Even the On-U Sound camp themselves describe Missing Brazilians` Warzone as the weird one. The album’s reissue, on transparent vinyl, has received little fanfare, I suppose so’s not to overshadow the label’s new music, from Jeb Loy Nicols and Horace Andy. Warzone is certainly far removed from either of those records, being more like African Head Charge meeting Mark Stewart & The Maffia while being put further though the sonic shredder / grinder.
Adrian Sherwood, here aka “Prisoner” and “Crocodile”, and Kishi Yamamoto – who also designed the striking sleeve – create / construct an industrial Nyabinghi grounation. Chopping up beats – that break free from any regular rhythm. Stuttering, staggering, snares. The whole thing buzzing, ringing, with 1950s Ed Wood / Plan 9 Sci-Fi sound-effects. The two of them turning out totally deconstructed / subverted grooves. Together they build this tropic of collaged collisions from blocks of improvised, strange timbred, keys (including an increasingly mistreated organ), sirens, bursts, sheets of noise, and spinbacks. Where mad, live, lysergic mixing desk manoeuvres manufacture warped whooshes. Each hit triggering spinning whirlpools of sound.
The resulting filtered frequency feast, unleashing a banging, bellowing, deranged beast. Where drums and bass are over-driven into blasts of growling distortion, crashing like an angry giant’s footsteps approaching, and computerized conga rattle replaces any traditional hand percussion. Dishing out a brutal bashing in the bush of ghosts, that bears the influence of NYC avant-electro artists, such as Bill Laswell’s Praxis project, and echoes of the techno-tribal experiments of Belgium’s Zazou / Biyake / CY1. Nearly 40 years on, Warzone’s still a challenging listen, and definitely something to disturb the comfortable with.
With a name suggested by long-time Sherwood co-conspirator Steve Barker, vocals from Little Annie and Shara Nelson, plus the legend that the music contained within almost broke the disc-cutter limiters, Missing Brazilians` Warzone is out now, on On-U Sound.