided by Can drummer Jaki Leibezeit. It is an atmospheric trance-like journey that conjures glimpses of Celtic, African, Indian, South American and Indonesian lands, seen through a modernist lens. But don’t expect coffee-table glibness; Wobble’s prone to throwing seemingly incongruous elements together, such as lo-fi guitar-picking over metallic clunks of ancient eastern percussion. At times, Deep Space is simultaneously mournful and euphoric. Jah smart arse. G.d.

R.I.Y.L world (music) without the tofu.

Glsogow Herald – April 1999

Without question the most original bass player of his generation, Wobble has run the musical gamut, from punk to dub and back, whilst always remaining relevant. Deep Space sees Wobble moving away from dub reggae to arrive somewhere between Eno and Stockhausen. Turning his hand to keyboards, percussion and organ, as well as producing, Wobble has created a form of ambience that transcends the genre’s usually limited appeal. Visceral rather than ethereal, Deep Space retains that touch of darkness that keeps it real.

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