On-U Sound are proud to present a comprehensive reissue programme of four albums from New Age Steppers, as well as an album of rare dubs, version excursions and unreleased tracks from the vault, recorded between 1980 – 1983. New Age Steppers were the group that launched the On-U Sound label with the first album and single, New Age Steppers were a collective with an evolving line-up, built around the driving forces of Ari Up (The Slits) and producer Adrian Sherwood. Their records featured contributions from several singers and players from the UK post-punk vanguard such as the Pop Group, The Raincoats and The Flying Lizards; colliding with established movers from the reggae world such as Bim Sherman, Style Scott and George Oban.
The 5 albums included are ‘New Age Steppers’ (1981), ‘Action Battlefield’ (1981), ‘Foundation Steppers’ (1983), ‘Love Forever’ (2012), and ‘Avant Gardening’ (2021)
In line with 2020’s African Head Charge Re-issue programme, all 5 albums will be available on vinyl, with Love Forever available on vinyl for the first time. On top of this, there are a limited number clear vinyl editions of all 5 albums, available while stocks last.
Both clear and black vinyl albums come with a download card and printed inner sleeve, featuring new sleevenotes and interviews by Oli Warwick.
Alongside the vinyl albums, there is a 5CD anthology box set, ‘Stepping Into A New Age 1980 – 2012’ including all 5 albums and a 32 page book containing photos, ephemera and a new sleevenotes by Oli Warwick that trace the history of the group via conversations with Adrian Sherwood and other contributors.
In the tradition of archival On-U Sound compilations of recent years such as the Return Of The Crocodile and Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi sets for African Head Charge; and the Displaced Masters LP of early Dub Synidcate rarities, we’ve gone through the tape vaults to put together this special record of unreleased versions and rarities from the white hot early days of the New Age Steppers, the group that launched the On-U Sound label by appearing on both the first single and album.
Highlights include a restored track from their infamous and long-lost 1983 John Peel session (an ebullient cover of Atlantic Starr’s “Send For Me” featuring a beautifully spirited vocal performance from the much-missed Ari Up), the Jah Woosh deejay cut of “Love Forever”, some rare dubs previously only available on Japanese import CDs, all bookended by two very different takes on Chaka Khan’s “Some Love”. An essential set for collectors of post-punk, dub and other outernational sounds.
The cover for Avant Gardening was lovingly designed by Andy Martin a.k.a. Bill Bell, who On-U Sound fans will know as the designer for the original New Age Steppers album in 1981