Sunday, September 27, 2009

African Head Charge - Off The Beaten Track * (Re-up Request)

African Head Charge - Off The Beaten Track
Label - On-U Sound
Recorded - 1986
Style - Electronic, Dub, Reggae, Lee Library, World Music
Additional Musicians - Skip McDonald, Jah Wobble

(review by Steve Barker)
Off The Beaten Track

In the intervening years between the 1986 release of “Off The Beaten Track” and its immediate predecessor 1983’s “Drastic Season”, African Head Charge had been moulded into a live blood-pumping band by its main man Bonjo lyabinghi Noah, who had truly come out of the shadows where percussion usually resides, fuelled by a righteous desire to occupy that front-of-stage position. Also during that time producer Adrian Sherwood had volunteered to be fed through the funk-mangle by Messrs.

(Skip) McDonald, (Doug) Wimbish and (Keith) Le Blanc, had come out the other end more disciplined and focused on what fresh sounds might be possibly created through the blatant use and abuse of state of the art technology, where he had previously generated samples as a “captured sound” by-product of the studio hardware or bled all over the old Studer decks as a result of a thousand razored edits. The result of this “great leap forward” was the fourth actual, but first “modern”, African Head Charge album – “Off The Beaten Track” – which sounded like nothing else around at the time, and whose combination of fat beats and ethnic chants was to provide the template, which many lesser lights were to attempt to emulate over the ensuing years.

Compared to previous efforts the "new" AHC rhythms were less abstract and more direct, with continuous and flowing percussion lines and more managed tempo shifts. The application of loops and samples of increased time duration made all the difference when combined with the more fluid and confident approach of the musicians involved in the build of the tracks. Sherwood shows up once more under his by now redundant guise as "The Prisoner". Skip McDonald makes an early non-funk entry and the reappearance of Jah Wobble makes clear his creative commitment to his old friends at On-U. But most remarkably, and making his debut as a recording artist, is the twentieth centuries most radical scientist - the super-cool Albert Einstein, laying down a sweet rap with the most conscious of lyrics in "Language And Mentality". Of course, Albert was in the studio in spirit only and the exercise, to my knowledge, has never been repeated.

The title “Off The Beaten Track” was not just an example of a great piece of wordplay, but also incredibly apt as the music was not only a departure for On-U Sound, but also a landmark album for what was to become the whole new ethno-beat strand within the commercial category of what we now know as “World Music”. – Steve Barker

1 Off The Beaten Track (5:02)
2 Some Bizarre (5:05)
3 Belinda (3:40)
4 Language & Mentality (4:22)
5 Throw It Away (3:35)
6 Conspiring (4:38)
7 Release The Doctor (3:32)
8 Down Under Again (3:05)
9 Over The Sky (3:15)


**Pretty cool re-up request, even though the requester was 'anonymous'... usually anonymous requests are prioritized least @ ICOOYS - but interesting, unpredictable or bizarre requests trump blogger anonymity. So - hope you enjoy!**

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Aphex Twin - Untitled [Live @ NASA Tour/SF 1993]

Just as I said in comment form on the original Youtube user's page, RARE AS FUCK. Read post below for reference....

Orbital - Live in Birmingham [1993]

Orbital - Live in Birmingham [1993]

*** Recorded just a few months before NYC rave promoters NASA launched the curious See The Light Tour stateside - featuring Orbital, Vapourspace, Aphex Twin & Moby. This is significant to the ICOOYS brothaz, since we were lucky enough to catch this weird moment in 'live Electronica enters nacent American rave consciousness via Sketchy rave promoters in the sketchiest parts of a handful of techno-aware cities - for the very first time in US history'.... I'm pretty sure we had some sort of deep brotherly bonding experience; although the 100% definite consumption of LSD blotter on everyone's part throws a wrench in any attempt at total recall w/ perfect clarity :x

I can personally vouche for being blown away on a technical level by the entire production - especially from Aphex T's super-bizarre stage presence; complete with piles of handcrafted analogue devices which he basically hid behind while his female bodybuilder (???) dancers absorbed most of the dumfounded/confused/inebriated audience's attention. The other thing I can clearly recall is the Hartknoll brothers' freaking out behind their own stacks of synths, modules and controllers with no illumination whatsoever (onstage and off) except for those ridiculous caving lamps strapped to their heads. Matching optical antennae donning the Orbital brothers = simply too f*cking weird to ignore.

My brother and I both played the living shit out of the crappy little promotional cassette tape they handed us as we stumbled out of the club at the end of the night... The tape itself was a considerably poor production; lackluster musically, poorly programmed and devoid of any sort of exclusive content one might expect in a ltd. promo recording like that... But it was nevertheless the one single artifact we had in our possession which symbolized the semi-traumatizing exposure to chemicals and rare imported analog/electronic performance from some of the most influential names in Techno. I wouldn't be surprised if Big Brotha ICOOYS still has the fucking tape in his collection somewhere... (tbc?)

1. Orbital - Planet of The Shapes [Live] (6:36)
2. Orbital - Lush 3-1 [Live] (4:53)
3. Orbital - Lush 3-2 [Live] (3:54)
4. Orbital - Lush Euro Tunnel [Live] (1:42)
5. Orbital - Imapct [Part 1] [Live] (4:55)
6. Orbital - Impact [Part 2] [Live] (5:31)
7. Orbital - Remind [Live] (6:41)
8. Orbital - Chime [Live] (7:43)
9. Orbital - Walk Now [Live] (9:30)
10. Orbital - Monday [Live] (8:07)
11. Orbital - Monday [Orchestral] [Live] (0:48)
12. Orbital - The Naked and The Dead [Live] (5:06)
13. Orbital - The Naked and The Dub [Live] (3:00)

(txt c/o The Guardian*UK)
Flashback, July 1993

Paul Hartnoll recalls how one night with Orbital in north London changed the course of dance music ...

If there is one gig that changed everything for Orbital and the culture that grew up around us, it's the first night we played Megadog at the Rocket in north London. Before then, we'd done our thing at raves and in nightclubs, but we'd never played in any kind of rock'n'roll arena. They were used to psychedelic bands like Ozric Tentacles there and that alternative, hippie kind of edge - there were lots of 'crusties', for want of a better word - suited us much more. It wasn't like at clubs like Shoom, where the bouncers would check you out to see if you were suitable - the scene there was completely unpretentious. I was just like one of the punters, dancing around and then 'Oh, we're on in 15 minutes.'

I pressed the button on the big Roland synth and it did a complete Les Dawson, playing all the wrong notes. We had to reset everything to get it right, with 1,500 people waiting, but it eventually went off like a dream and then everyone went mad. It was a kind of crossing of that indie and dance bridge. We were the first dance act the Megadog lot put on but Underworld became regulars there and we went on tour with acts like the Aphex Twin; promoters didn't think you could take electronic dance music round the UK gig circuit, but they were wrong. Within the space of 12 months of that first night, we were headlining Glastonbury.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Active Links

Sorry for the slackness, but a certian Quail.Egg has been ultraslack on posting anything new like he promised (hisssssss!) so here's a list of Dub and Afro joints still active in our RS conservatory: