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Sunday 10 December 2023

Forty Minutes Of Adrian Sherwood

Adrian Sherwood's career in music dates back more than four decades. You can dip into it at point since he started producing, mixing and making records in the early 80s and not be disappointed- there is no weak spot, no off period, no loss of quality; everything he touches is worth hearing and much of it is music of the very highest calibre. Various people have spoken about watching him in the studio, using the mixing desk as an instrument, throwing sound around the channels, pushing faders up and down, his use of echo and space and reverb creating music from somewhere else, inspired by Jamaican dub but identifiably British too. Through his label On U Sound he has released hundreds of records, Sherwood's golden touch for sound, space and rhythm all over many of them, a man with a sound that is always moving forward, always modern. As with The Fall a few Sundays ago, I could sit down a do another two or three Sherwood mixes without any bother at all- what is in this mix is just a selection of Sherwood recordings, productions and remixes. 

Forty Minutes Of Adrian Sherwood

  • Whirlpool Dub
  • Nocturne (Adrian Sherwood Remix)
  • Acid Tabla (Adrian Sherwood Remix)
  • I'm A Winner
  • Dub For The Spirits
  • Haunting Ground Dub
  • Ju- 87
  • Long As I Can See The Light (Adrian Sherwood's Dub Lightning)
  • Bless Those
  • The Way Of The World

Whirlpool Dub is from this year's Reset In Dub, Adrian's reworking in dub style of the entire Reset album, released by Sonic Boom and Panda Bear in 2021. It is one of this year's best albums. The vinyl arrived this week, a December dub treat. 

Mark Lanegan has never sounded darker or more doomy than in Adrian's hands (and that's saying something. Mark made a career out of dark and doomy). This remix came out in 2017 on a Mark Lanegan mini album, Still Life With Roses (Gargoyles Remixes) along with remixes of Beehive by Andrew Weatherall. 

Suns Of Arqa's Acid Tabla EP came out in 2016, produced by Sherwood and Wadada with the late Style Scott on drums (of Dub Syndicate). The bassline, tabla and rocking rhythms are all spot on. The original version of Acid Tabla was on Suns Of Arqa's 1980 album Revenge Of The Mozambites, Adrian credited as Adran Riddims.  

I'm A Winner is one of the standouts on this year's Africa Head Charge album A Trip To Bolgatanga, an album where Adrian and Bonjo shift the African Head Charge sound yet again. When they set out with AHC back in 1980 the idea was create 'a vision of a psychedelic Africa'. They made several definitive albums between 1980 and 1990, dub, sound FX, samples and African drums fused in a mystical sound. In 1990 they released their pinnacle, the mighty Songs Of Praise. In 2020 an album of extras including unreleased tracks from Songs Of Praise came out including Dub For The Spirits.

Bim Sherman became one of the key figures of the On U Sound collective, a man with a golden voice. Haunting Ground was on 1986's album of the same name, an album which featured Dub Syndicate and Roots Radics. The dub mix coming out on one of the pair of CD compilations titled Sherwood At The Controls. Bim died of cancer in 2000. His 1996 album Miracle is one of the lost gems of the 90s, songs from his back catalogue given a Bollywood makeover, re- recorded with Indian strings and Talvin Singh's percussion. 

Adrian dubbed out Primal Scream's entire Vanishing Point album, released as Echo Dek on Creation in 1997. Ju- 87 is a dub version of Stuka, a fairly uncompromising track in its original form. Adrian adds doorbells, and pulls rattling echo, deep bass, ricocheting bleeps and a scuzzy, screwed up dub to the fore. 

Long As I Can See The Light was a 1998 single by Monkey Mafia, released on Heavenly, a cover of a 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival song. Monkey Mafia's cover is a lovely late night, downtempo cover. Adrian bends it into a new space. 

Bless Those is from Pay It All Back Vol. 4, released in 1993. Pay It All Back is a long running series of compilations/ samplers dating back to 1985. Little Annie has been part of the On U family since the early 90s, with David Harrow, Doug Wimbish and Skip McDonald all contributing music to Annie's vocals. A dense sound, distorted horns and dub FX.  

The Way Of The World is by LSK and Sherwood, a track on Pay It All Back Vol. 7 from 2019. LSK is British singer/MC Leigh Stephen Kenny, born in Kent and now in Leeds. This track is a suitably dubbed out way to close this mix, two and a half minutes of digital dub, noise and samples, unease and LSK's honeyed vocal.