Asian Dub Foundation

Frontline 1993-1997: Rarities & Remixes

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Since it was released shortly after Asian Dub Foundation was cut from the London roster, fans were probably expecting this to be a typical post-contract assortment of outtakes, alternate versions, B-sides, and remixes from albums and singles the band made for that label. But instead, it focuses mainly on material from an earlier period in the group's career, offering remixes of tracks from their Nation album Facts and Fictions as well as B-sides from the same period. (An early version of "Operation Eagle Lie," which later appeared in a slightly superior version on Rafi's Revenge, is on the program as well.) The remixes are mostly what you'd expect: frenetic jungle excursions and rock-hard hip-hop reconceptualizations of songs like "Strong Culture" and "Change a Gonna Come," all of them taking the band's punk-funk-bhangra-reggae fusion and turning it upside down and sideways, sometimes drawing the listener's ear to the band's political messages and sometimes focusing on the music itself, manipulating the dhol and other Indian elements the way Jamaican producers played with keyboards and bass. Unfortunately, most of the mixes end up downplaying Deedar Zaman's powerful vocals. No Asian Dub Foundation fan should hesitate, though.

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