Jah Wobble:
30 Hertz Collection (US version)



Running Time: unknown

review by Patrick MacArdle, March 2000 (First published F&F 12)
© 2000 Fodderstompf.com / F&F Publishing

30 Hertz CollectionNot another Wobble CD you say. People complain that the likes of Wobble and Bill Laswell make too many records. Which to my mind is bollox. Either a record is good, or it's not. Whether the person puts out a record every year, or five records a year, shouldn't make any difference.

This is a sample of the recordings Wobble has put out over the last three years on his own 30 Hertz Records label. They've picked one tune from each of the seven full-length 30 Hertz CD's in no obvious order. (I'm not sure where the name 30 Hertz comes from, but it's near the lower frequency limit of human hearing.) But in any case, this collection isn't on 30 Hertz. It's on Meta which is a Bill Laswell-related label in the New York area that seems to specialise in yoga influenced music. Hence the 'trancelike journey through other worlds' sticker on the front of the CD. (Personally, I prefer to just be told what the music is, and decide for myself if it's 'trancelike'.)

But anyone buying this and hoping for background music should keep the receipt. Because it's robust and engaging and hard to ignore. More 'Bitches Brew' than 'Birth of the Cool' in Miles Davis talk. I suppose they put out this compilation so listeners can get an idea of what Wobble and his cohorts have been up to, and hopefully pick up the source CD's. It's also useful for punters in the US who have had trouble finding most 30 Hertz CD's. Up till recently, only 'The Celtic Poets' and 'Umbra Sumus' were easily available at reasonable prices in the US. If you haven't kept up with Wobble, then it's a great place to start, especially if you're not sure whether his classical music will appeal to you. The selection itself gives a good idea of the many formats Wobble has been working in or on. From the improvised trance dub jams with Indian, Celtic and North African elements and wordless vocals, to ambient, to devotional music, to classical Chinese music, to jazz and funk, and beyond. Though it's quite a range, I'd say none of it sounds forced. The tunes are strong and have a lot of personality, and you can hear the commitment of the musicians. No session men here! There's nothing new on it. The pieces are the same as on the original CD's, except for the 'Five Tone Dragon' which they only give you the first seven minutes or so of. I know a lot of us were hoping for a few different mixes.

If you have the seven original CD's there's not much reason to buy it. Unfortunately the Meta people don't have the same quality control as 30 Hertz. They incorrectly spell a lot of the musicians names wrong and list Wobble's website wrong, which is annoying. Too much yoga is not good for you.

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