Dub-reggae pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry says his new album, titled "Repentance" and tentatively slated for release in May by Los Angeles-based Narnack Records, is "like a flying machine come here to save some people who repent. And it will prove that Jesus Christ is black because the shadows of people are black. I wouldn't say that if shadows weren't black."
That description is typical of the 71-year-old Perry, who's been using colorful language to describe his music for nearly 40 years. What's more unusual about the new album is Perry's choice of producer: party-metal eccentric Andrew W.K.
The two artists met in Austin earlier this year when W.K. interviewed Perry for a DirecTV special about South by Southwest. "I also talked to Rickie Lee Jones and Iggy Pop, and I was struck by everyone," says W.K., whose third studio album, "Close Calls With Brick Walls," recently received a vinyl-only American release through Rhode Island's Load Records. "But Lee left me with more to think about than anyone else. I could tell I wanted to talk to him more."
They met again a few months later in New York at a taping for W.K.'s in-development TV series "Smokeshow." "I ended up meeting people from Narnack that night and I expressed my admiration for Lee," W.K. says. "I asked what he was doing for his next album and said I'd like to be involved. Some time went by and then they asked me to produce."
Culled from tracks recorded during sessions in L.A. and New York, the album contains "hip-hop reggae and party songs," according to Perry. W.K. says he'd like to see a final mixing session happen in Jamaica.
W.K. was "more professional" in the studio than many of his past collaborators, Perry says. W.K. says his strategy was to allow Perry's creativity to flow freely. "Before the first day in the studio, I had engineers and musicians calling me asking, 'What are we doing?' I just told them to embrace those feelings, that it was going to be unpredictable," he recalls.