When this baby landed in my Inbox, my first thoughts on first play were, where do I know this from, trawling the memory banks I’d actually caught them twice live, once with Dreadzone in Bristol and again at the Reading festival in 2000, my overriding memory was what am I watching!!!!! At the time they were so far out on a limb from what I was actually listening to it was surreal. I mean imagine Breakbeats, Hip Hop, heavy Dub all underpinned with an obvious Bangra influence. I think it showed how different they actually were, they toured with Radiohead on the Hail to the Thief tour.
Now from those jarring live memories listening to Rafi’s Revenge I can appreciate what they were trying to do and how seamlessly those influences blend together, still giving you something that is still out on its own and something that probably can’t be imitated.
Remember this LP and band were quoted in NME Upon original release as “the most important band in Britain” as did the Sunday Times calling them “ the most exciting band in Britain right now, whatever the context”, while the Melody Maker said discovering Rafi’s Revenge is like “finding ice-cold vain in the middle of the Kalahari. No not just good, fucking brilliant”.
The great thing is that even now I think those words still hold up and these guys blew the doors wide open for musical exploration and innovation, the cultural melting point for music is huge and when it all comes together cannot help but influence.
Rafi’s Revenge originally peaked at number 20 on the UK Albums Chart and was shortlisted for the 1998 Mercury Music Prize, with Bobby Gillespie hailing them at the time as ‘the best live act in Britain’. I think that’s the enuff said moment. Check it out for your self, see if you call out the bands that they ended up influencing.
But this re-issue of Rafi’s Revenge, coming out as a double CD or Double white vinyl LP has a hidden pleasure a second LP called Under the Influence a selection of tracks from Adrian Sherwood put together from Rare, unissued and re-mastered tracks. This LP has to be heard to be believed and runs the original release close and makes you wonder why its taken so long to step out of the vaults, the heavy Dub bass lines, the Indian influence within the guitar, all drag you in to the samples which conjure up images of the Orb and any number of “pioneers”, who all drew down from the Adrian Sherwood Pallette.
This is a seriously good double pack, whether you are a fan, looking to see how the music holds up, or someone who’s heard the name in passing in connection to something else, you need to own this. It’s rare to say but the music hasn’t aged at all and in fact in a Pre-Brexit Britain, the modern cultural identity about to be ravaged beyond belief we need to listen to bands like Asian Dub Foundation to remind ourselves what we’re going to lose. As Relevant now as when it was first released, simply stunning.
Buy Rafi’s Revenge Here
Author: Nev Brooks