Coldcut x On-U Sound ‎’Outside The Echo Chamber’ 8×7″/LP/CD/DIG (Ahead Of Our Time) 5/5

When two sound producers, that have left huge Yetty like imprints everywhere for the last four decades get together, the expectations are always high and ‘Outside the Echo Chamber’ Coldcut x On-U Sound rises to the challenge and even goes beyond it. It’s the x between the names that makes this a different release which is also available as a limited edition of 7 inch singles with dubs, CD and digital release.

Bringing together a range of vocalists, Roots Manuva, Lee Perry, Chiezidek, Junior Reid, Hamsika Iyer and Ce’Cile you can’t go wrong. Combine that with bass rattling dub cuts and this is a DJ/Selector’s dream come true. ‘Vitals’, ‘Divide and Rule’, ‘Make Up Your Mind’, ‘Kajra Mohobbat Wala’, ‘Everyday Another Sanction’ – tune after tune. Sheer sonic quality.

Obviously, given their lengthy CVs this is not a ‘dub by numbers’ type project as Coldcut and On-U Sound, with decades of experience behind them, have always been busy pushing the envelopes, thinking out of the box, experimenting, tweaking things and coming up with a whole heap of rhythms and releases in the process. Thematic variety gives this release a breath of fresh air. Love themes sit alongside the weight of history in ‘Divide and Rule’ and while picking out a standout mind-blowing track is tricky there are a couple that rise above the rest. The remake of ‘Kajra Mohobbat Wala’ – an old Hindu-Urdu Bollywood love song featuring Hamsika Iyer – dropped at the right time and blended with the dub is just monumental through a big sound system. Then there’s ‘Vitals’ featuring Roots Manuva, the lyrics wordsmith that flows like a river. This is a powerful in-your-face number with a beat and Dub that sound like a musical spaghetti of different sounds and influences.

‘Make Up Your Mind’ comes in two vocal versions, which is a unique way of approaching things. The woman and man’s take and the dub, tweaked accordingly along gender and narrative lines. Finally, Chezidek on ‘Everyday Another Sanction’ sums up so many contemporary Babylonian societies that pressure and exploit poor people for the sake of profit for the few who are obsessed with ‘waking up to money’. It’s also the closest you get to a ‘roots’ Reggae tune on this release. This is not meant as a gripe as the diversity of sounds on this release is a blessing. It’s just meant as a hint, should you want to drop this inna dance as heads will swivel, and ask ‘who’s that?’. Long may their flags fly, together and apart. Big respect to On-U Sound and Coldcut.

Haji Mike