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African Head Charge

Voodoo Of The Godsent

    A fresh slew of African Head Charge lands for 2020! This 2011 LP from the massive was never available on vinyl when it was first released. Master percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah joins forces once again with dubmaster Adrian Sherwood at the controls and a whole host of guest musicians, including contributions from dancehall pioneer Jazzwad and electronics from Adamski. All the elements of a classic African Head Charge album are present: spaced out dub, tribal chants, ecstatic trance, but updated with a rugged sound system undercarriage. Arguably some of the hardest hitting AHC rhythms laid down in the studio to date. Cut as a double LP for maximum dynamics by King Kevin Metcalfe. Includes download card for full contents and double-sided poster insert containing new interview with Bonjo on the making of the record.


    Matt says: A new set of later recorded African Head Charge albums has just landed. Be sure to check 'em out if you're into all corners of the bass spectrum as Adrian Sherwood is one of the leaders of the pack.

    African Head Charge

    Churchical Chant Of The Lyabinghi

      A unique album of outtakes from the classic Songs Of Praise and In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land albums, compiled by On-U archivist Patrick Dokter from the original tapes and expertly sequenced to work as an immersive listening experience. A companion piece to the acclaimed Return Of The Crocodile set from 2016 that took the listener on a version excursion through the early years of the group. These are the dubbier and more out-there experiments mixed down whilst Adrian Sherwood was shaping the sound of the albums. Bubbling percussion lines skitter across the stereo spectrum, ghostly voices echo inside the machine and mangled guitar riffs beam down from Mars, whilst staying rooted in the tough tribal rhythms that form the bedrock of the AHC sound, this is music for the head and feet, take heed!  Mastered by King Kevin Metcalfe, comes with download card for full contents plus double-sided poster insert containing an extensive new interview with African Head Charge mainman Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah telling the story of his early life. 

      African Head Charge

      Drumming Is A Language 1990 - 2011

        A companion set to the acclaimed Environmental Holes & Drastic Tracks set issued in 2016 that anthologised the early years of African Head Charge, this picks up the story in 1990 with what many fans regard as the band’s masterpiece, Songs Of Praise, plus 3 more studio albums, a ton of bonus tracks (including an entire disc of early 90s outtakes) and 36 page booklet. Each disc in an individual reverse board card wallet housed in a high quality outer slipcase. 

        African Head Charge

        Songs Of Praise

          Originally issued in 1990 and considered by most fans to be AHC’s masterpiece. Religious chants set to an African dub backdrop of layered hand percussion, with a mighty sonic and great musicianship places the record in a unique place. An outernational classic. For this reissue the album has been expanded to a double LP with all the tracks from the original vinyl release plus bonus tracks previously only available on CD. Includes a download card for the full audio plus double-sided poster insert with excerpts from a new interview with band leader Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah.


          Matt says: Yes there's plenty of get stuck into with AHC, but if you insist on only one - then make this one it! The quintessential set from the pioneering transcendental dub wizards! Every home deserves one...

          African Head Charge

          In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land

            Originally issued in 1993 and the last African Head Charge album on On-U Sound for 12 years, released at the height of the band’s popularity as a staple of live music festivals. Continuing the skillful fusion of styles they had explored on “Songs Of Praise”, this album added elements of trance and electronica to their trademark percussion-heavy sound. This expanded reissue adds 8 bonus tracks to the original vinyl edition, including 2 that have never been released before. Includes a download card for the full audio plus a double-sided poster insert with excerpts from a new interview with band leader Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah.

            African Head Charge

            Vision Of A Psychedelic Africa

              The first album African Head Charge made for On-U since 1993, this 2005 set was a triumphant return that saw longtime collaborators Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and Adrian Sherwood reunited in the studio once more, the album title referring to the project’s original mission statement (nicked from Brian Eno!). This album is African Head Charge at their very best, rich in varied percussion and spiritual chants, set over hypnotic and transcendent layers of African rhythms, trippy and bubbling dubbed-out effects, and trademark pounding bass. This is the first time the album has been released n vinyl. Cut over 4 sides for maximum dynamics by King Kevin Metcalfe. Includes double-sided poster insert featuring a new interview with Bonjo, download card for full contents and two bonus tracks.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Matt says: More from the post-millennial incarnations of the African Head Charge catalogue. This is a particularly third-eye-opening set, rich in spirituality and oneness with Eart'.

              A dub companion to the critically-acclaimed "Rainford" album that sees the Upsetter and co-producer Adrian Sherwood radically re-version the original tapes with a host of guest musicians including Brian Eno and Vin Gordon.

              If "Rainford" is 2019’s "Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Corn Bread" then "Heavy Rain" is it’s "Super Ape".

              As well as highlighting the deft musicianship of the original backing band on the "Rainford" sessions (which include core On-U luminaries from Creation Rebel, Tackhead and Dub Syndicate) these re-works also invite some further players into the cosmic mix. Brian Eno makes an unexpected right channel entry into “Here Come The Warm Dreads”, a heavily processed sound system overhaul of Rainford highlight “Makumba Rock”, cheekily re-titled as a nod to Eno’s own debut solo album. This completes a circle started in 1981 with African Head Charge’s My Life In A Hole In The Ground similarly referencing the contemporary collaboration between Eno and David Byrne, and their “vision of a psychedelic Africa”.

              Elsewhere, legendary trombonist Vin Gordon (one of the hornsmen on Bob Marley & The Wailers Exodus amongst many other classic sides) lends his distinctively woozy blowing to tracks such as “Rattling Bones And Crowns” (a late night flipside to “Kill Them Dreams Money Worshippers”) and “Crickets In Moonlight” (“Cricket In The Moon” refracted through some beautifully louche late summer heat haze lens). On the closest the album has to a title track, “Heavy Rainford” strips back the narrative from “Autobiography Of The Upsetter” to ride the rhythm with all sorts of mixing desk tricks, anchored by the killer “I Am The Upsetter” hook from LSK.

              It’s important to note that it’s not all Rainford re-works though: “Dreams Come True” and “Above And Beyond” are Scratch and Sherwood originals, heard here for the first time and equally strong material for this purple patch in the career of an unstoppable Jamaican maverick and true musical pioneer.


              CD Info: Jewel case with 4 panel booklet.

              The mighty Upsetter returns with 9 brand new tracks recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Adrian Sherwood at the controls. 'It's the most intimate album Lee has ever made, but at the same time the musical ideas are very fresh. I'm extremely proud of what we've come up as a piece of work'. - Sherwood

              This new set is the culmination of over two years work and recording sessions that span Jamaica, Brazil and the UK. Determined to craft a work of lasting power, Sherwood likens to the album to the work that Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash on the American Recordings series, a deeply personal work (the album title refers to Lee’s birth name) and arguably the strongest batch of original material that Perry has released for many years.

              From the atmospheric field recording and wah-wah guitar of album opener “Cricket On The Moon”, to the gothic cello embellishment on “Let It Rain”, the chopped-and-compressed horn section of “Makumba Rock”, to the layered, carefully arranged backing vocals like a heavenly chorus throughout the record, this is an album with true love, care and attention poured into it’s every groove. It culminates in the truly extraordinary “Autobiography Of The Upsetter”, in which Scratch narrates the story of his life from growing up on a plantation in 1930s colonial Jamaica to becoming a worldwide musical superstar.

              The story of Lee Perry and Adrian Sherwood collaborating stretches back to the mid-1980s, and a fortuitous meeting brokered by underground broadcasting legend Steve Barker between the dub innovator and UK upstart. This led to the creation of On-U classics such as "Time Boom X De Devil Dead" and "The Mighty Upsetter", as well as Lee gracing Dub Syndicate records with some vital vocal injections.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Matt says: A nice, autobiographical styled set by these two reggae legends. Telling a story of Scratch's life whilst demonstrating the varying facets of Sherwoods ingenius production.

              This 18 track showcase of new Adrian Sherwood productions is the long-awaited latest installment in the legendary On-U sampler series that first emerged in 1984. It features previews of several forthcoming On-U releases, unique mixes, deep cuts and unreleased tracks from Roots Manuva, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Coldcut, Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band), Mark Stewart, Horace Andy and more. In the classic tradition of the series the tracks are stitched together with a number of special pirate radio style segue ways, making for a unique journey through the modern world of On-U Sound.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Matt says: Long established experimental dub series Pay It All Back reaches a modest 7th volume landmark. Keeping the quality control high throughout the series, Adrian Sherwood presents the best of the modern dub underground.


              2xLP Info: Double LP in colour printed 5mm kraft board sleeve with 12" x 12" 8 page booklet.

              2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

              Singers & Players

              Staggering Heights

                Rated by many to be the pinnacle in their catalogue, this third album from 1983 saw the reggae collective Singers & Players really hitting their stride.

                On microphone duties, Prince Far I and Bim Sherman are joined by Mikey Dread (fresh from his work with The Clash) and Ashanti Roy (The Congos) for a truly heavyweight line-up.

                Voicing killer rhythms laid down by members of the Dub Syndicate and Roots Radics, this is a landmark recording in the mutated UK version of dub.

                Contains the classic On-U tracks ‘Bedward The Flying Preacher’ and ‘Snipers In The Streets’.

                Re-cut at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin. Includes a fold-out 24” x 12” poster insert and digital download card.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: One of many fantastic albums produced by On-U Sound. Worth buying for "Bedward The flying Preacher" alone!

                • Follow-up to the much-loved first volume that compiled 79 – 84 productions and remixes by the legendary Adrian Sherwood; this second instalment charts a path through electro, industrial, noise, hip-hop, afrobeat and dub.
                • Includes 5 completely unreleased tracks, and 4 that have never been heard since their original vinyl release.
                • Features Lee Perry, Ministry, Tackhead, and KMFDM
                • Extensive sleevenotes that tell the story of each track alongside archival photos, label scans and more.

                After blowing minds and speakers all over the show with the first volume of 'Sherwood At The Controls' (a total shop favourite), On-U Sound founder Adrian Sherwood returns with the second instalment of the critically acclaimed series. Picking up where volume one left off, this double vinyl set charts Sherwood's path through electro, industrial, noise, hip hop, afrobeat and dub. As experimental and innovative as ever, this late eighties period saw the artist and producer work his magic on everyone from Tackhead to Ministry, The Unknown Cases to Lee Perry, blending dub sonics with futuristic synths and unorthodox drum sounds. Boasting five completely unreleased tracks, and four cuts out of circulation since their original vinyl release, this is an essential addition to any On-U collection, and details a fertile period from one of music's true sonic innovators.

                Adrian Sherwood is an artist, producer and founder of the cult On-U Sound label. Much-loved by other musicians, as well as pioneering his own unique take on dub reggae, he’s also worked with everyone from The Slits to Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode to The Fall, Blur to Einstürzende Neubauten. Still very active in the studio and as a touring artist, he has recently released a collaborative album with Bristol dubstep don Pinch, remixed Peaking Lights, and produced albums by Roots Manuva, Nisennenmondai and Coldcut.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: This second instalment of Sherwood gems moves away from the spacey dub of the last comp., exploring new sonic territories with his productions and mixes of late 80s industrial, noise, hip-hop, afrobeat and electro. I remember hearing the 12" mix of Mark Stewart's 'Hypnotised' when it was released and it blew me away. It sounded like nothing else I'd heard before and it still sounds amazing today.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Singers & Players

                Revenge Of The Underdog

                The second album by the loose On-U Sound collective, originally released in 1982. Featuring Prince Far I, Bim Sherman, Jah Woosh, plus members of The Roots Radics, The Slits and Glaxo Babies.

                Heavy dread vibes, earthquaking dub and classic deejay chatter, recorded in the flash, heat and studio experimentation of post-punk London.

                “There really is not a single weak track here. Sherwood spins his glistening web of intrusive, hyperactive magic, a production approach that would never work for anyone else but almost always does for him. No reggae collection should be without this one.” - All Music

                Re-cut at dubplates & mastering in Berlin for maximum bass pressure. Includes a 24” x 12” fold-out poster insert and digital download card.

                A curated selection of classics, rarities and unreleased tracks from the On-U Sound vaults by DJ and audio visual artist Trevor Jackson (aka Playgroup / Underdog), renowned for his 'Metal Dance' compilations of industrial-dance on Strut Records, having worked with the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Four Tet via his Output Recordings Label, and a recently released acclaimed multi edition album of his own music ('F O R M A T') via the Vinyl Factory.

                This is the electro-fried avant-garde side of On-U Sound. Whilst still containing the dub DNA that define Adrian Sherwood’s productions, these tracks document a period when this sonic vision was realised through saturated sheets of electronics, reverberating drum machines and extreme chopped-up tape edits. Joining the dots between post-punk, dub, hip hop, electro and industrial, the compilation is a vital snapshot of musical soundscapes from the alternative dancefloor.

                A longtime fan of the label, Trevor comments: “Not only did On-U sound and Adrian Sherwood's early production work introduce me to dimensions of sound I’d never experienced, inspire me to start making music and start my own record label, his live mixing at a notoriously loud Mark Stewart and the Maffia gig during the mid-80’s also gave me lifelong tinnitus. On-U’s timeless releases portray a savage disregard for conformity, representative of an era where attitude and ethos spoke volumes. An uncontrived mix of cultures, minds and powerful personalities combined to produce revolutionary sonic adventures that sound as unique and vital today as they did over 30 years ago. Putting this compilation together is nothing short of an honour.”

                Available on as a 2CD / 27-track set, or a 3LP edition that has 20 tracks on the vinyl plus the additional 7 tracks from the CD as part of the download card.

                Fully annotated with sleevenotes that tell the story behind each track. Features 3 completely unreleased tracks (inc. a crucial early cut by Neneh Cherry) and 6 tracks that have never been reissued on CD (inc. the amazing debut recording by a pre-Massive Attack Shara Nelson).

                Originally released on legendary imprint 99 Records in 1981, ‘War Of Words’ is the classic debut album by Singers & Players, a loose collective featuring top Jamaican deejays Prince Far I and Jah Woosh, plus members of The Arabs and Roots Radics. The mic is dominated on this record by the sweet vocals of cover star Bim Sherman.

                Whilst very much based on a dub reggae blueprint, the record also features Keith Levene from Public Image Limited on guitar and Ari Up from The Slits on backing vocals.

                Kingston sound system culture as viewed through the prism of the London post-punk squat scene and championed by the quintessential downtown NYC no wave record label.

                The track ‘Reaching The Bad Man’ was a highlight of the recent compilation ‘Sherwood At The Controls Volume One: 1979 – 1984’ and is very much a product of that era of Adrian Sherwood’s leftfield experiments with the possibilities of dub.

                Re-cut at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin for maximum bass pressure. Includes a fold-out poster insert and download card.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Martin says: The early eighties saw punk/reggae flirtation mature into the occasional snog, one vehicle for which was Onu-Sound. Singers And Players featured one time Clash and Public Image guitarist Keith Levine and Slits vocalist Ari Up, injecting spiky urgency and edginess into the majestic vocal and rhythm talents of veteran JA scenesters Bim Sherman, Prince Far I, Jah Woosh and Roots Radics for a spacious, beautiful and unsettling result.

                A compilation of early tracks produced or remixed by the legendary Adrian Sherwood, head of the pioneering On-U Sound record label. It’s an eclectic blend of post-punk, mutant disco, reggae, dub, funk and electro and features the likes of The Slits, Prince Far I, The Fall and Mark Stewart. The set includes 6 tracks that have never been reissued in any format, and 2 completely unreleased tracks from the On-U vaults. Extensive sleeve notes that tell the story of each track alongside photos and more.

                Adrian Sherwood is a name most commonly associated with dub reggae, particularly his own leftfield version of the sound that he developed over the 80s and 90s, having been mentored by the likes of Prince Far I, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Dennis Bovell. This compilation, however, seeks to highlight another side of his musical story: in his capacity as a DJ and live sound engineer Sherwood also connected with the likes of the Clash and Public Image Limited, making links between punk-funk (the Pop Group , Medium Medium , Maximum Joy, Shriekback), post-punk (the Slits, the Fall, Annie Anxiety) and dub / reggae (Prince Far I, Singers & Players, African Head Charge). The cross-fertilisation of the era really shines through here (for ‘Private Armies’ Vivien Goldman assembled a group that included members of PIL, the Raincoats, Aswad, Flying Lizards, along with Robert Wyatt), which worked perfectly with Sherwood’s dubwise approach to versioning tracks with a desire to experiment in the studio and push musical boundaries.

                This is the first release in an extensive On-U Sound reissue campaign that will be coming out over the next few years.

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