The Glittery Space-Obsessed Reggae Producer Ahead of His Time

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Lee "Scratch" Perry. (Artist Photo)

Can someone who's 81 still be ahead of his time? Look no further that Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Jamaican producer whose studio innovations and music production ideas are at the heart of every mashup and remix, from Bob Marley to the Clash to Timbaland. As an engineer, Perry experimented and invented ceaselessly in his famed Black Ark studio in Jamaica, and then in his compound in Switzerland — both secret bunkers of musical experimentation.

And Lee Scratch Perry’s live shows are a sight to behold, with many clouds of smoke, and Perry wearing crazy shimmering wizard outfits, often talking between songs about outer space and UFOs. In a club setting, the music is killer — a swampy, murky reggae sound that sounds great on a huge sound system. Lee "Scratch" Perry and the Subatomic Sound System are at the Ritz in San Jose on Wednesday, Jan. 24. It’s an early show at 7pm. Details here.