ORGAN THING: Four vital slices of African Head Charge

ahc_allfourOrgan Thing of The Day, four heavy slices of seminal music…

Worth mentioning, just in passing, that the mighty beast that was and is African Head Charge are just about to see their first four albums reissued on vinyl. Back there for a while there were very few experiences quite like the giant sound of African Head Charge and their throbbing base lines at Club Dog, both live on the Robey stage or via the decks of Monkey Pilot, and yes, back there they were groundbreaking, exciting, different, they influenced a lot of bands, a lot of people, they got a lot of people moving, they were an important part of the chain of musical evolution, they are important, you could hear what they were doing filtering through the various layers of the underground back there.

On-U Sound kick off 2016 with vinyl re-presses of the first 4 African Head Charge albums. These are much-sought after LPs in the On-U back catalogue and considered to be groundbreaking releases by the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Carl Craig, Optimo, Kode9 and many more.

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MY LIFE IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND – the groundbreaking debut album from 1981. Skeletal dub with hand percussion patterns and breaks on top, augmented by stereo-strafed effects and the occasional burst of Sun Ra-style horns. The result is a unique mixture of traditional African rhythms, dub and free jazz. Features DJ favourite “Stebeni’s Theme” and “Far Away Chant”, used to famously gruesome effect by David Lynch in the film Wild At Heart. More

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ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES – second album from 1982 that saw African Head Charge working manipulated and vari-speeded 1/4 inch tape loops that were re-recorded back to the multi-track, soaked in reverb and delay, and then applied to the performances of the musicians, not to mention extensive use of found sounds and field recordings, hence the title. Features contributions from Bruce Smith (The Pop Group), Style Scott (Roots Radics) and Deadly Headley (The Wailers). More

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DRASTIC SEASON – their third album from 1983. Described by producer Adrian Sherwood as “experiments in active frequencies, out of time noises, rhythms within rhythms, and endless tape edits”. More so than most that make the claim, African Head Charge could truthfully make the assertion at this stage in their career that the music they were making was a genre unto itself, defying categorisation. Loose echoes of traditional African percussion music, field recordings and roots reggae inform the mix, whilst some parts conjure up the stripped-back post-rock of Can or Tortoise.  More

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OFF THE BEATEN TRACK – originally released in 1986, Off The Beaten Track still sounds forward thinking, forging a new middle ground between dub and electronic music. Programmed chants and unexpected sounds (barking dogs, breaking glass, gypsy violin loops) are dropped onto a fluid rhythmic bed. A landmark recording in the integration of sampling technology and live instrumentation. Features contributions from Jah Wobble (Public Image Limited), Skip McDonald (Sugarhill Gang/Tackhead) and Albert Einstein (the theory of relativity)! More

All 4 LPs re-cut at dubplates & mastering in Berlin and include printed inner sleeves with sleevenotes by Steve Barker (On The Wire), plus download card for full album. More from On-U

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