Community Music

Why stand on the shoulders of giants when you can dance on the toes of bigots?

Ten years after the community vibe of acid house, mass Britmusic is back to dog-eat-dog ways, S Club 7 fake togetherness and niche-marketing apartheid. Not in a zillion brainstorms would The Man have conceived of a British Asian ragga jungle band doing jump-up dancehall Bollywood punk. Yet every pixel of energy and invention in ‘Community Music’ is attributable to it operating exactly counter to the accepted rules of year 2000 fee-market pop.

The title’s deliberately un-hip. It’s riddled with hectoring politics. The basslines come from supposedly moribund reggae, the breakbeats from allegedly passe jungle and give a big shout to Chumbawamba. The least laissez-faire album since Public Enemy’s ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’, ‘Community Music’ is not remotely market-honed but has a street power and rock’n’roll energy that nothing else is going to measure up to this year.

Deeder’s MC-ing is more in your face and dextrous. Chandrasonic’s guitars reach new heights of non-pentatonic scale incandescence. The sound palette of Pandit G, Sun-J and Dr Das is richer. So it’s ‘Rafi’s Revenge’ – but in polemical polychromatic Cinemascope.



See Asian Dub Foundation, Regular Fries, Aziz and Invasian interviewed on 28 January 2000

Asian Dub Foundation debut new songs at NME premier show – 28 January 2000


See Asian Dub Foundation, Regular Fries, Aziz and Invasian interviewed on 28 January 2000


CD: Rafi’s Revenge

Asian Dub Foundation at London Astoria on 28 January 2000


Click for the ecard 1

Click for the ecard 2

‘Real Great Britain”s hard-step bhangra-punk is a state-of-the-nation assault fingering everything from Blair Toryism to ’60s nostalgia; ‘Anarchy In The UK’ gone hyper-radical. Dubbed riffclash ‘Memory War’ paints the ADF vision of a mind-controlling power elite in broader strokes before getting down to specifics with the sitars-and-dub ‘Officer XX’ about the Stephen Lawrence murder enquiry.

With the system bleeding on the ropes, they give it a mid-album break, celebrating Asian community achievements on ‘New Way, New Life’, letting the sound system speak on ‘Riddim I Like’ (with Benjamin Zephaniah), and proclaiming their positivity maxim on the Bollywood bouncy ‘Collective Mode’ – “Turn dis disconnection into interconnection…”

Bouncing high in their jungle sneakers, ADF are the solution to the ancient not-very-sexy problem with leftie hugger commune music. In the ska-tipped ‘Crash’ Deeder rips into the global aggression of the IMF, the Nikkei Index’n’friends and namedrops journo hero John Pilger but the track still kicks.

There are no token agit-fillers, so even ‘Colour Line’ when the professorial voice of Ambalavaner Sivanandan reads a geopolitical tract, the tabla-tech setting is worthy. ‘Community Music’ is ADF at glorious, joyous, agitational full stretch. They pull in roots culture, sampling Pakistani legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on a cover of his ‘Taa Deem’, make space for the female voice of Assata Shakur in ‘Committed To Life’, light up the sky with the ultra-feisty ‘Rebel Warrior’ and head for outer space with the eight-minute instrumental ‘Scaling New Heights’.

The magnificent sound of a power struggle being won by the underestimated, of the dhol beating the dollar, this is an important record. It confirms there’s a fourth way for British music. It identifies the enemy with unprecedented articulacy. It reclaims the power of merger for the human in the street.

Why stand on the shoulders of giants when you can dance on the toes of bigots

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