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Stepping Into A New Age 1980 to 2012 (New Age Steppers/Action Battlefield/Foundation Steppers/Love Forever/Avant Gardening) (5CD set)

CD (Item 978546) On-U Sound (UK), Early 80s/Early 2010s — Condition: New Copy
5CD
Out Of Stock

CD

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Five full records of work from this groundbreaking group – all packaged in a single set! First up is the self-titled New Age Steppers album – the first album on the On-U Sound label, and one of the first true moments of brilliance from producer Adrian Sherwood – the start of a great legacy to come! The group and Sherwood draw inspiration from Jamaican rhythms, but are much more in a post-punk style here than in later years – maybe no surprise, given that the lineup features members of The Slits, Raincoats, and Flying Lizards, plus work from Mark Stewart and Steve Beresford too! There's also help from some UK reggae talents too – Style Scott, Crucial Tony, and George Oban – and Sherwood has a way of making all these many sounds come together with a style that's still completely compelling all these many years later. Titles include "Fade Away", "Crazy Dreams And High Ideals", "Animal Space", "Radial Drill", "Abderhamne's Demise", and "Love Forever". Next is Action Battlefield – a set that does key work in building a bridge between Jamaican roots and the growing UK underground! Sure, there had been plenty of other experiments during the early punk years – but here, Adrian Sherwood's really finding his groove – and making music that has a mostly dub/reggae core, yet which also picks up some of the darker, moodier elements that had been brewing up in groups like Pop Group and Public Image! Ari Up of The Slits handles a lot of the vocals here, and a young Neneh Cherry makes her recording debut as well – on titles that include "Got To Get Away", "Observe Life", "Problems", "Nuclear Zulu", "Guiding Star", and "My Whole World". Foundation Steppers is an even more reggae-styled record than before from The New Age Steppers – a set that has the group recording in Jamaica for the first time, with lots of guest vocals from Bim Sherman – yet still getting those nice moody currents from producer Adrian Sherwood too! The mixture of Bim's vocals and those of ex-Slits Ari Up provide a really nice balance here – and overall, the sound is more Kingston than London – but with more than enough appeal to bridge both scenes at once. Eskimo provides some electric percussion next to the drums of Style Scott – and titles include "Some Love", "Memories", "5 Dog Race", "Misplaced Love", "Dreamers", "Stabilizer", "Stormy Weather", "Vice Of My Enemies", and "Mandarin". Love Forever is later work from New Age Steppers, but a set that's very much got the spirit of the group at the core – given that it's essentially a collaboration between Ari Up and producer Adrian Sherwood – who were the key forces behind the group's sound at the start! In fact, the feel here is still strongly early 80s – maybe mid-80s, given some of the production elements – and in addition to lots of instruments handled by Ari, the set also features guitar and keyboards from the mighty Skip McDonald and tenor from Dave Flash Wright – all with a sound that's nice and spare, and which really keeps the New Age edge intact! Titles include "Musical Terrorist", "The Fury Of Ari", "Wounded Animal", "Last Times", "Death Of Trees", "Revelation", "Worst Of Me", and "Conquer". Last up is Avant Gardening – a fantastic collection of unreleased material from the early years of New Age Steppers – sounds that are even darker and dubbier than the tracks on their first few albums! The studio genius of Adrian Sherwood is in full effect here – as most tunes are full of all the weird and wild production elements he was so good at – inspired by all the Kingston studio pioneers of the 70s, but filtered through the more experimental qualities of the early 80s post-punk years in London – at a level that makes On U Sounds like this every bit as important as the work of Factory Records! The set features a straighter vocal tune – the group's take of "Send For Me", pulled from a Peel Session – plus more moody material that includes "Singing Love", "I Scream (rimshot)", "Some Dub", "World Wide Version", "Unclear", and "Italize".  © 1996-2021, Dusty Groove, Inc.

We realize that there are many different interpretations of the standard grades used for pre-owned vinyl record albums & CD, so we thought we'd offer you the ones that we are working with, so you have an idea what we mean when we give the grade for a non-new item on our pages.

Used Vinyl Grades

Below are stated conditions for a used vinyl records at Dusty Groove. Grading for the cover should be assumed to be near (within a "+" or "-") the grading for the vinyl. If there is significant divergence from the condition of the vinyl, or specific flaws, these will be noted in the comments section of the item. However, please be aware that since the emphasis of this site is towards the music listener, our main concern is with the vinyl of any used item we sell. Additionally, all of our records are graded visually; considering the volume of used vinyl we handle, it is impossible for us to listen to each record. If we spot any significant flaws, we make every attempt to listen through them and note how they play.

The following grading conditions apply to the vinyl component of an album or single:

Sealed

This is what it says, that the record is still held fast in shrink-wrap. We tend to be pretty suspicious about these things, so if the shrink-wrap doesn't look original, or if the record seems to have undergone some damage over time, we'll probably take it out of the wrapper to ensure that it's in good shape — which is why we don't have more of these. In some cases the shrink-wrap may be torn in spots, but if it's not possible the record has been taken out and played, the record will still qualify as "Sealed".

Near Mint

Dusty Groove does not use the grades of Near Mint (or Mint, for that matter) because in our experience, we find that no records ever qualify for such a high grade. Even sealed records tend to have one or two slight faults, enough to usually qualify them for a grade of NM- or lower. We've often found that records which are clearly unplayed will have a slight amount of surface noise, especially in quieter recordings.

Near Mint - (minus)

  • Black vinyl that may show a slight amount of dust or dirt.
  • Should still be very shiny under a light, even with slight amount of dust on surface.
  • One or two small marks that would make an otherwise near perfect record slightly less so. These marks cannot be too deep, and should only be surface marks that won't affect play, but might detract from the looks.
  • May have some flaws and discoloration in the vinyl, but only those that would be intrinsic to the pressing. These should disappear when the record is tilted under the light, and will only show up when looking straight at the record. (Buddah and ABC pressings from the 70's are a good example of this.)
  • May have some slight marks from aging of the paper sleeve on the vinyl.
  • Possible minor surface noise when played.

Very Good + (plus)

  • Vinyl should be very clean, but can have less luster than near mint.
  • Should still shine under a light, but one or two marks may show up when tilted.
  • Can have a few small marks that may show up easily, but which do not affect play at all. Most marks of this quality will disappear when the record is tilted, and will not be felt with the back of a fingernail.
  • This is the kind of record that will play "near mint", but which will have some signs of use (although not major ones).
  • May have slight surface noise when played.

Very Good

  • Vinyl can have some dirt, but nothing major.
  • May not shine under light, but should still be pretty clean, and not too dirty.
  • May have a number of marks (5 to 10 at most), and obvious signs of play, but never a big cluster of them, or any major mark that would be very deep. Most marks should still not click under a fingernail.
  • May not look near perfect, but should play fairly well, with slight surface noise, and the occasional click in part of a song, but never throughout a whole song or more.
  • This is clearly a copy that was played by someone a number of times, but which could also be a good "play copy" for someone new.

Very Good - (minus)

  • Vinyl may be dirty, and can lack a fair amount of luster.
  • Vinyl can have a number of marks, either in clusters or smaller amounts, but deeper.
  • This is the kind of record that you'd buy to play, but not because it looked that great. Still, the flaws should be mostly cosmetic, with nothing too deep that would ruin the overall record.
  • Examples include a record that has been kept for a while in a cover without the paper sleeve, or heavily played by a previous owner and has some marks across the surface. The record should play okay, though probably with surface noise.

Good + (plus)

  • Vinyl may be dirty, or have one outstanding flaw, such as a light residue, which could be difficult to clean.
  • May have marks on all parts, too many to qualify as Very Good-, or several deeper marks, but the record should still be ok for play without skips.
  • In general, this is a record that was played a fair amount, and handled without care. A typical example may be a record which has been heavily played by a DJ, and carries marks from slip cueing. Depending on the quality of the vinyl, may play with surface noise throughout.

Good

  • A record that you'd buy to play, cheap, but which you wouldn't buy for collecting.
  • Will have marks across all parts of the playing surface, and will most likely play with surface noise throughout. May have some other significant flaws, such as residue, or a track that skips.
  • In most cases, a poor quality copy of a very difficult to find record.

Fair

This is a grade we rarely use, as we try not to sell records in very bad condition, though in some rare cases we will list a record in such bad shape that it does not conform to the standards above. A "Fair" record will have enough marks or significant flaws that it does not even qualify as "Good", but is a copy you might consider for playing, if you're willing to put up with noise and/or flaws. An example might be a recording with surface noise so heavy that it is equal to the volume of the music. For records listed as "Fair", we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.

Poor

Like "Fair", we rarely list records in this condition, as they represent the extreme low end of spectrum. These records typically have multiple serious problems, and we offer them as "relics" or "objects" only — for those who want to at least have a copy of a record, even if it is not really worthy of play, perhaps for the cover alone. For these records, we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.

Additional Marks & Notes

If something is noteworthy, we try to note it in the comments — especially if it is an oddity that is the only wrong thing about the record. This might include, but isn't limited to, warped records, tracks that skip, cover damage or wear as noted above, or strictly cosmetic flaws.


Used CD Grade

We have only one grade for non-new CDs at Dusty Groove — "Used CD". This grade is somewhat all-encompassing, but we choose it because we try to offer Used CDs in the best shape possible.

When you purchase a Used CD you can expect the disc to be free of all but the lightest of surface marks, the case to be clean (we often change the cases ourselves), and the booklet to be in good shape. Used CDs may show some signs of use but if there are significant details or defects we will list them underneath the item — just like we do with LPs — so look there for notes on cutout marks, stickers, promo stamps or other details.

All of our Used CDs are guaranteed to play without skipping or flaws. If you purchase a Used CD from Dusty Groove, you have 1 week to play it to determine that it plays correctly — and if it does not, then you may return it for a full refund.


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