Jah Wobble

The Light Programme

The Wire – November 1997

Whatever gods the ever prolific Wobble has on his side – this is his sixth album since 1995 – they are very musical ones. His last release, The Celtic Poets, was a Celtically inflected concept album, but this time he’s blown away the clouds of mysticism and gone back to doing what he does best – although rarely as well as this monumental electronic funk, whose zeal is as much to be found in its musicality as its spirituality.

The line-up from Poets is still pretty much intact – Jaki Liebezeit on drums, Zi Lan Liao (harp) and old faithful guitarist and co-producer Mark Ferda. This collection’s infinitely beater than its predecessor, however, Rapt contemplation gives way here to shirking sensuality and dancebeat.

Wobble has mused on the possible onset of old-hippydom. Indeed, the profundity and musical sophistication of this album is more 1972 than 1977. Witness the skittering Hammond organ chords and chaotic polyrhyhms that introduce “One in 7”. the tangy, chromatic clashes of melody and bassline, indeed the sheer range of Wobble’s melodic thought reveal a composer of rare resourcefulness. The burial of his bass in the mix, however, is disappointing. This, though is a small price to pay for his discovery of European tonality, and how to harness it to dance, music – a skill Weather Report eventually lost over so many albums. B-movie horror soundtracks with dub basslines? Second Viennese harmonies with Junglist drum frenzy? It’s all here.

Paul Stump

The Daily Telegraph – October 1997

TO DESCRIBE the protean Jah Wobble as a man of many parts would be something of an understatement. Rather, he is a man of many musical worlds, and each of the albums he spews out at such a dizzying rate provides a view of these worlds from a different angle.

The Light programme is a collection of meditations and hallucinations for various instruments: imagine a dream in which you hear an entire roomful of radios simultaneously playing jazz, dub, drum ‘n’ bass, classical , rock and North African music. Now imagine that they all blend perfectly. And when you wake up there’s a CD of that music by your bed. Ay, and what then?

Q Magazine – December Issue 1997

Since returning to the rock business – he quit, drunk and disillusioned, in 1986 to become a driver on the Northern Line – Wobble has orbited on the fringes of the avant garde with recent collaborations with Eno and his interpretations of Blake’s poetry. Having parted with Island who were sceptical of the commercial clout of his new direction, he now records for his own 30 Hertz label. His first for them was last year’s The Celtic Poets, a hammy gesture much less successful than this attractive and accessible package of tunes. It’s difficult to categorise, sitting somewhere between Dreadzone, Eno and Roni Size, but it’s full of its own sensual, tuneful, funky personality. Most successful are Maieusis and 15 Dohs, excursions into drum ‘n’ bass territory and good tunes with the cheery zing of today. ****

Stuart Maconie

What’s On In London – October 1997

Shish, this must be about the 80th album he’s released this year. the man is nothing if not prolific. And what’s most staggering is the actual quality of the music. whether he’s dabbling in classical, jazz, Celtic poetry or dubby grooves, Wobble hardly puts a foot wrong. And who else releases a song called ‘Appearance and Thing In-Itself’?

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