|Origins:||U.K., Islam, Black Liberation|
|Styles:||Ethno techno, Industrial, Indian Fusion, African Fusion, Political|
|Discography:||2015 – A Philosophy of Nothing
2006 – All is War
2003 – Voices of Mass Destruction
2001- There Shall be Love!
1998 – Erotic Terrorism
1995 – With Intent to Pervert the Cause of Injustice
1994 – Seize the Time
Metallica. Ministry. Sex Pistols. Rage Against the Machine. Wimps.
For volume and intensity, no band does it better than Fun-Da-Mental. More punk than punk, more metal than metal, Fun-Da-Mental is a blistering, planet-sized juggernaut of enlightened anger, empowerment, and intelligent activism. Led by Dave Watts and Asian Underground pioneer/Nation Records founder Aki Nawaz (formerly of Southern Death Cult), the England-based collective are ethnically black and south Asian. I mention this only because it is so significant to their music and their politics. Fun-Da-Mental’s music is a shouted demand that we wake up and realize that racism and oppression is still very real, very powerful, and its perpetrators have no intention of stopping. Their message is on the trajectory of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Bob Marley: stand up; demand your freedom.
“My spirituality determines reality.”
After several EP releases and early personnel changes, FDM’s first full-length CD was 1994’s Seize the Time. The album drew immediate comparisons to Public Enemy with its rap-infused declarations of defiance against racism and oppression of blacks and Muslims in England. The music was boisterous yet surprisingly melodic with liberal use of samples to hammer home the message. With Intent to Pervert the Cause of Injustice continued the revolutionary theme showing increased musical range and experimentation.
With Erotic Terrorism FDM matured philosophically and musically. Evolving away from its origins in street rap, FDM adopted new genres including a techno dance-oriented sound but also showed a more cultured side. Still in-your-face but more polished, the lyrics are smarter, the samples less repetitive, and the music is cleaner. The result is the message becomes all the more powerful. In support of Erotic Terrorism, FDM toured several continents spreading their political message and musical philosophy.
Their message delivered, FDM then crafted There Shall be Love! Here, the political activism retreats to the background and music for its own sake takes center stage. Expertly bouncing between Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the songs are a celebration of the joy of world fusion music featuring a variety of excellent artists.
The band took a long hiatus after the 9/11 attacks apparently unsure how to respond as politically active Muslim musicians. The songs on There Shall be Love! were remixed by various artists on the 2003 release Voices of Mass Destruction, the title clearly a swipe at the lies that justified the invasion and occupation of Iraq. After awhile they could no longer keep silent. All is War is an angry response to the evils of the Bush administration and the complicity of the Blair government. Overall it is not their best album musically but several songs are brilliant and quite blistering in their political critique. Several singles were released, then suddenly A Philosophy of Nothing to absolutely no fanfare, heck, no publicity at all. Even I didn’t hear about the album until much later. Nawaz and Watts are still active politically on Facebook but not producing much music.