Creation Rebel – 4D Records – 1980

Starship Africa

Space Movement

An absolutely smashing LP.

Some seriously spaced out reggae tracks, recorded way before this kind of sound was popular in Dub reggae circles. This LP, recorded in 1978, released in 1980, was one of the first LPs to showcase the kind of Dub that would become popular a couple of years later on in the decade, with help from a clutch of  Scientist LPs, various On U Sound LPs by Dub Syndicate and a little later on in the mid 1980’s various digidub releases by Manasseh, Disciples, Lidj Incorporated, Sound Iration and Alpha And Omega. 

The first two Creation Rebel LPs both released on Hitrun Records are also uploaded on this site if you care to use the search function to locate them as are several other ONU Sound releases.

Text below written by Steve Barker and ripped onto this site courtesy of 

Creation Rebel’s first album “Dub from Creation” (APLP 9001) was released in March of 1978. The original band, featuring the drummer Eric “Fish” Clarke, had been a studio outfit known as the Arabs, now primarily remembered for their work on the classic dub set “Crytuff Dub Encounter Chapter 1” (APLP 9002). The rhythm tracks for this album had been laid in Jamaica but the overdubs were worked up at the Gooseberry Studios in London. “Fish” left for Jamaica when these sessions were complete, leaving the group of remaining musicians preparing for duty as Prince Far I’s backing group for the DJ’s tour of Europe scheduled to start later in the year.

At this time the group comprised of “Lizard” Logan (replacing the original bassist Clinton Jack), “Crucial” Tony on guitar, Clifton “Bigga” Morrison on keyboards and Dr Pablo on melodica – which left an urgent vacancy on drums! Introduced to the band via Far I & Prince Records in Jamaica was a young man who had just completed his stint in the Jamaican army – Lincoln Valentine Scott a.k.a. “Style” – who, over the ensuing few years was to become the most in-demand session drummer in reggae and key member of the Roots Radics whose rhythms would dominate the scene between the end of the golden period of roots through to the digital age of the mid-eighties and onwards. Scotty of course also went on to form the nucleus of Dub Syndicate who have since recorded extensively for Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound.

In late 1978 Sherwood and Creation Rebel recorded “Starship Africa” (ON-U LP 8). Not released for the first time until 1980 the album still stands alone musically in reggae where it has no cerebral equivalent. “Starship Africa” can be interpreted critically as forming the third point of a sonic triangle equilaterally occupied by the disparate output of Grateful Dead and Tangerine Dream. A magnet for Headz which retains its stoned power today, the album mixed the customary drum and bass with ambient washes and industrial noise – all within a minimal framework.

The album’s story goes something like this. Just after the completion of the “Dub from Creation” LP, the young Sherwood found himself with the basic Creation Rebel cutting a bunch of rhythms in the studio for a character with the wonderful name of DJ Superstar – a contemporary of the Mexicano, and also rapping on top of funked up reggae rhythms. Most of these tunes had bass lines from Tony Henry of Misty In Roots. Sherwood had hummed the bass lines and Tony has re-created them – hence the melodic quality of the bass lines on the finished tracks.

What happened to these original tracks, who knows. But two years later Sherwood and Chris Garland, a friend from Cheltenham, were starting up a record company / agency in London’s Soho with the strange name of 4D Rhythms. The agency side of the business was to run acts like Dexy’s and Medium Medium, but they were also desperate to get some vinyl out on the street. In fact so desperate that Sherwood turned to the bunch of rhythms he had created a couple of years earlier, which up to that time he had considered quite “lame”. They were up for transformation!

Style Scott, in from Jamaica, did not so much overdub but played live over the original drum tracks from Charlie “Eskimo Fox”. Freed from the stylistic requirements of the Roots Radics, Scotty was encouraged to loosen-up and lay rolls and splashes all over the tracks in his now inimitable style. Six percussionists, that is the rest of the musicians and engineers and whoever was around the studio appeared phasing in and out of one channel, creating a trippy treble effect – which hid the fact that they were all out of time. Amongst these players was Sucker, a friend of Del from Osibisa, who occasionally gives the percussion mix a rich calypso feel.

When the album was being mixed Chris was urging Adrian to get madder “more reverb, more delay…”. But nothing could be so mad as the idea to mix the tracks blind. That is – turn over the quarter inch tape on the deck and feed in the effects and run the mix backwards, turn it back over for the finished product and somehow it made a crazy kind of sense. So much so that the mix was finished in one day! On the original vinyl there was just one track listed for each side. The title track was credited as a “soundtrack from a forthcoming motion picture”. One theory is that this little fantasy in the mind of Sherwood could very well have worked its way into the brain of one William Gibson, author of “Neuromancer” the classic debut cyberspace novel published in 1984. As reading that book now one can only hear Creation Rebel’s “Starship Africa” pounding out of the in-flight sound system on board the dread-crewed space-tug Marcus Garvey.

The band’s album “Close Encounters Of The Third World” (APLP 9008) on Hitrun had Prince Jammy credited with the mixdown, with Mr Sherwood referred to in the credits as “technician”. The release of the “Rebel Vibrations” album (APLP 9004) in 1979 preceded “Starship Africa” by over a year. Both sets were instrumental dub affairs and can now be appreciated as largely experimental in their approach, described in an unusually articulate phase by Mr Sherwood as exploring:

“…the unique possibilities of space in sound within the disciplined structures of rhythm, using bass line melodies and relying as much on the understated side of the overall result as on the overstated…”

The remainder of 1979 found Creation Rebel as anchor band for Prince Far I, Jah Woosh, Prince Hammer and Bim Sherman, all were featured in a non-stop three hour show which took to the road as the “Roots Encounter” tour. However, with the arrival of the eighties the band’s members were to tour less and less and eventually become disentangled as a creative outfit. Part of the explanation is, of course, that a working musician may have to go through many mutations in order to earn a living in the business.

Part of this inevitable phenomenon for members of Creation Rebel was that individually they also contributed to the musical existence of a whole bunch of other bands, most of whom were associated with Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound – the Maffia, New Age Steppers, Singers And Players, African Head Charge, Playgroup, Noah House Of Dread, Undivided Roots etc as well as the customary stints as backing musicians for visiting stars from Jamaica.

The “Psychotic Jonkanoo” album (ON-U LP 4) preceded the band’s final set by less than a year (“Lows And Highs” (ON-U LP 15) on Cherry Red Records in July 1982). The material consists of a fairly standard array of conscious style chants, delivered mostly by “Crucial” Tony in a militant style with harmonies from the band often reminiscent of Black Uhuru – especially on the opening track “The Dope”, where we also have the added bonus of “Deadly” Headley’s stylish sax intertwining with the vocal lines. The whole feel of the album is raised to a higher creative level by the arrangement and production which is clean, crisp and inventive – especially on the instrumental versions, “African Space” features a wah-wah guitar in almost restrained fashion!

“Threat To Creation” is not only the dub to the preceding “Chatti Mouth” but also provided the title to the band’s shared album with the New Age Steppers which appeared in November of the same year (ON-U LP 7). In fact the bass line for “Threat to Creation” slows down to provide the pulse for the most psyched out On-U dub of all time “Chemical Specialist” [Rhythm 8], whereas the title track suddenly assumes a different identity altogether! “Mother Don’t Cry” features one Lydon on vocal harmony, a duty for which Johnny Rotten was not renowned, although he had previously assisted the great Dr Alimantado with similar input!

This post is dedicated to Alistair Livingstone A.K.A Al Puppy (and also for a brief time Al A) one of the founding fathers of the Puppy Collective, ex gaffer at All The Madmen Records, ‘Punk Lives’ journo and also co-contributor to this KYPP site.

Happy 51st Birthday for today Al, hope you have a relaxing day up there over the border in Scoty Land.

  1. Nic
    September 30, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Many Happy Returns Al!

    (Great record too, P: a deep listener)

  2. Carl
    September 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Happy Birthday Al.

    As for Steve Barker, is he the same legend that was on Radio Lancs in the early 80’s ??

  3. dan i
    dan i
    September 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Steve Barker is still on the wire up on Radio Lancs and online (google him).

    Happy birthday Al and super to put this one up – absolute classic from Creation rebel – and half of it is backwards too!

  4. dan i
    dan i
    October 2, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Any KYPPers in the Oxford area

    Friday 30 Oct – DJ Nicky Tesco (The Members) joins Ranking Ross for a night of revival reggae at East Oxford Community Centre, Cowley Road, Oxford. Licensed until 3am.

  5. baron von zubb
    baron von zubb
    October 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Out there then
    and still good.

  6. Sam
    October 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Didn’t you have some connection with The Members Jake? I remember you telling some story about groupie excesses (not involving yourself I hasten to add).

  7. baronvonzubb
    October 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    jesus, you, brotha sam have the scariest of memories.
    how the hell can you remember that?
    we interviewed nicky tesco for a (imaginary) fanzine, before a gig out of town somewhere.
    got invited to their hotel after the gig.
    their bassist at the time was borrowed from Eddie & The Hot rods, some rocker with long hair and a groupie on his arm.
    i commented on this and one of their mates, a nice bloke actually, I dunno what he was, a kind of ‘fixer’ boasted to us of this really gruesome story of sexual revelry involving groupies and orafices i’d never imagined might be erotic…
    sounded all too plausable. quite vile. even then ‘punker than thou ‘ as i was, i found it very gross.
    creation rebel were brought to me by you as it goes mate. and they’re still so much better than the members!

  8. baronvonzubb
    October 18, 2009 at 10:55 am

    it still takes a genuine leap of the imagination to appreciate what the fun content was in the above story, none of the obvious sexual proclivaties covered it.
    i guess that when i thought the band were called ‘the members’ as a sort of comment on the loss of individulaity in an oppresive social system, I got it a bit wrong…

  9. Sam
    October 19, 2009 at 3:03 am

    I’ve still got that Creation Rebel dub album somewhere. Creation Rebel were a strangely ‘white’ sounding reggae band. Keith Levine played guitar on it I think. I listened to it a lot but it didn’t seem to work very well. Only track I remember on it was something called ‘Last Sane Dream’ (LSD?). It sounded quite Public Image funnily enough. It did come out during the darkness that was the winter of 1981/2 though, so maybe that colours it for me. Wish I had a better short-term memory. I’m absent minded as fuck these days.

  10. Sam
    October 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Think the album was called ‘Threat to Creation’.

  11. Nic
    October 21, 2009 at 8:44 am

    ‘Threat to Creation’ is the collaborative New Age Steppers / Creation Rebel LP, Sam…Among others, it features Levene, Ari Up and Bruce Smith…It’s good stuff…

    I went down to ‘that London’ to see an On U Sound party (in December 1989, iirc), and they got Keith Levene and Jah Wobble onstage to play with them: great stuff…

  12. Sam
    October 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks Nic and Penguin. I bought something else by a conglomorate called ‘Singers and Players’ which was really good. Many of the mainly vocal tracks from that seem to have been the ones turned into dub tracks for Threat to Creation. It was produced by the same geezer who produced the Last Words long playing phonographic record.

  13. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    May 5, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Wow! How did I miss this? Love this band. I tend to mainly listen to old school dub reggae these days. In fact, I can’t get enough of it. Thanks again, Penguin.

  14. dan i
    dan i
    May 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Keep hunting on here Ray, there’s plenty of it.

    Nic, Wobble and Levene keep popping up every few years at On-U events and tracks. Neneh Cherry turned up at an On-U party I went to in Manchester.

  15. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    May 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    As Dan mentioned above Kerr whole load more of the good shit uploaded onto this site for you to check out, if you have not done so already.

    Here is a search for reggae, “it does what it says on the tin”.

    Just scroll and scroll till you find something you may not have heard for a while inc more Creation Rebel LPs and 10″ plates.

  16. gilmar benevenuto
    gilmar benevenuto
    April 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    long life for CREATION REBEL. long life for every lovers of punk rock and reggae. eternal life for Ari Up; no more nuclear war. no more apartheid. no more dictators. friends, I wanna more notices. sex and freedom for you. 18-04-2013.

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