Dub No Frontiers is a project that`s been in the pipeline for quite a while. Some of the music appears on Youtube as clips posted 10 years ago. Now due to be released on Real World, the album is billed as, An OnU Sound Labour Of Love, and it`s a measure of the commitment of Adrian Sherwood, and friends and extended family, that they’ve seen it through to fruition.
Sparked by the historical male dominance of the dub reggae scene, the collection was conceived as an attempt to redress the gender balance. While the OnU mainman steps up to the desk, and the musicians include familiar names such as Flabba Holt, Bingy Bunny, and the sadly departed George Oban and Style Scott, the voices are all female. Singers, artists, from Shanghai, Tunisia, Papua New Guinea, West and East Africa, with mother tongues that range from Tigrinya, to Japanese, Hindi, and Arabic. The set is dedicated the the late Ari Up, who remains connected to the music through the involvement of Dr Nadya Ostroff – a former guitarist with The Slits – and Kerieva McCormick – director of Scotland`s Kam-Ri dance theatre, and ex of Asian Dub Foundation – whose production KILL ‘EM WITH LOVE, celebrates the life and the “fury” of the legendary punk front-woman.
There are tantalizingly toyed with twists of sound, and bountiful blasts of all encompassing, all consuming bass, but don’t come expecting deranged dubwise displays or fireworks. If you do you’ll not only be disappointed, but missing the point. Sure, there are devilish details dancing about – moody melodica, weeping Romany violin, Babylon-burning brass – and echoed rimshots ringing out, but these skanking, seemingly simple, serenades are designed to shine a spotlight on the intercontinental chanteuses. While steel sprung and righteously reinforced, these grooves are relatively restrained, respectful arrangements, focussed on the vocal talents of those gathered – representing races from all over the globe, yet masterfully mixed into a unified whole. Showcasing strength, and diversity – something that`s always been at the heart of OnU Sound.
While not lovers, but strictly roots rocking, the entire album packs a pretty pop punch. Not concerned / content with only comforting the disturbed, the record should cross-over and find a home in any / every turned-on tuned-in modern household.
Adrian Sherwood Presents Dub No Frontiers will be released by Real World Records in September. The press release threatens a live show and tour….