Let’s blur boundaries. Let’s begin with English singer-songwriter John Martyn’s fascinating ode to the music of Jamaica. What is it? Is it folk-rock? Dub? Ambient? or Funk? It’s something that can be all of this in John Martyn’s One World. These were the components of the murderous stew of future music that would be pieced together by the freeform minds of John and Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Taking dub techniques he learned at Lee Perry’s Black Ark studios, John came back to his home in Hastings and attempted to apply them to his own brand of experimental English folk music. Bookending the original release were two musical totems, “Dancing” and “Small Hours”, that pinpointed exactly what this new marvelous combination of Echoplex delay, drum machine, and acoustic exploration could yield.
Digging deeper, in this other world of unreleased tracks (from these same sessions), like “Black Man At Your Shoulder“, you can tap into some of the other wonderful, nascent “jazz” that spurred John to take his studio out on a lake and meld electronic with environment.
People think I was dark at the time, but I wasn’t. Even at my darkest I was being really gentle. I love that album, I still do. — John Martyn