Anarchist Emma Goldman said, "if I can't dance, it's not my revolution." This sentiment lies at the core of Community Music. At the intersection of dub, punk, funk, reggae, dancehall, Bollywood, and political polemic you'll find Asian Dub Foundation. And you most certainly can dance to it. Community Music is thick with speaking Truth to Power while ADF storms the Bastille with an awe-inspiring musical ferocity and their crystalline political vision. The first half of Community Music is fierce and unrelenting in its musical influences, construction, and politics. From the thunderous opening cut, "Real Great Britain," you're left in no uncertain terms where the politics of ADF lie or how passionately they hold them. Sharp observations on the current state of capitalism, politics, and race in Britain form the focal point of the CD. The blistering exposé of police incompetence on "Officer XX" refers to the botched Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry, while set to a simple guitar and drum pattern. The stirring dub-electronic account of how second-generation immigrants to Britain have emerged both influenced and in turn influencing Cool Britannia, on "New Way, New Life," makes it one of their strongest songs to date. While on the opposite side of the same coin, "Memory War" illustrates that the immigrant communities are not a new form of British citizen, and their contributions must be included in the official histories of the island. The second half slows the pace gradually, stretching the musical genres further and encouraging dancing. "Crash" is a didactic dub reggae dance groove critique of global capitalism that blazes out in a frenzy of jungle drums and punk guitar. As an ode to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a seminal figure in the emergence of "Eastern" music to Western ears and one given a much-deserved shout-out by ADF, the piece "Taa Deem" has appeared in a slightly different version on Star Rise, a remix collection of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's material by a who's who of contemporary British Asian musicians. The shuffling dance grooves and rap of "Rebel Warrior" call to mind the Stereo MC's. A further illustration of their politics, if needed, by Assata Shakur, who is invited to give a personal account of her revolutionary beliefs, to "struggle because committed to life." Community Music ends with an expansive electronic dub coda. As "England's new voice," calling for intellectual self-defense and self- awareness ADF represents the potential future. Community Music should be in every thinking person's collection, directly between the Clash and Public Enemy.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Grimshaw