The product of the fertile and prolific British producer, mixmaster, and dub genius Adrian Sherwood, Creation Rebel was one of Sherwood’s first endeavors as a producer. Originally the backing group for the late reggae great Prince Far-I, Creation Rebel worked with Sherwood from 1977-1980, recording some of the best reggae dub music this side of Lee Perry during the early English punk era. Languorous, funky, spacy, and totally intoxicating, it’s exciting to hear the awesome production/mixing talents of Sherwood in their early days. Similarly, the band (drummers Style Scott and Fish Clarke, bassist Clinton Jack, keyboardist Bigga Morrison, guitarist Crucial Tony, and percussionist Slicker) play with a grace, effortlessness, and power that most studio bands would kill to achieve. With the band’s talents so wonderfully used by Sherwood, this is without a doubt some of the best and most important non-rock music to be made in England in the late ’70s.
Originally recorded in 1978 (following the recording of Dub from Creation), the mighty Starship Africa was already envisioned as the debut album by one DJ Superstar, toasting over a series of rhythms performed by the basic Creation Rebel unit, with Misty in Roots’ Tony Henry on superbly melodic bass. These original tapes have long since vanished — the project was canceled (Adrian Sherwood declared the results “lame”) and it would be another two years before he returned to them, while casting around for the maiden release by a new label he was involved with, 4D Rhythms. Remixing and re-recording the rhythms saw Jamaican drummer Style Scott recruited to play live over Charlie Eskimo Fox’s original tapes; an additional half a dozen percussionists, drawn from whoever happened to be in the studio at the time, were additionally overdubbed, with Sherwood camouflaging their basic lack of timing and rhythm by employing some truly wild phasing and echo. Indeed, his 4D Rhythms partner Chris Garland allegedly spent most of the session encouraging Sherwood to take the effects as far from the norm as he could, to the ultimate extent of mixing the tracks blind. The result is an album that has been compared to acts as far afield as Tangerine Dream and the Grateful Dead, a truly spaced-out dub experience that, spread over just two tracks (albeit broken down into five and four movements apiece), stands among the most intriguing of all Sherwood’s earliest creations — so much so that one is not even disappointed by the ultimately undelivered promise that side one’s “Starship Africa” was the soundtrack to a forthcoming movie. That it never happened was Hollywood’s loss, not the music’s.
-John Dougan, Dave Thompson, allmusic.com
Creation Rebel-STARSHIP AFRICA (1980)