After the, at least for me, relatively unsatisfying last album "Community Music" from 2000, here's the new ADF album, complete with a new line up. MC Deedar has really left the boat, leaving us forever guessing what this album would have sounded like with him. Instead, we now have two new rappers: Spex and Aktavatar, originally from Invasian but - now full fledged ADF members.
Percussionist Cyber also joins ADF, with drummer Rocky Singh; this is a great addition because ADF's live performances have always lacked some percussive elements and movement. On this album there's also a lot of well-known and less known guest musicians; we'll get to that, track by track:
Tracks / Reviews:
- Intro: N/A
- Fortress Europe: An angry, urgent beginning track, trying to sharpen our senses to what happens if the power is not in the hands of the people. Musically a bit boring, though I really like the voice of Ghetto Priest, who's singing the reggae part here.
- Rise To The Challenge: Fast theme tune of the rejuvenated ADF, nice rapping, generally in an uplifting mode. One might wonder why after the words: "d-d-d-drop the beats!" instead of really phat beatz they drop something else.
- La Haine: An aggressive dub rocker, slow but dangerous, the drumming reminds me a lot of John Bonham, although that guy never played along with tablas. The tune is about the very personal doubt of doing the right thing when given the power. The band were touring Europe playing live improvisat ions to cinema screenings of the "La Haine" Movie by Matthieu Kassovitz in 2002, that's likely where this piece developed.
- 1000 Mirrors: A slow TripHop Dub Thing, with the magnetic voice of Sinead O'Connor, grows on you after a few listens.
- 19 Rebellions: An uplifting quasi latin/ragga tune with brazil vocals, a clear collaboration with O Rappa: a brazil HipHop band they met on their tour of Brazil in 2001. This Tour was the first one in the new line up and had a lot to do with creating a new band spirit. Very good song.
- Blowback: An Afghani sample starts off one of the most important tunes of the album with two MCs showing their rhymes here..the flow seems a bit slow though. Very true lyrics though: "Blowback is the CIA term for the unintended consequences of secret operations. Or when the Monsters you've created, like Saddam, no longer serve your interests and start to bite you. September 11th was the biggest blowback of them all...". Go Ahead ADF! Tell them who is whose friend and who is the enemy of the enemy.
- 2 Face: Another slow thing,(compared with the high speed jungle riddims adf are dealing with usually) but with a lot of sublime power. I really like the rapping here. Do you get the impression that I have survived Mr. Zaman's [MC Deedar] departure now? This is a standout tune for the new Masters of Ceremony, Invasian. One wonders where the original Invasian material was left behind.
- Power To The Small Massive: The MC Collaboration Track: Invasian meets the Navigator meets ADF. Truly a unique thing here, the music is somewhere between jungle and ragga (sorry today it should be called drum n bass and dancehall for some reason) somehow catching up with the spirit of "Culture Move" (the best ever ADF tune possible), but not just a copy. Nice the way guitar and female vocals melt together. Rrrrraaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!!
- Dhol Rinse: "Bhangra Cyber" are the words here and that's just what it is, a showcase for the percussion section (who happen to be part of the Dhol Foundation). Instrumental Bhangra without a single Toombi? you might ask. Yup, ADF is a creative band, changing sometimes, but staying true to their style.
- Basta: Great, great uplifting tune...exciting! Just listen to that distorted tabla sound - no don't just listen, get up and move!!! Ok if I think about it, it's a cool straight 6/8 dub with horns and upfront vocals by Sonia Mehta, so this is where the 7/8 beat tune 'Scaling new Heights' from the last album did not go...cool stuff - the MCs and guitar n drums are breaking into the tune in true Rage against the Machine style, but this track is filled with different feelings and sounds. It's about unification from below, the underground uprising...frighteningly good!
- Cyberabad: Eastern dub instrumental with a Sonia Mehta vocal line that almost brings back memories of Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar, but in such a different setting...that fuzzed Tabla sound again, just wait till you hear it. I'm sure we'll hear more of this effect, just as it got hip to reverse Tabla after Talvin first did it.
- Enemy Of The Enemy: So this is the title track - personally I think it's a bit boring, just as the starting tune. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad one, just not the kind of stuff I would like to title-represent this very cool album.
Yes, ADF are really back and though they might be a bit too political to tour this album in the US, they deserve to be heard and danced to. Some of the conscious collaborators on this record include Ed O´Brien of RadioHead playing guitar on three tunes, Professor Strech of Underwolves fame twiddling the knobs and additional programming, Jazzwad also providing programming help and Krazie rapping in three of the songs. With all these collaborators one might wonder how many people are needed to fill up the hole left by small Deeder. They recorded a lot at On U sound studios in London, explaining why old friend Adrian "DUB" Sherwood gets the "Executive Producer" nod. Of Course, before I forget to say it, the big ADF spirit lies in the hands of Dr.Das, Chandrasonic, Sun-J and Pandit G. You can tell that easily by reading the author credits for the songs. I hear that Sun-J and Pandit-G are working on a dub version of the album. Would be cool to get this one out real soon! In my perception this is the best album they could have made with this line up, almost close to Rafi´s Revenge.
Finally, to Dr.Das: next time please give us a full dose of Harmonium.
I'm in a good mood now, so I'll give it a 10/10 rating...and not just to break with Gaurav's recent average 8/10 rating for just about everything! =)