Album: Adrian Sherwood

Never Trust A Hippy, Realworld

Friday 21 February 2003 01:00

The title, of course, derives from John Lydon's cynical comment on Richard Branson's signing of the Sex Pistols to Virgin; but it also serves, in this context, as an affectionate joke about Peter Gabriel, whose Realworld label invited the leading British dubmeister Adrian Sherwood to monkey around with bits of its world-music back-catalogue. As it turned out, some of Sherwood's sample choices proved unavailable, for religious or other reasons, but, undaunted, he drew on his own hoard of samples and friends – the jazz trumpeter Harry Beckett, the Indian singer Hari Haran, his long-time guitar accomplice Skip McDonald, the beat technicians Sly & Robbie, the rapper Ghetto Priest, and the hot Jamaican dancehall producers Jazzwad and Lenky – and brewed up what he calls "a kind of sci-fi, world-y, contemporary dancehall record". It's not the first time he's visited such territory – his African Head Charge dub plates in the Eighties had a similar vibe and style – but these tracks seem denser, subtler and more developed. The inclusion of Jazzwad is crucial, his unique rhythms bringing an impish friskiness to the shifting layers of ethnic musics and vocal samples on tracks such as "No Dog Jazz" and "X-Planation". Elsewhere, burbling clavinet, violin, samples of barking dogs and the African singer SE Rogie blend together mysteriously in "Dead Man Smoking", with Ghetto Priest asserting over the top how he'd "rather light a candle than curse in the darkness", while "Paradise of Nada" – the original remix that prompted the album commission – has Beckett's trumpet, the Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali singers and the world-beat crew Temple of Sound floating in a delicious dub stew.

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