The New Age Steppers | Foundation Steppers

The New Age Steppers | Foundation Steppers


On-U Sound
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From the Dubwise Vinyl review on Test Pressing:

Their third LP ‘Foundation Steppers’ was released two years later in 1983 after Ari had moved to Jamaica and as a result was part recorded at the legendary Channel One studios. You can feel the Jamaican sunshine seeping through the whole album and especially on opener ‘Some Love‘ where a laidback horns section is used to transform Chaka Khan’s disco anthem into a lovely slice of classic sounding roots reggae.

This is further strengthened by the involvement of Bim Sherman on a number of the tracks who provides a contrasting vocal style to Ari and helps to create a more varied tonal palette. Whilst this is maybe the nearest the New Age Steppers get to a traditional reggae album the playful presence of post-punk experimentalism is still very much present and helps push the sound in some refreshingly leftfield directions. On ‘Misplaced Love’ Bim’s bitter sweet melancholic vocals are delivered against a backdrop of eerie almost cold wave synths and on ‘Stormy Weather’ Ari’s trademark wonky vocal delivery provides a surprising counterpart to the gently skanking reggae instrumentation.

There’s also the addition of a driving punky bassline to dub track ‘5 Dog Race’ and the intriguing Far Eastern flavours found on instrumental closer ‘Mandarin.’ These welcome surprises mean that despite its heavy reggae influences ‘Foundation Stepper’ is still an album full of plenty of musical left turns that’s very much in the On-U Sound experimental tradition.

Side One
1. Some Love
2. Memories
3. 5 Dog Race
4. Misplaced Love
Side Two
5. Dreamers
6. Stabilizer
7. Stormy Weather
8. Vice Of My Enemies
9. Mandarin