Album of the Week: Various Artists – Sherwood at the Controls Volume 2 1985-1990

What is it: A collection of Adrian Sherwood’s greatest production credits between 1985 – 1990
What does it sound like: Adrian Sherwood being consumed by his machines.
When and where does it sound best: In a comfy chair through a immense sound system.

This collection of tracks from Adrian Sherwood, comes from a time when the famed producer took a little departure from the world of dub-reggae, applying the techniques he’d mastered from that genre to Electro, Hip-Hop and IDM for his On-U label. The compilation features tracks from the likes of Ministry, Lee Scratch Perry and his own Tackhead project, bubbling with the ferocity of the eighties, driven along by the raw machine aesthetic of that era. For those familiar with Sherwood’s work it offers a new perspective on the artist and producer, and for those who are new to Sherwood’s work this compilation offers a very comprehensive view of the man at work and his focus on the noise within the music. It showcases the multi-faceted ability of this self-proclaimed “tone-deaf” producer and the distinct sound he cultivated as Adrian Sherwood. The compilation is segmented in four distinct sections that include Hip-Hop, Outernational Beats, IDM, and of course Dub. Although this latter genre is where Sherwood made the most significant contribution to music, what this compilation puts forth is that there is clearly no end or limit to his talent.

Sherwood at the controls is a melting pot of influences and a rich tapestry of music that will keep you thoroughly entertained as you take a musical journey through the producer’s history. There’s a little something for everybody in there, and will undoubtedly open up new conspiring worlds to the listener too. It’s all held together with Adrian Sherwood’s distinct machine-focussed assault and their larger than life personalities. Whereas Volume 1 of the series introduced us to the idea of the legitimacy of Sherwood’s status as a musical legend, this volume solidifies it.