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Lee Scratch Perry's Vision of Paradise

In his documentary feature Swiss director Volker Schahner visits Lee “Scratch” Perry, the charismatic high priest of dub in his Swiss refuge in 1999.


Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Rocksteady Productions is legendary for Studio One and Black Ark Studio which invented dub and where stellar albums with The Congos (“Heart of the Congos”) and Junion Murvin (“Police and Thieves”) and Max Romer (“War Ina Babylon”) were produced. That was all a long time ago for Lee Perry when the director of LEE SCRATCH PERRY’S VISION OF PARADISE Volker Schaner came along. His collaboration with Bob Marley, who pulled a fast one on him and wooed the Upsetters musicians away from him after Perry newly invented the Wailers as a roots band, and the glorious history of Black Ark Studios is barely mentioned in the film. Perry burned his empire to the ground in 1979 after long periods of paranoia, thereby ending an era in which the most innovative, breathtaking pop music in the world was produced in Jamaica. The influence of Perry’s monumental idea of using the studio mixer as an instrument and making samples out of tape has been confirmed by later collaborators such as Irmin Schmidt (Can), Adrian Sherwood, The Orb, and the Mad Professor. Volker Schaner meets Perry in 1999 in Switzerland, where the Upsetter migrated to after his stay in London. Perry was almost a kind of shaman and his Black Ark Studio was a magical space. Perry’s irresistible blend of poetry, Rasta magic, entertainment, and spontaneous funniness is on full display. The Swiss documentary is aimed at inaugurated reggae and dub fans as it tries to capture the religious, political, and musical vision of the high priest of Dub in an atmospheric way.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland/ Schweiz/ Großbritannien/ Jamaika/ Äthiopien 2015, 100 min
Language: English
Genre: Biography, Documentary, Music Films
Director: Volker Schaner
Author: Volker Schaner
Montage: Volker Schaner
Distributor: Interzone Pictures
Cast: Lee Perry
Release: 24.03.2016


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