African Head Charge – ‘Voodoo of the Godsent’

(album, On-U-Sound)

The first African Head Charge studio work since 2005’s Vision of a Psychedelic Africa, Voodoo of the Godsent is described by the label as being ‘the culmination of thirty years of endeavour.’ Given the outstanding music made by the team of master percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and legendary producer Adrian Sherwood during this period, it’s debatable whether this represents their best work – but that doesn’t really matter, as the album is essentially the continuation of a process that has seen both creative powerhouses expanding and transforming the landscape of contemporary reggae into new and exciting shapes.

Like much of Bonjo-I’s work, Voodoo of the Godsent is an album that exists outside of conventional time and geographical space. By evoking primal rhythms and enhancing them with cutting edge studio wizardry, African Head Charge have tapped into a dynamic that simultaneously seethes with futures and pasts. Certainly, both percussionist and producer have become increasingly deft with experience, as is evidenced by the gently rolling ‘Badman Plain’ and opening track ‘In “I” Head’, which gently fizzes with technology set upon a mythic bedrock of compelling tribalisms. This is an album that floats into the consciousness, the suitably liquid ‘The Best Way’ being one of several examples of the way in which disparate elements are combined to create music that is both radical and relaxing.

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Although much of the disc stalks a technological jungle, exploring new sonic territories and clearing new ground, by utilising the Voice of Thunder, ‘Take Heed … Smoke Up Your Collyweed’, brings us back to On-U-Sound’s early Far-I infused origins, while still succeeding to be progressive by dint of an epic, ambient drifting texture that is by degree primal and mesmeric. ‘Stoned Age Man’ is another accomplished conflation of ancient and modern, evoking a pre-dawn twilight, equally suffused by birdcall and digital naturalism.

A key aspect of Voodoo of the Godsent’s timelessness is the way that traditional language is set atop skittering techno rhythms, as in ‘African Bredda’. Similarly, ‘Mysterious Happenings’ access a primal dreamscape of old words and new sounds to produce a form of righteous futurism that is also evident in ‘This, That, and The Other.’ This is an album that should be felt as much as it is heard, creating new strains of roots music such as the compelling ‘Undulating’, an evocation of altered states wherein modern man encounters the wisdom of the ancients.

Equally hypnotic is ‘Timpanya’ a languid and haunting evocation that draws the listener into a concentric web of unhurried vocals and polyrhythms. Penultimate track, ‘Dobbyn Joins The Head Charge’ provides a brief excursion into nyabinghi melancholy, before ‘God Willing’ rolls in as a parting broadcast from the digital dreamworld, creating a limboid miasma as the earthbeat pauses.

Voodoo of the Godesnt is a welcome return for both African Head Charge and On-U-Sound – check it out, then go mine the back catalogue. Check out the label’s download store HERE.

Originally posted 2011-06-15 18:50:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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