Pachy Garcia is back with a new LP, The Return of Pachyman. The Puerto Rican reggae artist, who now resides in Southern California, performs all of the instruments on the album and produces it as well. As a dub record, it is this mixing and production technique that gives the album its distinctive personality.
Dub may be held at arm’s length by some rock fans due to its lack of vocals and discernible verse-chorus-verse structure, but it has a deeply radical and independent spirit. For one, it was one of the first varieties of Caribbean music that allowed a singular artistic vision to manifest in the form of a record, from the standpoint of the mixing board. Second, the genre is similar to ska and reggae in that it attempts to face a brighter future, by making revolutionary and transportive sounds in the present.
These laboratory sentiments are certainly discernible in the song “Destroy The Empire.” Inspired by Nelson Denis’ book War Against All Puerto Ricans, about the colonization of Puerto Rico, the cool currents of the track seem to be searching for a safer harbor in which to rest the bones of a weary, salt-water seasoned, and determinedly hopeful people.
This heartening drive also gives the wavy, breezy, echo of “Big Energy” its calming curvature and charm as well as “Champion Sound” its decidedly funky alkaline float. The Return of… winds down with a cush-lined adjournment of lapping soul-jazz in the form of “El Benson,” a track that personifies the far-sighted prowess of Pachy, and his ability to see beyond the present structures of degradation and oppression, and read prophesies written in the distance, in the form of the horizon of a new day.
You can buy and stream The Return of Pachyman below via Bandcamp: