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On-U Sound add another treat to their expansive discography reissue campaign of the band who kicked off the label in the first place. Avant Gardening collects the outtakes and rarities of inimitable post-punk dub reggae crossover legends New Age Steppers, and throughout its runtime, you can almost feel the shape of genres morphing into a synchronous whole. It might be trite to call project masterminds Ari-Up and Adrian Sherwood utopian, but if these heyday-spanning cuts prove one thing, they certainly had their eyes seton a promised land.

Lifted from the sessions of their first three LPs, recorded between 1980 and 1983, the tracks that constitute Avant Gardening neatly showcase the collective’s sonic fascinations, be they totally immediate or utterly strange. ‘Aggro Dub Version’ and ‘Unclear’ are masterful dub exercises, all echo, reverb and many other free-wheeling sounds besides. Meanwhile, the likes of ‘Avant Gardening’ and ‘I Scream (Rim Shot)’ are exploratory works which recall Can’s heady far-outness, Ari-Up vocal trilling and yelping into the void. Dotted among these demonstrations are straight-up, get-up-off-your-feet classics like the jazzy clavinet funk number ‘Izalize’ and ‘Send For Me’, a tune which wouldn’t be out of place on a reggae anthology.

Avant Gardening shows that the remarkable post-punk dub reggae mingling of New Age Steppers knew no bounds.