Community Music Import
ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION Community Music (2000 UK 14-track CD album including the singles Real Great Britain & New Way New Life the picture sleeve inlay has some light water damage but remains intact with text still clear to see)
Community Music, Asian Dub Foundation's third album, wastes no time in establishing their agenda. From the opening splash of atonal guitar and bubbling analogue synths "Real Great Britain" sets out a formidable futurist manifesto. "Time to reject the 60s charade!" screams Master D over a furious breakbeat and thunderous guitar riff that digs up the rotting corpse of rock past and confronts it with the howling visage of rock future. Tracks like "Officer XX" and "Memory War" show that the group have harnessed the infectious energy that characterises their live shows and splintered it off into furious sonic bombs. In ADF's hands "Taa Deem", a "remix" of a standard by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, becomes a Bad Brains-style romper stomp, the Pakistani singer miraculously transformed into Qawwali Johnny Rotten. But then just to confuse matters ADF throw sweeter elements into the pot with equal verve. The album swerves through the Morricone-influenced epic "The Judgement", string-suffused sing-a-long of "Collective Mode", the call of "Rebel Warrior" and the violin-tinged deep dub of "Crash"--all of which have melodic hooks that slay on first listen. --Chris Campion
If you've read only the reviews on this page (no disrespect to any of the other reviewers intended), you may get the sense that ADF are a provincial, acquired exotic taste. They really aren't. I am not of South Asian background. My reaction: NME's comparison of this CD with Public Enemy's classic "Fear of a Black Planet" is dead on. The sonic textures are just as crushingly dense and complex. And while Chuck D is by far the better lyricist, ADF, with effortless mastery, deploys a much broader ethnomusicological vocabulary and arguably proves more innovative. But not in an inaccessible way that marginalizes them or relegates them to some kind of "world music" ghetto. Anyone who likes Public Enemy, Massive Attack, or the Chemical Brothers will love this adrenaline-fueled stuff. Small wonder that Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Massive Attack have recently collaborated with these guys.
While some of the lyrics may speak most directly to the South Asian diaspora, the radical politics are not as provincial as some Desi-centric reviewers might suggest. Yes, the political sensibility doesn't get much beyond sloganeering. But that's true for most "pop" lyrics. And at least these guys are sincere. ADF's Pandit G even recently refused the Queen's offer of an MBE award "for services to the music industry."
The bottom line: this is great stuff that will broaden your musical horizons...at the same time it blows your brains out!
(Maybe if there were more Desi rock critics, there might have been greater awareness as to the brilliance of ADF).
"Community music" not so much geared towards the club dancefloor as it is in making you think and react.
My favorite track on the lyrical tip is "New way, new life." ADF have become storytellers for the South Asian immigrant experience, telling our story of struggle and survival in a hostile and alien environment. In a way, the song also justifies the whole mainstream Desi Bollywood entertainment industry -- for our parents at least, it was a link to community and culture without which they would have had an even tougher time.