Adrian Sherwood – Never Trust a Hippy (Real World Gold)
CD/LP/DL
Out Now

Influential record producer and On-U Sound founder’s first solo record gets re-released, Paul Scott-Bates has more.

It’s been quite a year for Sherwood fans – the long awaited album Survival & Resistance living up to all the hype and so far my album of 2012. And now, Real World are to re-release his debut solo album, 2003’s Never Trust A Hippy as one of a 10 album series of classics.

Born in 1958, Adrian was initially known for production and remixes for the likes of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Primal Scream and Pop Will Eat Itself amongst many others. He was also responsible in founding several labels including Pressure Sounds and Soundboy before forming his own label, On-U Sound in 1981 bringing us the likes of Mark Stewart, Dub Syndicate, New Age Steppers, Gary Clail and Tackhead/Fats Comet of which he was also a member. He’s also responsible for bringing the legendary Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry back to prominence through a long a association and several recordings.

So what of Never Trust A Hippy? When you realise that someone’s debut contains guests like Sly & Robbie, Jazzwad, Mark Stewart, Keith le Blanc, Little Axe and Ghetto Priest, then you know it’s going to be a bit special.

The opener, “No Dog Jazz”, does exactly what it says – no dogs and no jazz. Setting the tone for the album, sampled vocals and that trademark On-U drum sound. Dubbed out from the start, a very upbeat track, as is “Hari Up Hari”, featuring Hari Haran on vocals which weave and spiral to perfect accompaniment. Space age sounds whistle and whirr in a track that makes full use of stereo headphones.

“Haunted By Your Love” starts with a bubbling stream and exotic vocals, in comes the backbeat and bass and we’re away again. Complimented by piano and tribal chants, and even a cricket adding rhythm! It soon becomes apparent that NTAH has influences from all five continents.

There are so many dubs on this album that it becomes a joy to behold. “Processed World”, with its schoolchildren vocals and narrated tale, tells the story of Earth’s impending doom. Heavy stuff? Maybe, but another cracking tune. With vocals from Ghetto Priest, “Dead Man Smoking” features extracts from “Dead Men Don’t Smoke Marijuana” by S E Rogie, and again, some of the dubs are superb.

 

As with all Sherwood’s albums and remixes, the sound quality is excellent. A fantastic, clean, almost clinical sound that I don’t think I’ve ever heard emulated as well anywhere else – perfect for cd, and, bringing a whole new sound dimension to vinyl – take your pick. With the exception of sampled vocals, the album is largely instrumental, but Sherwood has the ability to make an album so engaging and addictive that you really forget that fact. “The Ignorant Version” features daughter Emily on vocals who makes an appearance on many of his albums. Sometimes weird, sometimes sampling dogs, Sherwood has very much created his own genre over the years describing NTAH as his “version of a kind of world music-sci-fi-dub-dancehall record”.
I challenge anyone to file that!  NTAH is an album very difficult to describe with just words – it’s a musical extravaganza, a trip into outer space from the comfort of your living room. An eyebrow raising journey that you don’t want to return from.

If you’re not familiar with dub, then NTAH is a perfect place to start. Not only is Sherwood a visionary, but, he is truly a modern day dub genius.

Adrian Sherwood can be followed via his official Facebook and Twitter pages.

All words by Paul Scott Bates. More work by Paul on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.

 

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