Dark Luminosity – The 21st Century Collection
Cherry Red Records
Jah Wobble (born John Joseph Wardle) began his musical career as an original member of Public Image Limited (PIL), a band John Lydon formed after he left The Sex Pistols. Wobble would only play on the first two PIL albums, at which time he left to pursue a solo career. And what a career he has had since striking out on his own in 1979. He has released over 50 solo albums and worked with such diverse artists as Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Bill Sharpe and Family to name just a few. And his music has always been interesting. Frustrating at times, but always interesting.
This new compilation, brought to you by the wonderful Cherry Red Records, focuses on his post 2000 output. Some may argue that Wobbles’s best material is from the 1980s and 1990s, but this compilation is a strong argument that that is simply not the case. Dark Luminosity
is four CDs worth of outstanding and extremely diverse music from this very talented bass player. As a quick example, “Unquiet Grave”, a song he performs with The Invaders Of The Heart, is not what one expects from Wobble. This is pure folk featuring stunning vocals from Liz Carter. Then out of nowhere comes his idea of elevator music with “Elevator Music 4” and “Elevator Music 9” from an album he originally released in 2004 (Elevator Music Volume 1A) in which he plays all the instruments. It is his version of muzak meeting ambient and it works. Later on the same CD (CD two of the compilation), he moves into what can only be described as electronic surf music (“Looking Up At The Sky Again” from his 2006 album Alpha One Three). A brilliant song, and just three examples of what is featured on this compilation.
The decision was made to arrange the songs chronologically throughout the four CDs. This is a wise decision, as it does show how his music evolved over the years and his excursions and experimentations. It gives a glimpse as to how he continued to grow well into the 2000s and how he was not afraid to dabble in various styles and work with a variety of musicians. For example, working with another famous bassist, Bill Laswell and the folk band Invaders Of The Heart.
There is a lot of music on this set of four CDs. But what Dark Luminosity demonstrates is that Wobble continued and continues to make extremely interesting music. Be it jazz, dub, electronica, folk, ambient or whatever he wants to put his mind and talent to do. It all comes together and works extremely well. Each song and style compliments the next and all the music sits comfortably together, as it should. The main problem with the collection, is might make one want to go out and get each album to hear the whole album from which the song has come. Overall, a wonderful compilation of an artist who has flown under the radar for far too long and whose brilliance should and needs to be recongnized.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: JAH WOBBLE – DARK LUMINOSITY – THE 21st CENTURY COLLECTION