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ON-U SOUND

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.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Silver vinyl with full colour printed inner, in reverse board outer sleeve + download card.

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.

FORMAT INFORMATION

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.


    Earlier this year, ‘Survival & Resistance’ marked Adrian Sherwood’s first solo full-length album in over six years. That album deftly blended melancholy dub psychedelia, lilting synthesizer and string arrangements and Sherwood’s ever-present undercurrent of politicized punk perspective.

    Now following on from there comes ‘Recovery Time’, an EP built from the shattered pieces of ‘Survival & Resistance’, yet reassembled using the relentless bounce of dancehall and primed for the dance. Adapted from compositional elements of album tracks, the material on the EP has been reworked to fit firmly into Adrian’s notoriously banging live and DJ sets.

    Never eschewing the dub innovations that are Sherwood’s trademark, ‘Recovery Time’ refracts them through a prism of club music both old and new, and shreds a few bassbins in the process.


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