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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Asian Dub Foundation April 17, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Here’s a band who have been consistently worth listening to for… feck it, the best part of a decade and a half. Asian Dub Foundation, group, collective, phenomenon? There’s no doubt that they evolved from an eclectic mix, producers, DJs, musicians. While framed in Asian music this also merged with rap, dub, indie, punk and pretty much anything that could add rather than detract from the central approach.

Added to that was, and is, a highly political content. “Naxalite” might represent a metaphorical call to arms, and few could call this sedate. There’s a genuine anger in the lyrics. “Buzzin'” might be more reflective, but it’s still there… and what of this from “Free Satpal Ram”?

Birmingham six
Bridgewater four
Crown prosecution totting up the score
Kings Cross two
Guildford four
Winston Silcott – man how many more ?
Satpal attacked in a restaurant by racists
Now the brother’s been locked up on a life time basis
Convicted of murder but what’s never mentioned
Self defence was his only intention

This is political music, but it’s still music and what I love about them are the little bits of sonic messing around in songs. Listen to the end of Naxalite and you’ll hear some reverbed guitar fading and being replaced by subtle keyboards (at least I think they’re keyboards). Everything arrives in a rush of beats and sounds with staccato fast raps.

So here are pieces from Rafi’s Revenge and Community Music. Some say that they were their best moments were when they had the youthful Deeder, who first arrived in the band at 14 and left in 2000, but that would be to ignore work like 2008’s Punkara (natch) with tracks like Burning Fence (which to my ears sounds something like the Fleshtones had they had an Asian heritage rather than – mostly – Polish) or a cover of Iggy’s No Fun with guest vocals by… er… Iggy… and… well, perhaps that album deserves a post of its own some weekend. This series is entertaining and interesting to write for me because of the way it sometimes unearths stuff I haven’t listened to in – sometimes – years and really should but in other instances it’s about the stuff I’ve never stopped listening to. ADF are in the latter category.



Culture Move feat Navigator

I particularly like the way the almost casual vocal lines intermesh, but also and not least because according to najmar101 from the YouTube ADF channel “Here’s a confession for you;when I programmed the bassline for this track I was trying to turn Black Sabbath riff into Jungle”. A worthy objective. Kudos.


And for all the Marxists in the audience, and I think we’ve got a few, here from their equally good album Community Music is Colour Line with vocals apparently sampled from the extremely interesting Ambalavaner Sivanandan.

And here’s another two tracks from that album… the peerless New Way New Life


Real Great Britain


1. CMK - April 17, 2010

Yeah, fantastic band. ‘Real Great Britain’ and ‘New Way, New Life’ are astonishingly brilliant tunes. ‘Free Satpal Ram’ less so, in my opinion.

‘New Way, New Life’ in particular gives some sense of what second generation Asian Britons feel about their parent’s generation and the achievements of the latter. It strikes me that certain parts of Britain in the 50’s and 60’s must have been very interesting places to live with the mixture of Irish, West Indians and Asians. Three very different cultures flung together by circumstance. What amazes me about the returnees from the England of the 60’s is that for every racist who returned, you have someone whose mind was opened and that open mindedness contributed, I believe, towards the, admittedly slight, trend towards a liberal attitude to multi-culturalism here.


2. This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Sunn O))) « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - July 17, 2010

[…] time to kick back, have a beer and chill out. The Orb perhaps, or something party like, well we had Asian Dub Foundation a few months back… so perhaps them, or the Fleshtones… […]


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