Y2K

On U Sound have a long tradition of budget priced label samplers, a series called Pay It All Back, dating back to 1984. In March 2019 they released Volume 7, eighteen tracks from recent years with Adrian Sherwood at the controls including some previously unreleased tracks and some alternate mixes. It’s a fantastic record with heavy dub, roots and reggae vibes from Lee Perry, Roots Manuva, Horace Andy, Denise Sherwood, Mark Stewart, LSK, Congo Natty, African Head Charge, Little Axe and loads more. This one is the one that caught my ear when I was playing it recently.

A’- Live In Dub

Fast, heavy rhythm, crashing noises, strings being stretched and bent, distortion, cymbals echoing and bouncing round, rim shots- five minutes of exhilarating, motorik, dubwise chaos. The group is Nisennenmondai which meant nothing to me at first. On digging a little deeper I discovered they are a Japanese trio, three women, formed in Tokyo in 1999 and named after the Japanese word for Y2K millennium bug.

There’s Something Wrong With Human Nature

A record purchase made on a whim and a coincidental sequence of posts on social media have sent me down a rabbit warren of On U Sound recently. The record purchase was On U Sound’s Pay It All back Volume 7, a budget price double album of recent releases from Adrian Sherwood’s dub stable. Not long after someone posted Human Nature, the 1991 single by Gary Clail, produced by Sherwood, a massive club and chart hit in 91 and inescapable for a while.  Weirdly I do not own Human Nature in any format- vinyl, cassette, CD or mp3. I have plenty of On U Sound, several mp3s of Gary Clail tracks and Beef on 7″ but no Human Nature. Here’s the video.

 

Clail’s impassioned vocal over the dub/ indie- dance rhythm track and that keyboard riff, the piano part and Lana Pellay’s ‘let the carnival begin…’ chorus are all obvious highlights, much of the music being David Harrow’s musical handiwork (the keyboard riff, as I’m sure you all know, was used on the titles Snub TV, the much loved BBC 2 music programme). This being 1991 there were remixes and the Steve Osbourne Perfecto mix is a banger.

Originally the song included a Reverend Billy Graham vocal sample which couldn’t be cleared for release and Clail recorded the part it himself. Some promo copies of the single made it into record shops though. You can hear it here courtesy of blogging legend stx.

In 1989 Gary Clail released an album called End Of The Century Party produced by Sherwood and  featuring an all star cast- members of Tackhead, David Harrow, Bim Sherman, Jah Wobble and Keith Levene. This one is a dubby affair with Bim on vox alongside Clail and is infectious like flu.

Two Thieves And A Liar

 

Strike The Balance

Some On U Sound heaviness for Friday, from 1989’s Dub Syndicate album Strike The Balance, a masterpiece of late 80s Sherwood dub production. This song is proper rootsy dub, all bass and echo and delay with Bim Sherman singing and a freaked out metallic Dalek vocal running through it. Towards the end some woodwind floats over the top. The rest of the album rocks too, the chanting of Hey Ho, a cover of Je T’Aime with Shara Nelson and closer I’m The Man For You Baby. Like most of Adrian Sherwood’s back catalogue, it is worth shelling out for.

Mafia

Money Dealers

Let’s end the week with some dub, a previously unreleased track from On-U Sound about to be part of a Dub Syndicate vinyl re-issue set (first four albums) and a cd anthology box (Ambience Dub 1982-1985). This is a heavy duty, wandering slice of Sherwood dub with Bim Sherman’s vocals floating above the rhythms. Echo, reverb, hisses, wobbles, sounds dropping in and out. FRiday has come and it’s not a second too soon.

Ravi

Here’s some spacey Adrian Sherwood dub from 1984 for your Sunday, making use of some Indian vibes and lashings of echo.

I had a longer post in mind but when it came to writing not much came out.

Ravi Shankar Pt 1

Haunting Ground

This 1986 dub production by Adrian Sherwood for singer Bim Sherman is super heavy with Bim’s vocals floating over the rhythms and FX. Sherwood At The Controls vol. 2 is out now, a second compilation of Sherwood productions, this one from the second half of the 80s. It includes the industrial hip hop of Tackhead and the industrial noise of KMFDM and Ministry before settling on a run of dub tracks towards the end- Bim Sherman, African Head Charge et al. If you only buy one compilation this month etc.

Haunting Ground  Dub

Acid Tabla

I reckon you could post daily about Adrian Sherwood for a year and not run out of interesting songs. This mix of Acid Tabla by Suns Of Arqa came out in February this year, a dubbed out Sherwood version and will cost you £1 from Bandcamp. Suns Of Arqa have been the vehicle for the pioneering musical adventures of Michael Wadada since 1979, since when he’s played with a couple of hundred musicians in the studio and live.

There’s also this hour long mix done for Carharrt Radio this month for your delectation, full of music from the back catalogues and unreleased goodies from the likes of Roots Manuva, Dub Syndicate, Congo Natty, Coldcut and Junior Delgado.

Ghetto Priest – Slave State (feat. Junior Delgado) [from forthcoming album “Slave State”]
Mark Stewart – Awidk [unreleased]
Nisennenmondai – 3 [from the newly released album “#N/A”]
Ital Horns with Dub Syndicate – Metropolis [from unreleased album “Blow The Man Down”]
Cha Cha – Dub No Frontiers (Excerpt) [unreleased]
Roots Manuva – Hit It (Alternative Version) [from current album “Bleeds”]
Dub Syndicate – Wadada (feat. Prince Far I) [from the 1991 album “Stoned Immaculate”]
Congo Natty – UK Allstars In Dub (Adrian Sherwood Remix) [from current album “Jungle Revolution In Dub”]
Coldcut/Adrian Sherwood feat. Junior Reid, Elan & Lee Perry [forthcoming project] – Divide And Rule
L.S.K. – Way Of The World [unreleased]
Denise Sherwood – Ghost Heart [unreleased]
Junior Delgado – None Shall Escape [unreleased classic version on “Masters of Deception” rhythm]
Missing Brazilians – Quicksand Beach Party [1981 original from the album “Warzone” reissue and also available on the Trevor Jackson compiled “Science Fiction Dancehall Classics”
Adrian Sherwood – Starship Bahia [from the album “Survival and Resistance”]