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On-U Sound In The Area

Act The Circuit

Steve Beresford in recent times
Steve Beresford in recent times

The Editor talks about one of On-U Sound's more obscure working-title projects from the label's early days:

The Circuit was centred around a collaboration between Adrian Sherwood (often referred to in this era as "the Prisoner") and Steve Beresford in the 1982-84 period. Steve, probably best known for his work with David Toop (General Strike), first worked with Sherwood around the time of the dawn of On-U as a member of the one-time 17-strong New Age Steppers line up. The idea behind The Circuit was to provide a 'house band' centred around Steve on synths, guitars and beatbox for releases on On-U Sound's early 1980s sub-imprint, MIXOUT - according to one press release at the time of its launch, a label intended to be the home of "innovative dance music".

Unlike many of the other virtual groups of the day with an experimental brief - such as Playgroup, the Missing Brazilians and Voice Of Authority, the work of The Circuit was mostly unreleased. Their only album, "Presenting The Circuit" (ON-U LP 32), was first scheduled for September 1983 and then November 1984, but failed to materialise; the suggestion-why being the loss of the master tape in transit to the USA. Having said that, a number of the unreleased tracks still exist. The only track from that project to see full light of day, and also the only released track credited to The Circuit alone, is "Loudspeaker" which appeared on the first of On-U's "Pay It All Back" compilations (ON-U LP 37).

The 'Aiming At Your Heart' Entertainment Plate
The "Aiming At Your Heart" single

Of the three other singles expected to appear bearing their name, two provided backing for the then teenage Shara Nelson, and only one of those was released - "Aiming At Your Heart" (ON-U MIX 2). This release is interesting in an On-U Sound historical sense since it was intended to be one of a series of 'MIXOUT Entertainment Plates'. In the end, however, the series was aborted and it ended up being the only one to gain a full release in its intended form. On final analysis, it is the short life of MIXOUT that provides the most likely explanation for The Circuit's occasional, charmed existence.

The remaining release credited to Akabu And The Circuit, "Watch Yourself", was to have been the first in the series (ON-U MIX 1). Though a single-figure number of test pressings bearing this catalogue number were produced in the UK, it was only ever fully released in remixed form in the USA via Tom "Tommy Boy" Silverman's subsidiary label - Bodyrock after a last minute trans-Atlantic deal was struck. The publicity surrounding this release made particular note that this was the first Tommy Boy related recording to have been sourced from outside the USA.

The collaboration between Akabu, The Circuit and Tom Silverman had one final and long lasting repercussion for Sherwood, for it culminated in him visiting New York in 1984 to work on the mixes. While at a conference during his stay he first met Keith LeBlanc, who also happened to be working with Silverman at the time. The result was that Keith and his musical colleagues Doug Wimbish and Skip McDonald would eventually move to London to work with Sherwood full time. Thus the Tackhead and Fats Comet chapters of On-U history were kicked-off - but that's another story...

2 Badcard
Adrian Sherwood
African Head Charge
Andy Fairley
Annie Anxiety / Little Annie
Audio Active
Barmy Army
Bim Sherman
Charlie "Eskimo Fox"
Creation Rebel
Deadly Headley
Doug Wimbish
Dub Syndicate
Gary Clail
Ghetto Priest
Harry Beckett
Jeb Loy Nichols
Jesse Rae
Judy Nylon
Junior Delgado / Jux
Keith LeBlanc
Lee "Scratch" Perry
Little Axe / Skip McDonald
Little Roy
London Underground
Mark Stewart / Maffia
Missing Brazilians
New Age Steppers
Noah House Of Dread
Revolutionary Dub Warriors
Samia Farah
Singers And Players
Strange Parcels
Tackhead / Fats Comet
The Circuit
    . Biography
Tribal Drift
Voice Of Authority

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