Of all of the releases in On-U Sound’s new African Head Charge reissues series, Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi is probably the most exciting. This set contains rarities, studio experiments and versions made by Adrian Sherwood and Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah around the time of their seminal LPs Songs Of Praise (1990) and In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land (1993). A companion volume to the 2016 African Head Charge full-length Return Of The Crocodile which shone a light on early rarities from the band.
Given that Songs Of Praise is held up as the gold-standard for African Head Charge’s brand of dubwise sonic skulduggery, and In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land saw the group producing some of their most accessible work, it is no surprise that Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi is a somewhat varied set. For each swampy, ultra-psychedelic riddim here you also get tracks that are, by African Head Charge standards, almost verging on pop music - the rolling, atmospheric ‘Dub Some More’, for instance. On-U Sound archivist Patrick Dokter;s expert sequencing means that these opposing forces help rather than hinder one another, the darker tracks making the lighter ones shine brighter and vice-versa. Vinyl editions of Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi come with a double-sided poster and an interview with Noah about his early life.
This one’s a vital cop for fans of both the band and label alike.