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On-U Sound In The Area

Act Voice Of Authority

The Very Big In America Right Now LP
The "Very Big In America Right Now" LP

With just one album to their name, Voice Of Authority were a passing phenomenon, but one where Adrian Sherwood continued to break new sonic ground. The Editor divulges what he knows about this most mysterious of On-U projects:

Voice Of Authority were yet another of those non-bands whose name roamed the corridors of On-U HQ in the 1982-4 period in the same ilk as Playgroup and the unforgettable Missing Brazilians. In truth for all of them, these labels were more like working titles for particular collaborations of recording musicians in a world that insisted on hanging a name on any group of people who happen to release a record. As such their names are most likely the product of the fertile imaginations of whoever was in the room at the time an answer was needed rather than a considered attempt at wit or something deep and meaningful!

The sound of On-U Sound in the period was one very much of taking the experimental nature a-la New Age Steppers and developing it one stage further with quirky samples, distortion, unexpected twists and turns, electronic ditties and sudden tape winds all lending their part to making an edgy but fresh listening experience.

As for those responsible for the music - it's a selection of "the usual suspects" along side Sherwood - like Kishi Yamamoto, Nick Plytas, Mark Stewart, Charlie "Eskimo Fox", Evar Wellington and probably many others. Voice Of Authority's only 'solo' releases were a 1984 album 'Very Big In America Right Now' (V.B.I.A.R.N.) (ON-U LP35) and an accompanying 12" single - both of which were licensed to Cherry Red Records. Looking back, Cherry Red say of the album:

"Dubbed the first in a series of Science Fiction Dancehall Classics, this was actually the last record released under our collaboration with Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound. Released originally at a time when Adrian was working with such artists as Depeche Mode it still retains the On-U Sound dedication to charting new territory."

Pay It All Back Volume 1
"Pay It All Back Volume 1"

Spinning the album today, it still sounds as off-beat and timeless as it did when it first came out. As for the giant roasted peanut adorning the cover of the original vinyl edition - you'll just have to give it a listen if it doesn't make sense! Beyond the album and it's single, the only other Voice Of Authority utterance was the track 'Fuh Fuh' on 'Pay It All Back Volume 1' (ON-U LP37), the first in the classic series of On-U Sound's own promotional compilations, first released in 1984. Its writing credit is taken entirely by one Daniel Miller, owner of Mute Records with whom Sherwood had close links through the Mark Stewart licensing connection.

At the time of it's release in November of that year, as many of the old order started to go their separate ways, Sherwood had recently met Keith LeBlanc for the first time. This was to sow the seeds of the next generation of On-U-Sound and insure that in its next phase, the beat would most definitely be the king.

(Cherry Red's quote taken from their website:

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
Tribal Drift
Voice Of Authority
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