Asian Dub Foundation
With each new album and concert performance, the initials ADF have come to stand for integrity, political engagement and the fusion of musical styles. Ever since the release of their first album Facts and Fiction in 1996, the collective - a label that fits them more snugly than 'group'- has been constantly evolving towards ever more ambitious projects, from giving rabble-rousing performances and drawing attention to sensitive issues, to adding new layers to its alloy of sounds. ADF's trajectory recalls those big boys of the British rock scene, The Clash. Although their early output failed to grab their public's imagination, the 'midi warriors', as they call themselves, now generate enthusiasm across the board.
With the inaugural sound system line-up including bassist and teacher Dr Das, DJ and civil rights activist, Pandit G, and Deedar Zaman, a brilliant MC from a London music school, Asian Dub Foundation established the building blocks of its cross-cultural identity in 1993. Soon joined by guitarist Chandrasonic and programming prodigy Sun J, the group moved from playing at anti-racist gigs to becoming major challengers on a British music scene still gripped by Britpop fever. ADF's members were all born in England to immigrant parents and share an open-minded approach to musical culture, from the latest electronic vibes and traditional Eastern sounds, to rebellious rhythms of punk rock and hip hop that express their everyday struggle for respect and tolerance.
Their charisma and social conscience have won praise from a whole host of major names in the music industry: ADF toured with Primal Scream after the release of their second album R.A.F.I. (1997), before being invited to provide the warm-up act at a David Bowie concert. The campaign for the release of Satpal Ram, an immigrant worker convicted of murder after defending himself from a racist attack, thrust them into the spotlight.
ADF was asked to perform at the Fuki Rock Festival in Japan, where the group
has always enjoyed an enthusiastic reception, before hitting the road with the
Beastie Boys. After the release of their third album,
Community Music (1999), the group was joined by drummer Rocky Singh
and Pritpal Rajput (who plays the Dohl, a traditional Panjabi drum), securing
their reputation for high energy live stage performances. Struck by the social
message of La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz's film about the lives of three teenagers
in the Paris suburbs (Ghotika), ADF re-wrote the soundtrack, which they
performed live at screenings of the film. Their most moving performance was on
31 March 2001 at the Barbican in London when Satpal Ram, released just the day
before, joined the band on stage.
The collective reveals once more that it is open to new sounds: Mad Mike from
the Detroit Underground Resistance (founded with Jeff Mills), another great name
in the realm of integrity, collaborated on Powerlines while Tomorrow Begins
Today takes an original reggae stance. Melody 7, the album's closing
instrumental piece, recalls the group's work on the soundtrack for La Haine,
which they have taken up again with La Bataille d'Alger, a film banned in France
on its release in 1965 because of its political stance. And it's still hot
stuff: the Pentagon viewed the film in 2003 as part of its fight against rebel
groups in Iraq.
Facts and Fictions (Nation Records, 1995)
|World Fusion, Electronic, Dub|