Sep 25, 2012

RhoDeo 1239 Roots

Hello, as i checked the Emmys last night it seems to have been a very politically motivated event with Homeland picking up all the big prices ( btw season 2 starts next week) , the Sarah Palin story in "Game Change" and even the other big winner in comedy "Modern Family" can be seen as politically correct, the rest of the attendants got to divide the scraps. Hey Ho

This week another ON U supergroup, African Head Charge, I might add Off The Beaten Track was one of my favourite albums that year (86)

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African Head Charge started life as a studio recording project in 1981 when the percussion talents of Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah combined with the studio wizardry of Adrian Sherwood. The first recordings were initially inspired by Brian Eno.  Eno, having read an interview about his album with David Byrne “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” stated ‘I have the vision of a Psychedelic Africa’. Sherwood, who was spending most nights at the time producing music in a basement studio off Clerkenwell road in London thought ‘hmmm’ …..  He had previously worked with Bonjo from late 1979 with Creation Rebel and Prince Far I doing live shows. Bonjo had also worked in other artists such as Desmond Dekker, “he was like a father to me” says Bonjo, and Freedom Fighters, backing legendary artistes like Dillinger, Trinity and many other touring Jamaican acts.

Bonjo had come to England from a Rasta camp in the hills of Clarendon, Jamaica. From as early as he can remember he studied and played percussion, learning not only Rasta/Nyabinghi drums but also African and Afro Cuban rhythms. He also loved to experiment, which made working with Sherwood perfect….  Bonjo and Sherwood created their interpretation of Enos “vision”. Working with tape loops, manipulated and vari-speeded 1/4 inch tape that was re-recorded back to the multi track tape, reverbs and delays which were then applied to the performances of the musicians. So the seminal and aptly named “My Life In A Hole In The Ground” ” was created. This was released on the then newly formed ON-U sound label.  Three more largely experimental studio albums followed throughout the 80′s…”Environmental Studies”, “Drastic Season” and the more accessible “Off The Beaten Track”.

It was not until the late 1980s that African Head Charge made its first appearance as a live band. This took place at the University of London (ULU) and it was an instantly sold out roadblock of a success. What followed in the next few years gave them semi-legendary status, with performances from Glastonbury and the wonderful Essential music festival, to visits to Australia, New Zealand and Japan – all to great acclaim.  1991 saw the release of an album “Songs Of Praise” recorded at Manor Studio, Oxford. It featured religious chants set to an African dub backdrop of percussion, with a mighty sonic and great musicianship. It was truly a landmark record both for African Head Chargeand ON-U sound. Their 1993 classic album “In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land” was to be the last ON-U produced recording for 12 years.

In 1995 Bonjo left London to start a new life in Ghana, so fulfilling “The dream of every Rastaman to return to Africa”. It was not until 2003 that he made a return visit to London and it was during this time that plans were made to record a new album. The following year saw the creation of “Vision Of A Psychedelic Africa”…full circle you may think, well almost…  Bonjo and Sherwood are both fiercely proud of this work, but after its initial release in Japan in 2005, it’s release in the rest of the world on ON-U SOUND via E.M.I. was held up by the near collapse of that organization and the album only became generally available in 2010.

In 2011, the 30th year of the ON-U SOUND label, feeling there is much more than just a point to prove here, and how important it is that the African Head Charge project be given due respect, their first new release of 2011 will be African Head Charge 's brand new “ Voodoo Of The Godsent” .  Both Bonjo and Sherwood regard this as being the culmination of 30 years of endeavour. A unique, challenging and always original slice of Psychedelic African Dub.

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This album -- which collects select tracks from the group's first two albums, 1981's My Life in a Hole in the Ground and 1982's Environmental Studies -- is more musical than a minimalist album with a heavy reliance on African percussion.   Some of the tunes on Great Vintage Volume 1 are, like Grounation, little more than repetitive, monotonous drums, but most of the tracks here throw at least something in to spice it up.  Sometimes these spices work, sometimes they don't, but at least they try.  Some tracks -- like "Stebeni's Theme" and "Primitive" -- rely heavily on African rhythms, while others -- "Family Doctoring" and "Breeding Space" -- have an Eastern/Asian feel, while others -- "Hole in the Roof" and "Beriberi" -- are more like Western jazz fusion.  For the most part, the unifying element in these disparate styles is the African drum, present in most of the songs.  Although this album is categorized as reggae (well, dub, to be specific), you'll have a hard time defining many of these tunes as such.  Still, there are tracks like "Far Away Chant" that feature reggae elements.  This cut, with its cool warped vocals over African drums and a reggae bass line, is the best on the collection.  But even the not-so-much-like-reggae songs are occasionally enjoyable -- like the funk of "Snakeskin Tracksuit" and "Primal One Drop" or the echoing strings of "Dinosaur's Lament."  Great Vintage Volume 1 pushes the envelope of sound, stretching the definition of dub to intriguing new realms.

African Head Charge - Great Vintage Volume 1 (flac  336mb)

01 Elastic Dance 4:00
02 Family Doctoring 4:21
03 Stebeni's Theme 3:33
04 The Race 3:37
05 Far Away Chant 4:03
06 Primal One Drop 3:31
07 Hole In The Roof 3:11
08 Crocodile Hand Luggage 5:23
09 Dinosaur's Lament 4:46
10 Beriberi 6:12
11 Snakeskin Tracksuit 6:38
12 High Protein Snack 3:49
13 Breeding Space 4:04
14 Primitive 3:39

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This volume -- featuring tracks from African Head Charge's third and fourth albums, 1983's Drastic Season and 1986's Off the Beaten Track -- is less musical than the first.  While neither volume is terribly musical, some of the tracks here, like "I Want Water," sound like just plain noise.  This second volume has the same general sound as the first -- African drums with Indian/Asian elements, chanting, and various other non-Western elements -- but it lacks the aesthetically pleasing aspect that some (I reiterate, some) of the tunes on Volume 1 had.  Some of this has to do with the fact that the moderately enjoyable jazz fusion experiments of the first collection are absent here.  It's not completely without interesting tracks, however: "Off the Beaten Track" is nice, with its Indian strings, African drums, and funky bass, while the horn and drum-driven "Fruit Market" is also somewhat enjoyable.  A couple of other songs are particularly unique: "Language and Mentality" features a slow, airy rhythm backing some German professor-type guy giving a lecture on language, and "African Hedge Hog" combines an assortment of odd sounds -- snippets of horns, drums, whistles, cymbals, bells, crashes, etc. -- into a cohesive (well, cohesive enough) tune. The 3 omitted original album tracks ar added here.

African Head Charge - Great Vintage Volume 2 (flac  508mb)

01 Off The Beaten Track 5:03
02 Some Bizarre 5:05
03 Belinda 3:40
04 Language And Mentality 4:22
05 Throw It Away 3:36
06 Conspiring 4:38
07 Release The Doctor 3:34
08 Down Under Again 3:07
09 + Over The Sky 3:15
10 + Good Things (Bonus Track) 4:06
11 Timbuktu Express 4:35
12 I Want Water 6:04
13 Bazaar 5:09
14 African Hedge Hog 5:38
15 Depth Charge 4:07
16 Fruit Market 5:03
17 Snake In The Hole 5:17
18 + Many Generations 7:17

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After a 5-year hiatus, African Head Charge returns with a revamped and rejuvenated sound on Songs of Praise.  The second one pushes "play" for the first time with this album, it will blow you away.  The sound is so unique and entrancing, with its electric mix of ancient chants and modern rhythms, it could floor one.

Imagine someone coming up to you, showing you the cover, and saying, "Yo man, 'Free Chant (Churchical Chant of the Iyabinghi)' is the jam!"   Indeed, I'd imagine that there's not a big market for religious African chanting, but Songs of Praise is easily more accessible than African Head Charge's earlier albums, as it incorporates a tighter, more cohesive, more musical sound.  Much more than just African drums or chants, these songs are alternately funky, catchy, and beautiful.  "Free Chant" is the first song you hear on the album, its drums and vocals doling out a great solemn melody backed by an unexpected Western piano and guitar.  Following it is "Orderliness, Godliness, Discipline and Dignity," a funky East Indian-esque chant peppered with digital blips.  "Hold Some More" and "Healing Father" are similarly funky, with the former actually containing coherent lyrics!  "Dervish Chant," My God," "Chant for the Spirits," and "God Is Great" are also quite enjoyable and fun in their own way.  Songs of Praise, like African Head Charge's previous albums, is a diaspora of sound, incorporating the feel of African, East Indian, reggae, dub, and Native American music rolled into one.

African Head Charge - Songs Of Praise (flac  346mb)

01 Free Chant 3:30
02 Orderliness, Godliness, Discipline And Dignity 3:16
03 Hymn 5:30
04 Dervish Chant 7:50
05 Hold Some More 6:18
06 Healing Father 4:46
07 Healing Ceremony 3:48
08 Cattle Herders Chant 4:15
09 Ethiopian Praises 1:28
10 My God 4:11
11 Gospel Train 3:02
12 Chant For The Spirits 4:08
13 God Is Great 4:16
14 Deer Spirit Song 2:22

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404 said...

downton abbey did well last year - watched that yet?

Anonymous said...

Yer "German professor-type guy giving a lecture on language" is, of course, Albert Einstein. It is available on t'interweb at least in transcript form. It appears in an essay called 'The Common Language of Science' but, I understand, a version appears in one of his books. What you can hear on 'Language and Mentality', I guess, is a sample from a British Library recording of him reading the 'The Common Language of Science' as part of a broadcast or lecture. So you were right he was German!

GuillermoBlogeado said...

links dead
can you please reupload?

it would be greatly appreciated

Rho said...

Sure Guillermo can't leave African Head Charge hanging like this It's been re-uploaded. N'Joy

Mundo Malungo said...

many thanks dude!
i just know MY GOD from this album, can't wait to listen all.

keeep rocking!


Anonymous said...

any chance you could post the complete version of "My Life In a Hole In the Ground" ? as flac ? pretty please ?

Rho said...

Im sorry pretty please My Life In a Hole In the Ground is not in my collecction...


hi can you reup african head charges songs of praise and great vintage volume 1 thx

Anonymous said...

Just fine, great things, but why are you frequently use mirror creator ? There is nothing but an endless row of pop up windows that lead nowhere except to always the same usemess adds.
1fichier and such just work fine, why not stay with what works ?

Thanks anyway, my matinal surprises.


Rho said...

Hello Guido well mirrorcreator doesnt only poop up adds but because it distributes my upload further chances are the link stays live longer, besides it's all free here.. As for 1 ficher it shows im always on the look out for better hosts but during the 8,5 years in run this blog ive seen many disappear even if they looked solid for a time. I gather you get good speeds then with 1ficher then i will use it a bit more. Best of luck

jonder said...

Megashares link is still active for Starship Africa. Thanks for sharing!

Nico said...

Any chance of getting a Reupload on Songs of Praise?


Nico said...

Wow nevermind its still up!
Thank you keep it going!!

Nico said...

Actually no all links are dead hahah.
... Pretty please?

Anonymous said...


links to vintage 1 album dead. can you reupload please? Thanks a million.