African Head Charge Shrunken Head

With the majority of their work preceding the age of the remix, African Head Charge bring world and electronic music together with a sense of depth and daring that has yet to be surpassed by most in either scene. The band came together in 1981 mainly as a studio outfit led by lead vocalist/percussionist Bonjo I and On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood at the mixing desk. Shrunken Head collects 17 of their best tracks and though it provides little information on when these tracks were recorded, they sound cutting-edge regardless of their historical place in AFC’s 22-year-old career. The interaction between Bonjo I, Sherwood and the rest of the On-U crew (Style Scott, Skip McDonald, Zap, etc.) reaches as deep into the past as it does into the future. Tradition-wise, the tracks cull from the spirit of dub/roots reggae, Nyabinghi, African as well as North Indian sounds — check out the Bollywood-esque melodies of "Dervish Chant,” "Dinosaur’s Lament,” and "Heading To Glory.” The perspective is religiously Rastafarian, with hymns, chants, praise-songs and drumming from that tradition, but with Sherwood’s technical pulse the songs reveal a dissonance that has even the secular bowing in reverence. "No, Don’t Follow Fashion” and the new remix of "You Learn” rush with a break beat madness that’s likely to catch the ears and feet of those initiated in DJ culture, while older tracks like "Belinda” and "I Want Water” will make even the most calculating IDM producer think twice about their career. (Rooftop)