Nearing 60 and cooler than Skrillex will ever be, U.K. dubmaster extraordinaire Mad Professor brings his “Roots of Dubstep Tour” to The City next week.
In the game since the 1980s, when he started as a recording engineer, the U.K. based-disciple of Lee “Scratch” Perry will mix a dubbed-out set Sunday upstairs at Elbo Room using master-tape copies from his legendary Ariwa studios processed through reverb, echo, phasers, mixers and all manner of effects.
“No vinyl, no record, no CD player,” Mad Professor emphasizes, on the phone from a tour stop — one of 14 in the U.S. — in Washington, D.C. “I bring a miniature version of the Ariwa studio and hook it up onstage,” he adds in his cool Guyanese-English accent.
Sunday night will involve a lot of samples from his new LP, “A Ruff Guide to Ariwa,” an album that spans the decades at Ariwa studios, along with some new stuff by the likes of Perry, Sister Audrey, Pato Banton and General Levy.
The vibe at Elbo Room will depend on the crowd, says the prolific professor — aka Neil Joseph Stephen Fraser.
“It varies. Last night we played with some guys, The Orb, and it was a more techno-pop audience — totally different from the audience we had in Boston which was more of a roots-reggae crowd.”
Fraser brings his “Roots of Dubstep Tour” to the U.S. two years after he released an album of the same name because he still wants to “get history straight,” he says.
“There’s a lot of young kids that know dubstep more than they know dub — to the point people start thinking that dub is a part of dubstep, or derivative. The guy that is the biggest instigator of dub is King Tubby, out of Jamaica in the early ’70s. … Some people don’t even think that ska came from Jamaica. Their first introduction to ska is second-generation ska that came out of Birmingham. They totally missed out on ska from Jamaica. We’re in danger of that happening to dub. So I thought, ‘I have to at least get it down on record that the roots of dubstep is dub.’”
IF YOU GO
Where: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $15 to $20
Contact: (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com
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