The second album by Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart continued the bassist's exploration into ethnic fusion, merging together music from different world traditions with pop production and his own dub-influenced bass guitar. Fans of Wobble's earlier work with Holgar Czukay and Public Image Limited might be surprised and a bit dismayed at first by the glossy production and pop nature of some of the tracks here; one would never have guessed that Wobble would come up with something as commercial as the Latin pop of "Ungodly Kingdom." However, much of the music is remarkable and on each listen seems to contain something new. Wobble is far more interested in experimentation than simply adding world sounds to pop music. The tracks with Middle Eastern influences, including the amazing "Everyman's an Island," are quite remarkable and most feature the fine talents of Natasha Atlas. Meanwhile, the trance-like opener, "Visions of You," which guests Sinéad O'Connor on vocals, is absolutely beautiful. On the title track, Wobble even returns to his past, with he and guitarist Justin Adams bringing the sound of early PiL forward ten years.
Spirals , the slow reveal, cyclical but eventually coming to a point . ‘Realm of Spells ‘ is for me the point . Maybe the last time I will get to work with Bill. For me personally, this record embodies and contains a lot of the basic approach I had right from the beginning , especially in regard to playing the bass. The circumstances of our trip led to me using a Fender P bass for the first time in years. All the early PiL stuff plus Full circle ⭕️ with Holger and Jaki was played on Fender P. I was taken back to that beautiful naive beginning . At that juncture some pristine mathematical truth shot like a ray of vajra light from deep space .
The strange, spiritual album that is Umbra Sumus is one of the more interesting items released in 1998. Bassist and composer Jah Wobble creates strangely compelling soundscapes that draw textures from a variety of ethnic traditions without explicitly evoking any one of them. The first cut, "Il Jevedro il Oblanco," sets the pace with a duet for what sounds like a toy music box and fuzz bass, but suddenly becomes a lush electronica-pop track as vocalist Amila Sulejmanovic begins singing in Bosnian. Elsewhere, Natacha Atlas croons in Arabic over a texture not of ouds and doumbeks, but of synthesized percussion, keyboards, and Wobble's own throbbing bass, and it sounds perfectly natural.
Taking as their inspiration the Greek myth of Orpheus, European improv king Evan Parker (tenor and soprano saxophone) and Invaders of the Heart alumni Clive Bell and Jean-Pierre Rasle invest in a series of stark, repetitive bass and drum structures on Passage to Hades. At the music's core is the rhythm axis of Jah Wobble and Mark Sanders. The duo maps out the territory, delivering all that's required and more through minimal means. It's a refreshing change of scenery for Parker, who's normally heard in avant-garde ensembles or blazing solo performances. Here, he's confined to a stark, muscular groove and he responds beautifully. Like the later recordings by John Coltrane (an early influence), the saxophonist unleashes an abundance of dialog on his instruments, though he never quite reaches the torrents of sound one might expect.
LIMITED EDITION : (5CD+DVD) 2018 retrospective of the Can co-founder's solo works with bonus DVD "Krieg Der Töne" (War Of The Sounds) a late-'80s experimental film that he scored & starred in. Also includes booklet with unseen photos & a biography.
A five-disc boxset surveying the career of Krautrock icon and Can cofounder Holger Czukay is due out in March on Grönland Records.