The New Age Steppers | The New Age Steppers

The New Age Steppers | The New Age Steppers


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

It’s difficult to think of a better embodiment of post-punk’s successful integration with dub and reggae than New Age Steppers. The group consisted of a loose collection of musicians from both the worlds of reggae and post-punk centred around two core members - producer Adrian Sherwood and vocalist Ari Up. Their eponymous debut album from 1981 was the first LP to be released on Sherwood’s legendary On-Sound label and manages to successfully refract the bass heavy sound of Jamaican roots and dub through the rebel attitude of punk to create an entirely fresh and compelling take on the genre.

This is aptly displayed by opening track ‘Fade Away’ in which Ari Up recontextualizes the Junior Byles roots classic into a timely politically charged anti-Thatcher anthem warning against worshipping at the feet of the false prophets of vanity and greed. Ari also provides the vocals for a dubbed out take on Bim Sherman’s ‘Love Forever’ which Sherwood expertly stretches out into a seven minute psychedelic odyssey which is as near as you’ll get to a post-punk version of lovers rock. Elsewhere additional vocals are supplied by The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart who delivers a rallying cry against inequality on ‘Crazy Dreams and High Ideals’ and Vivien Goldman in the epic driving dub of ‘Private Armies’ which brings the album to a close.

The remaining tracks are effectively instrumental dubs and - as far as dub goes - this is about as raw, unique and ground-breaking as you can get. Sherwood builds on King Tubby’s approach of using the mixing desk as an instrument but does so with a pleasingly irreverent punk attitude to create a much starker more industrial tinged version of the genre that has become his own distinctive trademark sound. The results speak for themselves and are testament to the power of ripping up the rule book to be rewarded with music that becomes genuinely timeless.

1. Fade Away
2. Radial Drill
3. State Assembly
4. Crazy Dreams and High Ideals
1. Abderhamane’s Demise
2. Animal Space
3. Love Forever
4. Private Armies