Dub Or Die

I’m taking a trip up north to Sheffield today so I figured it was time to feature steel city’s finest Human League, in this case under their League Unlimited Orchestra guise.

As the unmistakable four to the floor Linn Drum pounds away, this may sound like the exact kind of proto-techno-pop favoured by The Electrifying Mojo in Detroit back in the early 80’s but there’s a subtle skank to Do Or Die, and the bassline lopes around the rhythm, elasticating the mechanical beat.

Steve Payne and Martin RushentFurther to this, the League took the versioning vision of reggae’s dub dynasty to another extreme with their Love & Dancing LP: a decomposing document of the mixdesk trickery which went on behind the scenes of their award winning Dare LP from ’81.

Producer Martin Rushent dreamed up the idea whilst listening to Grandmaster Flash, choosing to do a cut n paste job on Dare’s album tracks to placate the label who were hassling for b-sides in the flurry of Human League’s chart success. With singer Phil Oakey leaving them to get on with it, the resulting album rightly added Rushent and his assistant Dave Allen to the band’s lineup, and wound up hitting the number 3 spot in 1982.

And here’s a glimpse of the band performing the original Dare version on Tiswas spin-off OTT…

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