A slightly rejiggered reissue of the first album Jah Wobble released on his now-defunct 30 Hertz label, The Light Programme is an occasionally rather brilliant mix of trip-hop and '70s-style jazz-pop fusion. Indeed, the opening "Veneer" sounds like Quincy Jones' The Dude given a Massive Attack remix. Despite the implications of the title (playing off the BBC's easy listening show), there's little that's merely pretty and ambient about this album; even the mellowest pieces are underpinned by Wobble's deep-toned, rubbery dub bass and overactive drums. (Jaki Liebezeit of Can adds his familiar rattle to several tracks, most notably the African-influenced interlude "Appearance and Thing in Itself.") The resulting blend of dub, jazz-funk, pop, and trip-hop is a little scattershot at times, and a couple of tunes, particularly the plodding "Magical Thought," overstay their welcome by a couple of minutes, but overall, The Light Programme is a good-to-great mishmash of disparate influences recalling Brian Eno and David Byrne's cross-cultural experiments of the early '80s.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason