Adrian Sherwood

Becoming a Cliché

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Producer Adrian Sherwood has spent the '80s, '90s and 2000s exerting an enormous influence on modern pop music, both as head of the avant-garde roots reggae hothouse known as On-U Sound Records and as producer and remixer to forward-thinking pop artists as diverse as Einsturzende Neubauten, Depeche Mode, Simply Red, and Nine Inch Nails. But it's taken almost that long for him to finally release an album under his own name. His first solo effort was 2003's multifariously brilliant Never Trust a Hippy; the follow-up finds him continuing to expand his musical horizons, keeping most of his grooves in an adventurously dubwise but still deeply rootsy reggae-funk vein while promiscuously incorporating any other musical tradition that happens to strike his fancy at the same time. Hence the jittery toasting of Lee "Scratch" Perry combined with mariachi horns on "Animal Magic," the Francophone reggae of "J'Ai Changé," and the juxtaposition of a corrosive Mark Stewart harangue with sweetly chanting monks on "Home Sweet Home" (and yes, that's the same plainchant sample he used on Stewart's "Hallelujah" back in the early '80s). If you can get your hands on it, spend a little extra for the limited-edition package, which includes a second disc of dub remixes. Essential.

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