On-U Sound Records
New Age Steppers – S/T [REISSUE OF 1980 DEBUT] - New LP
Regular price $ 22.00
|The landmark first album on the On-U Sound label, this self-titled debut announced a gathering of the tribes: producer Adrian Sherwood bringing together members of the Slits, the Pop Group, the Flying Lizards and the Raincoats and getting them to collaborate with the likes of the Roots Radics’ Style Scott, Creation Rebel’s Crucial Tony, and Aswad’s George Oban to form a potent post-punk/dub fusion.
A certified classic of the era back on wax for the first time in 40 years and an essential addition to any post-punk record collection. Includes download card and printed inner with new sleevenotes and interviews by Oli Warwick.
The New Age Steppers were one of Adrian Sherwood's first pet projects for On-U Sound, the label he started with then-wife Kishi Yamamoto, Creation Rebel's Tony Phillips, Martin Harrison, Pete Holdsworth, and a gent named Lizard. The label's first release was the New Age Steppers' single for "Fade Away" (a brilliant, reverent remake of a Junior Byles song), which made a reappearance on the ad-hoc group's self-titled debut LP. Released in early 1981, New Age Steppers features contributions from well over a dozen post-punk and reggae scenesters and, like the following Action Battlefield, the record epitomizes the spirit of the exciting late-'70s/early-'80s crossbreeding that took place between punk and reggae. Central to this record, Style Scott of the Roots Radics and George Oban of Aswad provide most of the rhythms, and the originals were penned predominantly by Sherwood and Scott, with the occasional outside contribution factoring into the whole. The Pop Group's Mark Stewart pipes in with "Crazy Dreams and High Ideals," a winding, warping dub composition filled with random surges of snare drums, searing, trebly effects, and crazy vocal tricks -- Stewart seems to be yelping from the bottom of a well one moment, and then suddenly you'll feel as if you need to wipe his spittle off your ear. Ari Up's relaxed vocals highlight some of the album's most song-based material; both "Love Forever" and the aforementioned "Fade Away" feature galloping pianos and thick, rhythmic bases that Up merely sails along with. The remainder of the record is comprised of instrumentals that throw all sorts of manipulations and funhouse oddities into the mix. The best of the bunch is a dub of Viv Goldman's "Private Armies," which treats a melodica (?) so heavily that it resembles a violin. Wild, unpredictable, and great.