Coldcut x On-U Sound – Outside The Echo Chamber (Ahead Of Our Time)
It had to happen, the only question is why it took so long?
Music pioneers Coldcut (Matt Black and Jon More) emerged in the late 80s as pop samplers paving the way for DJ styled records with Eric B & Rakim, James Brown and The Fall amongst their early projects whilst they also recorded in their own right and burst onto the scene with ‘Say Kids, What Time Is It?’ With Yazz and Lisa Stansfield featuring on early collaborations, starting pop careers for both of them; Coldcut quickly became innovators of electronic dance music. Adrian Sherwood and label On-U Sound really need little introduction – present in the last five decades, the label was at the forefront of alternative sounds for the likes of Mark Stewart, Tackhead and Gary Clail as well as exposing Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry as the tour de force that he is today. Also a renowned remixer, Sherwood remains in huge demand today.
The collaboration of Coldcut and On-U Sound is genius. Drawing from each other’s pasts and merging them together, they are perfect partners. An all-star cast featuring Skip McDonald, Doug Wimbush, Perry and Junior Reid to name just a few endorsing the feeling of a true collective affair with each artist bringing their own indisputable talent to the party, and what a party it is.
From the opening of ‘Vitals’ featuring Roots Manuva, a strong reggae feel with trademark Sherwood effects and ‘that’ On-U swing, choruses of deep melodia and the undoubted Coldcut touch, a distinct feel is initiated straight away. The genius of all three producers and remixers is clear to see and in less than three minutes the tone is set for a quite remarkable album.
Outside The Echo Chamber promises so much and without doubt, delivers in large amounts. The name of Coldcut’s record label, Ahead Of Our Time, is no coincidence with both artists at the forefront of their game for many many years, with many replicas and pretenders never beginning to scratch the surface. ‘Metro’ is a powerful instrumental with some quite exquisite dub effects and tabla percussion, and acts as a diverse prelude to last year’s single ‘Everyday Another Sanction’ (featuring Chexidek) in a roots/rocksteady style once more with some well-timed reverb and a more commercial feel.
Elan Atias joins the party on ‘Mark Up Your Mind’, another radio friendly track with dancehall feel which is given a gender reversal when Ce’ Cile takes to the mic on one of six additional dub mixes on the album making the album worth the purchase price alone. The overall sound of the album is clinical as you’d expect from the trio, and the quality of production and reverb is absolutely stunning. A pairing made for each other and well worth the wait, and a genuine hope that they will decide on a volume 2 in the not too distant future.
Outside The Echo Chamber is out now on Ahead Of Our Time.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.