Tackhead Sound Crash
Adrian Sherwood
On-U Sound
March 28, 2006

Track list
  1. Intro "Free"
  2. Mind At The End Of Its Tether
  3. What's My Mission Now?
  4. Ghost
  5. Mind At The End Of Its Tether Pt.2
  6. 1/2 Cut For Confidence
  7. Ticking Time Bomb
  8. Heaven On Earth
  9. Ticking Time Bomb Pt.2
  10. Heaven On Earth Pt.2
  11. Mechanical Movements Pt.2
  12. I Stopped The Clock
  13. Bop Bop
  14. King Of The Beat
  15. Move It
  16. Body To Burn
  17. D.J. Programme
  18. Disconnection
  19. Rochester
  20. Audio Visual Attack
  21. Man In A Suitcase
  22. Dreamworld
  23. Get This Beloved
  24. Gamesmanship
  25. Get Move Of This
  26. Einstein Pt.2
  27. Hard Left
  28. No Hands On The Wheel
  29. Listen Good Drummers
  30. Free Again
  31. This Is The Night
  32. Bastard Son Of Fats
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
"That was an intense gig, let me tell you -- this huge aural assault, with Doug Wimbish playing the bass like a lead instrument; using bass lines that followed lead patterns over Keith "Sugarhill" Le Blanc's deconstructed snares. Overlaying this, Adrian Sherwood plays his cut up tape loops of monks chanting -- all this noise, with me and Jah Wobble playing what we usually do over this exploding surface! Intense……." (Keith PIL Levene in conversation with Greg Whitfield, remembering his and Jah Wobble’s contributions to Tackhead. 2004.)

Not everyone takes to Tackhead and their related acts, it's true-- some find their music to be overly mired in late 80's muso /electro fusion. Some find their industrial noise collision paranoia funk to be contrived at times. Others can't bear Gary Clail's voice, and wonder at its appeal.

But one thing is for sure -- when Doug Wimbish, Skip McDonald and K Le Blanc get it right, they REALLY get it right and burn with a visceral -- yet so cerebral -- intensity. Hard to beat.

Last year saw the release of ONU Sound Crash, compiling AMS's reggae and dub career into a seamless collage. It had its moments for sure, but it was largely a sampler for the uninitiated and curious.

This Tackhead collage is quite a different proposition: it takes the original 80's work, mercilessly cutting off any loose fat and dated electro aspects, rendering the monolithic sonics lean -- raw funk power and cathartic intellect focussed through a prism of sheer noise.

The album opens with Oppenheimer's quote from Hindu Scripture -- By July 1945, USA was ready to test its A bomb. Recalling his contemplation on the awe of the event, Oppenheimer said: "A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. There floated through my mind a line from Hindu Scripture, the "Bhagavad-Gita" -- Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi armed form and says: 'I am become death: the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."

Oppenheimer went to Harvard where a classmate says he "intellectually looted the place." The same could be said of Tackhead and their approach to sound. The album takes in a mangled tape of Martin Luther King, quoting and meditating on lines from HG Wells, cut and spliced with the whoosh and shatter of a car crash. Later, Le Blanc's austerely disciplined snares become entwined with the Psalms and supplications of Trappist monks. In the track "Heaven On Earth", near death experience survivors recount their euphoria -- ( "I heard a loud buzzing noise -- I felt myself moving backwards, through a long dark tunnel --") before having the life energy squeezed out of their optimism by a preacher's sermon, redolent of Schopenhauer at his most reductive and claustrophobic. The chant is steadily cut down and reduced until it resembles a Zulu chant.

This is Manichean funk at its most extreme: The Manichean sect (begun in Persia, circa 200 AD) apparently thought matter itself was evil, and that consciousness was a kind of punishment, the only solution being the liberation of the spirit from its earthly/bodily cage.

At their heights, this is what Tackhead seem to be doing with their music -- Liberating the body/spirit duality from its constrictions.

Tackhead music is colossal funk abiogenesis-- heuristic noise exploration at its extreme limits.

Highly recommended austerity and funk asceticism, from start to finish.

Unmissable. Hard to beat. Towers of power from Tackhead.