Boomkat Product Review:
’Danger in Paradise’ is David Toop & Steve Beresford’s DIY masterpiece of dub-soul experimentation. Originally issued in 1984, and starring doyens of the experimental/improv scene, Lol Coxhill and David Cunningham, General Strike’s sole album remains a massive highlight of its era, epitomising a rich seam of dub, jazz, and post-punk experimentation executed with garden shed means and genteel English eccentricity.
David Toop has described Danger In Paradise, an album of material he recorded with Steve Beresford and David Cunningham as General Strike between 1979 and '81, as "hauntology before its time". In some sense he's right: some of the queer-pitched electronics and impishly sinister samples on the record wouldn't sound out of place on a Focus Group transmission. But first and foremost, General Strike is a potting shed avant-dub masterpiece, covering enormously wide ground.
'My Other Body' is a beautifully bass-heavy, almost Antena-esque pop original voiced by Dawn Roberts (singing lyrics culled from Foucault's Mental Illness And Psychology), 'Guided Missiles' is nuclear-paranoid doo-wop, and Sun Ra's 'Interplanetary Music' and 'We Travel The Spaceways' are reinterpreted in a way that somehow reconciles their afro-futurist origins with a bimbling, bumbling sensibility unique to Blighty's suburbs.
Cunningham's extraordinary tape treatments and the ensemble's anything-could-happen, patchwork approach to composition place the album at a heart of a British DIY tradition that has brought us The Shadow Ring, Flaming Tunes, Cleaners From Venus and This Heat among others (it's no surprise to learn that portions of it were recorded at This Heat's Cold Storage studio space).
All in all a terrific, gloriously unusual record - originally issued on cassette by Touch in '84, and later on CD by Piano, this new edition from Staubgold represents its first time on download formats and a first vinyl edition in years.