One of the most inventive bass players of his generation, Jah Wobble helped to popularise the dub genre. He’s also known for his steely bass patterns, many of them helped to shape the modern-day form of bass performance.
Most recently, he has teamed up with supergroup Telefís to contribute to their blistering ‘Falun Gong Dancer.’ For those who don’t know, Telefís features Microdisney vocalist Cathal Coughlan working beside long time U2 producer, Jacknife Lee.
Although nominally a two-piece, this track is embellished by Wobble’s presence. “Even a relatively obscure musical life such as mine can, fortunately, bring pinch-yourself moments of proximity to greatness, ” Coughlan reveals, “and so it is with Jah Wobble’s transformative contribution to this version of “Falun Gong Dancer”. The song was already a high-point of the first Telefís album, but in this version, it goes somewhere else entirely, thanks to the Public Image Ltd icon’s signature contribution”
Lee is similarly complimentary: “There are few bass players as iconic as Jah Wobble. I have studied and tried to copy his style for decades but never really got close. Brian from Dimple Discs suggested we ask him to get on ‘Falun Gong Dancer’ but I didn’t believe it would happen. We are still shocked that he agreed to collaborate with us and are excited for it to be heard.”
The track, heard below, is a shimmering piece of pop. Laced in hypnotic energy, the song is steeped in Irish history. In an interview with Penny Black Music, Coughlan discussed some of the musical influences that cements their work: “I know Jacknife is very influenced by modern African music. He collaborated with a couple of really interesting African artists on his solo album last year, and he’s just done a collaboration album with Rokia Koné, so I know he approaches African music from a modern angle. He does not approach it as exotica, so that probably seeps into the grooves of [album tracks] ‘Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics’ and ‘Ballytransnational’.”
As evinced on the track, the vocals take their time to kick in, but when they do, Coughlan narrates a fable of lost memories in a sea of changing conversations. Embodying the icy atmosphere, the production focuses on the plodding, polished backdrop, culminating in a work that is cerebral in design, yet hummable in chorus.
Listen to Telefís’ collaboration with Jah Wobble on ‘Falun Gong Dancer‘ below.