A Trip To Bolgatanga

20/07/2023Singular Experimental Dub Project African Head Charge Returns From A Twelve-Year Hiatus

Right on time for a new generation of listeners to become acquainted with their broad palette of psychoactive sounds, African Head Charge are back with another album on Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound. With a discography reaching back to the project's mind-bending 1981 debut LP "My Life in a Hole in the Ground" – playing on "both the title and concept of David Byrne and Brian Eno's "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" – their latest feat follows a twelve-year hiatus. A long-running collaborative effort between English dub producer Adrian Sherwood and Jamaican master percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah, African Head Charge now return boasting a wealth of fresh ideas, layered rhythms and expansive soundscapes, glued together by a unique vision and hypnotic pulse.

"A Trip to Bolgatanga" is, quite literally, "a musical journey to Bonjo's current hometown in north Ghana. A travelogue across the landscape featuring their trademark hand percussion and group chanting augmented with rumbling bass, mutated horns, dubbed out effects, wild wah-wah, haunted voodoo dancehall, synthetic swells, disco congas, tumbling layers of electronic effects, blues-inflected woodwind, and funky organ." Listening to their vibrant compositions, rich in detail and full of soul, is like a scavenger hunt in sound, where one clue chases the next, as if following some sort of ancient blueprint or greater spiritual plan. Until the odd sample throws a curveball, reminding you to not take things all too seriously. 

It may not come as a surprise then, that the only guest artist joining AHC on their expedition is Bolgatanga's very own King Ayisoba,"shamanic performer and restless sonic experimenter," and an absolute icon in his own right. That being said, the sound on this record is textbook and sure to silence any remaining doubt. Best slap on some headphones or hook up an actual sound system to fully appreciate the African Head Charge experience because class is in session. You know, each one teach one.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom