A resurgent 2015 sees O.G. dubhead and On-U-sound main honcho Adrian Sherwood put out a series of reissues of sound-defining music from African Head Charge – the seminal group started by percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah nearly 40 years ago.
My Life In A Hole In The Ground was first released in 1981 – a real way back. It stands as a testament to the invariably forward-thinking nature of the group and Mr Sherwood that the album still feels so fresh today – Stebeni’s Theme is a straight-stepping, forward-marching 4×4 excursion, a miasma of hand-drum polyrhythms and ambiguous vocal phrases.
My Life In A Hole In The Ground plays on both the title and concept of David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Built upon sparse backing tracks constructed by Adrian Sherwood, the producer invited Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah (who had studied under Count Ossie in the rasta drumming camp at Wareika Hill in Jamaica) to lay down hand percussion patterns and breaks on top, augmented by stereo-strafed effects and the occasional burst of Sun Ra-style horns. The result is a unique mixture of traditional African rhythms, dub and free jazz. Features DJ favourite “Stebeni’s Theme” and “Far Away Chant”, used to famously gruesome effect by David Lynch in the film Wild At Heart.