AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE
A Trip To Bolgatanga (On-U Sound)
This leftfield dub project of over 40 years’ standing began in the UK, its ‘African’ status conferred more by spirit than anything tangible, but founder member Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah later emigrated to Ghana, whose music and culture is crucial to the first African Head Charge studio album since 2011. The group, formed around a core of Bonjo and influential producer Adrian Sherwood, get off to a flyer by enlisting the brilliant Ghanian kologo player King Ayisoba on A Trip To Bolgatanga’s opening track A Bad Attitude.
With the King’s frantic, rustic strumming returns for the penultimate number Never Regret A Day, overall A Trip To Bolgatanga (named after the town where Bonjo lives) offers a Ghanian twist on the established African Head Charge sound, with a wealth of polyrhythmic percussion wedded to luxurious dub/reggae melodies. Passing Clouds is an especially fine example of this, all musicians and engineers involved bring heat to an arrangement that opens up like a crocus.
words NOEL GARDNER