Vision Of A Psychedelic Africa
African Headcharge
On-U Sound
May 1, 2005

Track list
  1. The Big Country
  2. Surfari
  3. Positive Thoughts & Mind
  4. Unplanned Treatment For A Septic Horn
  5. Drumming Is A Language
  6. Mr. Whippy Does Djibouti
  7. Run Come See
  8. Ran Came Saw
  9. Blessed Works
  10. Work Blessed
  11. More Fluid
  12. Who Are You?
  13. Ready You Ready
  14. Ready You Ready Part 2
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
"Those were extreme, extreme records we made as African Head charge. In those days I was concerned with sound mixing, and into development of ideas: I like to go into that whole motion. I was crazy about it.....African Head Charge music takes you overboard: I can really relate to those African Head charge records. Those sounds were original vibrations. One thing's for sure, you'd always get something original out of our corner and as I said, I'm only interested in originality - I like to create new sounds. I'm a searcher in my life, and that includes being a searcher for new sounds. " (Eskimo Fox, original African Head Charge drummer, interview 2004)

Even though On-U Sound has produced a string of lukewarm Dub Syndicate and Sound Boy releases over the last two years, supporters can justifiably claim they are still on top form -- The Ghetto Priest and Eskimo Fox albums were some of the strongest On-U Sound releases since the mid 80's, and this AHC album -- though flawed -- has some high points of invention too.

The curiously entitled "Mr Whippy Does Djibouti" -- apparently so named due to a bizarre keyboard sound -- is a high point here, and comes straight out of the Pharaoh Sanders, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman lineage. Backward tape loops and lonely piano notes over hammering bass vibrations make this a deeply original composition, even by AHC's standards of oddness. Halfway through the track, the sound engineer digs up a twenty five year old ONU Sound sample to put through the wringer -- "Welcome to the night dream."

"Run Come See" has a delicate Impulse style jazz snare sound driving the massive bass boom, cut and spliced with a Skip McDonald style blues vocal sample -- Think a heavily dubbed Elvin Jones and Richard Davis here -- "Symbol of Rebellion, reaction and progress" chants Bonjo I, over what sounds like a cut up loop of a kitten crying. Version follows, with a huge bass underpinning a Tubby's/Glen Brown approach to endless and deep vocal echo.

"More Fluid" has a Doug Wimbish style liquid funk bass. "Unplanned Treatment For A Septic Horn" with its early 80's Herbie Hancock keyboard hook, reworks, opens up and dubs further space into "Healing Ceremony" from the "Songs of Praise" album.

The album is not without flaw -- some of the tracks are over cluttered, have little identity, and in places the samples are gratuitous, out of place and self conscious. Some of the tracks -- with pointless, anachronistic samples -- are simply depressing, it must be said.

Over all though, this is excellent and courageous work, proving On-U Sound still have that distinctive edge of oddness that drew people to them in the beginning. There is a lot here that deeply satisfies.

If you are looking for further comparison, much of this album is reminiscent of the Randy Weston/Pharaoh Sanders album "Khepera" and Steve Turre/Herbie Hancock's "Rhythm Within" album.

This album's high points make it a worthy venture, which, like the best of On-U Sound music, goes well against the tide of current commercial concerns -- and it should praised for it.