Showing posts with label drum and bass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drum and bass. Show all posts

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tommy T - The Prester John Sessions [2009] [usa+eth]

   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   

       For the past three years, Tommy T (Thomas T Gobena) has been the bass player for gypsy punk powerhouse Gogol Bordello, the New York City-based band known for their blend of Gypsy, punk, dub reggae, metal and flamenco. 

       Tommy was born and raised in Ethiopia and the knowledge of global rhythms he brings to Gogol’s sound has become part of their unclassifiable approach to music making. With the encouragement of his Gogol Bordello band mates, Tommy has produced his first solo effort, The Prester John Sessions, an aural travelogue that rages freely through the music and culture of Ethiopia.

      "In the 70s, funk, wah-wah pedals, and jazz had a huge impact on Ethiopian music," Tommy explains. "The Prester John Sessions will give people an idea about the musical diversity of Ethiopia, which includes influences and ideas borrowed from the sounds of the 70's with the added bonus of up-to-date production values."

       Tommy discovered the story of Prester John in Graham Hancock’s book The Sign and the Seal. “Hancock was looking for the Biblical Ark of the Covenant,” Tommy says. “His quest led him around the world, from Middle East to Europe and back to Ethiopia. While doing his research, Hancock discovered the legend of Prester John. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Prester John was an unknown Christian king with massive troops that got the attention of European kings. Prester John is the character I use to symbolize the man who will bring Ethiopian culture to the rest of the world.”

       To fulfill his vision, Tommy started digging through Ethiopian folk music, choosing melodies he could improvise on. He also wrote his own compositions based on traditional modes. “A lot of popular Ethiopian music is based on a 6/8 beat called chikchika, but there are also many other rhythms in Ethiopia that have their own unique characteristics. I play with The Abyssinian Roots Collective on the album. They are sometimes known as The ARC, which coincidentally ties into the Ark of the Covenant and the Prester John story. We’re mostly Ethiopian, so getting the music down was easy. I gave them the tunes, and then we improvised the arrangements so the music has an organic feel.”

       Tommy composed and produced the music, with his brother Henock contributing to the tunes “Brothers” and “East-West Express.” The tracks were written at Tommy’s home studio and cut live in a couple of studios around Washington, DC and overdubs were laid down in real time with a final mix by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, Gogol Bordello) that gave it the feel of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters jamming with Ethiopian godfathers The Imperial Bodyguard Orchestra. The music blends Ethiopian modes with dub reggae, funk, and jazz, for a sound that’s at once familiar and mysterious.

      “The Eighth Wonder” has a light, jazzy feel based on the chikchika rhythm, played in the style common to the Wollo province, home to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. “Much like the pyramids of Giza, much has been made over the 11 stone churches of Lalibela, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder,” Tommy explains. “This track uses the chikchika beat, but expands it into other directions.” Tommy’s melodic bass weaves through the tune’s horn and Massinqo (an Ethiopian single-stringed instrument played like a violin) lines, while the drummer keeps the beat with a series of tom rolls complimenting the kick drum. Dub effects keep the instruments dancing in and out of the mix. “Beyond Fasiladas” references the Castle of the emperor Fasiladas in Gondar, Ethiopia’s capital in the 17th Century. It uses a fast, driving beat from Gondar and interpolates several traditional melodies. Massinqo, guitar and an energetic bass line give the tune a funky, relentless pulse. Setegne Setenaw plays the melody on Massinqo. “The Response” features vocals from Gigi and Tommy. It’s a love song with an almost unbearable sense of longing. Tommy plays acoustic guitar and bouzouki with a West African feel influenced by the music of Mali, although the melody is purely Ethiopian. “Eden” pays homage to the lush and raw landscapes of Ethiopia. Gigi’s wordless vocal is full of joy. The slow dubby rhythm and a muted blue flugelhorn give the track a timeless feel. “Oromo Dub (Cushitic dub)” is driven by Tommy’s phat bass riddim and revolves around traditional tunes that existed ages ago. Abdi Nuressa sings in Oromo, one of the many languages in Ethiopia, and his voice drifts through intergalactic dub space taking this ancient song into the future. The album’s ten tracks epitomize the Ethiopian ideal of Semena Worq - Wax and Gold. The wax is the surface of the music, bright and modern, with its jazzy, funky accents. The gold signifies the depth of tradition that gave birth to these sounds, nuggets culled from one of the oldest cultures on earth, presented by Tommy and his compatriots in all their shining beauty.

       Tommy T was born and raised in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. “There was always music in our house,” Tommy recalls. “When I was five, my older brother Zelalem got an acoustic guitar from my father. By the time I was six I could pick up a guitar and play what my brothers were playing.

       Tommy had no intention of becoming a musician, but when his brother Henock moved to Washington DC, Tommy followed. “I looked up to him as a brother and a bass player. After he sent a copy of his first album to us in Ethiopia, I started playing acoustic guitar like a bass. When I came to the States, I got a real bass. There are over 200,000 Ethiopians in the DC metro area, so I was able to make a living playing in Ethiopian bands.”

       Tommy completed a degree while playing in bands three or four nights a week. “I played in Ethiopian bands, and then started a reggae band called ADOLA which also backed many well known Ethiopian artists such as Aster Aweke and Gigi to name a few. I was also interested in other styles of music including R&B, hip-hop, and neo-soul. I worked with Wayna [Wondwossen, recently nominated for a best urban performance Grammy for her song “Lovin’ U (Music)”] and produced a couple of tracks on her Moments of Clarity album with my friend Abegasu Shiota.” While collaborating on a project with guitarist Eran Tabib, he heard Gogol Bordello was looking for a bass player familiar with international grooves.

    His years with Gogol inspired Tommy to develop The Prester John Sessions, another band with a global outlook. The reggae band he and his friend Zedicus (Zakki Jawad) started in DC had evolved into The Abyssinian Roots Collective; they helped Tommy bring The Prester John Sessions to life. “I believe in music without boundaries,” Tommy says. “Music should be inclusive, not exclusive. We should use sounds from everywhere to create a universal vibe. The music business isn’t friendly to that kind of thing, but the people who hear it respond to it well. Gogol is a rock band, but the sound is global. People who love music know the best music is created without boundaries and limitations. The Prester John Sessions take that idea to the next level.”

01. Tommy T - Brothers (5:03)
02. Tommy T - The Call (4:04)
03. Tommy T - The Response (Featuring Gigi) (4:43)
04. Tommy T - The Eighth Wonder (6:51)
05. Tommy T - Oromo Dub (Cushitic Dub) (4:34)
06. Tommy T - East-West Express (4:21)
07. Tommy T - Tribute To A King (4:11)
08. Tommy T - Beyond Fasiladas (3:16)
09. Tommy T - September Blues (3:29)
10. Tommy T - Eden (Featuring Gigi) (5:53)
11. Tommy T - Lifers (Michael G Easy Star Remix feat. 
                          Eugene Hutz And Pedro Erazo) (2:06)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dub Colossus - Addis Through The Looking Glass [2011] [ethiopia]

   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   

       Dub Colossus is a collective of Ethiopian musicians working with Western musicians fascinated by the richness of the Ethiopian sound. 

      A Town Called Addis ...was their striking debut in 2008 but this is better, probably thanks to their live concerts. 

       There's a strong reggae influence, but it's songs like the punchy Guragigna that stand out, with great vocals by "the Ethiopian Edith Piaf", Sintayehu Zenebe, underpinned by a piano ostinato and a muscular horn section with great sax solos.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Invisible System - Street Clan [2011] [eng]

   R  E  U  P  L  O  A  D   

Invisible System - Street Clan

       Invisible System return with another highly original eclectic fusion album. Following their internationally acclaimed and Songlines World Music Awards Best Newcomer Nominated CD Punt (Made in Ethiopia), Street Clan is named after some graffiti Dan Harper found in Mali, West Africa. It is again not a pure world music album. It covers genres such as rock, dance, drum and bass, dub, reggae, Ethiopian, post-punk, kraut rock, pop, psychedelia and even this time r'n'b and dubstep.

      17 tracks take you through a real journey of shockingly original pulsating sounds that tie to Punt but sound more accomplished and distinctive in style. The album was again recorded between Ethiopia, Mali and the UK whilst Dan Harper was aid working, with the mixing finished in country. Many known guests again feature on this album including Portishead's Adrian Utley and Skip McDonald (African Head Charge, The Sugar Hill Gang, Tackhead and Little Axe.

          It’s impossible not to admire Dan Harper. Until five years ago, he was an aid worker in Ethiopia, where he not only became fascinated by the country’s remarkable music scene but built his own studio in Addis Ababa and managed to persuade leading local artists to record with him. He also invited producer and bassist Nick Page, also known as Count Dubulah, out to Ethiopia and introduced him to his musical friends; as a result, Page formed his highly successful Ethiopian fusion band Dub Colossus.

     Once he returned to England, where he now works as an unconventional music teacher in the West Country, Harper continued work on a fusion project of his own. He persuaded an impressive selection of British musicians to add their contributions to his Ethiopian recordings, and the result was the album Punt, credited to a band Harper called Invisible System. It included a remarkable cast, from the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed through to punk hero Captain Sensible, guitarist Justin Adams and Count Dubulah; the results veered from African styles to psychedelic rock, trip-hop and dub. Although this was originally something of an obscure DIY release, Harper managed to bring his work to national attention, and won impressive reviews.

        Since then, the two Ethiopian fusion experiments have continued. Dub Colossus, now a rousing live band rather than merely a studio project, have a new album of Ethio-jazz and reggae fusions, Addis Through the Looking Glass, while Invisible System have a very different second set, Street Clan.

         Once again, the album is based around recordings that Harper made in Africa – this time in Mali as well as Ethiopia – to which he adds his own guitar, bass, synth programming, percussion and production work. Then there are contributions from a new set of Western musicians, including the great American guitarist Skip McDonald, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Stuart Fisher (who has worked with Courtney Love), and members of psychedelic hippie heroes Ozric Tentacles. Then there’s Jamaican singer Dennis Wint, who Harper met in the Somerset town of Frome, where he lives and works.

        Street Clan is even more wild, frantic and unexpected than Punt, with sections that work brilliantly and tracks where Ethiopian vocals are surrounded by a blitz of thrash guitar and percussion, results ranging from exhilarating to messy. The best tracks come towards the end, where the emphasis shifts from the clash of African vocals with full-tilt Western guitars, through to more conventional dub reggae. There’s still an African edge to Teenage Lion and Broken Heart, thanks to the vocal work from Zewditu Tadesse; but Wint dominates the songs with an energy and style that makes him sound like an unlikely male answer to early Patti Smith.

      There's a huge sea change between Invisible System's debut and this sophomore outing. Where the first was definitely based around Ethiopian music, this is a much more amorphous and adventurous beast. If it needs to be defined, it's a rock -- maybe even post-rock -- album. Ethiopia is still there, and some of the music was recorded in Addis Ababa. But many of the sounds were made in England using a truly staggering range of musicians, and there's a powerful Jamaican influence at work here, too. If you need an analogy, think of the work of Adrian Sherwood, or even some PiL (in fact, "Mutant Miners" sounds like it could be have been smuggled off some fantastical PiL album). This is world music in the sense that it was made by people from different parts of the globe coming together, but its roots are in the here and now rather than in any tradition. It's challenging, adventurous, and heavily textured; the tracks were recorded live and later chopped up and mixed, although you'd never notice the joints. It might prove to be one of the finds of 2011, a real sonic adventure that speaks highly of Dan Harper, the man behind it all.

review by Chris Nickson

01 Tizita (feat. Portishead Adrian Utley, Ethiopiques)                                                       4:01  
02 Ambassel (feat. Mimi + band (after signed as Dub Colossus also))                          5:25
03 Zedanmer (feat. Eat Static, Ethiopiques)                                                       4:38
04 Bone Flaps (feat. Merv Pepler and Los Mutartis + Ethiopiques)                                3:51
05 Backyard (feat. Skip McDonald (On U Sound, LIttle Axe, Sugar Hill Gang), Dennis… 4:47
06 Skunk Funk (feat. The Ullulators)                                                                                     4:30
07 Opidervtu (feat. Eat Static, Ethiopiques)                                                                       4:26
08 Womens Love (feat. Ozric Tentacles, Rythmites, Ethiopiques, Sydney Salmon)   6:15
09 Mutant Miners (feat. Merv Pepler, Los Mutartis, Ethiopiques)               6:08
10 Live Up To Love (feat. Hilaire Chabby (Baba Maal), Dennis Wint, Ethiopiques)     3:15
11 Men Dont Cry (feat. Eat Static, Dennis Wint, Ethiopqiues)                                       2:46
12 Oumabetty (feat. Jonny / Akrilu (Mamoud Ahmed))                                                   3:13
13 Teenage Lion (feat. Ryhthmites Flash, Ethiopques,)                                               6:08
14 Broken Heart (feat. Dennis Wint, Leyikun Ethiopia)                                               3:33
15 Katabo (feat. Merv Pepler, Dennis Wint)                                                               3:45
16 Naturalisation (feat. Dennis Wint, Joie Hinton)                                                       7:57
17 Rapture (feat. Merv Pepler, Dennis Wint)                                                               3:20

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Invisible System - Live and Raw [2012] [uk+ethiopia] [EXTRACT]

Invisible System - live 2011

       Invisible System's live performances at festivals and concerts in the UK, and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), have been known to simulate, attack, relax, exhaust people from dancing, confuse, uplift and even frighten others!

With Dennis Wint as the main front man in the UK he has become known by the press as a cross between a Jamaican/African Johnny Rotten and a rasta preacher man for spirituality and social justice whilst being a live cannon.

From playing with bands like Dreadzone to playing the main stages at festivals across the UK, Invisible System have crossed dance, dub and reggae, rock, post-punk, acid and world music with similar shows taking place alongside their Ethiopian singers in Addis.

These recordings illustrate how Invisible System sound live. A much more intense and stripped down beast than some of their album track releases. 

01 - Invisible System - Grazella Heart   (live Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) (5:51)
02 - Invisible System - Milash Situgn   (live Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) (5:54)
03 - Invisible System - Sintun Ayehun  (live Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) (4:14)
04 - Invisible System - Sewbekagn   (live Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) (7:37)
05 - Invisible System - Min Atefahu   (live Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) (4:54)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dub Colossus - Rockers Meet Addis Uptown EP [2010] + bonus

   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   

Dub Colossus - Shegye Shegitu (Blue Nile Mix)

1. Dub Colossus - Uptown Top Ranking (Radio Edit) (4:18)
2. Dub Colossus - Guragigna (5:14)
3. Dub Colossus - Medina (3:08)
4. Dub Colossus - Selemi  (6:45)
5. Dub Colossus - Uptown Top Ranking (Full Mix) (5:02) 
6. Dub Colossus & Sintayehu ** - Krems '09 VI 25 -A Town Called Addis– IX (16:52)
7. Dub Colossus & Sintayehu ** - Krems '09 VI 25 -A Town Called Addis– X (5:37)

**Sintayehu Zenebe | vocals
    Teremage Woretaw | vocals, mesenko
    Samuel Yirga Mitiku | keyboards
    Michael Riley | percussions

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

v.a. - New Ethio Jazz [dbl cd] [2013]

Merry Christmas to all my friends and blog readers. 

Consider this double compilation cd as Christmas present!
I made it in an effort to introduce recent ethiopian jazz & grooves to wider public.

Enjoy music and send some comments.

   cd 1   

01. Arat Kilo - Aykedashem Lebe (3:57)
02. Tezeta Band - Tey Geryeleshem (Forget It, Don't Worry) (2:55)
03. The Budos Band - Aynotchesh Yererfu (3:50)
04. Imperial Tiger Orchestra - Le Le Le (6:26)
05. Le Tigre (des Platanes) & Etenesh Wassie - Ney-Ney Weleba (4:27)
06. Samuel Yirga - Tiwista (Tinish Mix) (5:57)
07. JAzmaris - Far From Ambasel (6:11)
08. Yared Tefera - Uuta Ayaskefam ° (6:05)
09. Akale Wube - Ragale (5:09)
10. Arat Kilo - Get a Chew (4:48)
11. Imperial Tiger Orchestra - Selam Temagwet (5:36)
12. Ethioda - En plein dans le Nil (4:56)
13. Wudasse - Aba Gerima [Morning Song] (8:20)

   cd 2   

01. Skeletons - Mulatu (2:55)
02. The Shaolin Afronauts - Amhara (5:17)
03. Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Ethio (3:41)
04. Tezeta Band - Hametegnaw (5:18)
05. Ukandanz - Belomi Benna (3:09)
06. Arat Kilo - Lonmewo Lalie feat. Mimi (3:23)
07. Badume's Band & Selamnesh Zemene - Korahu (5:54)
08. Debo Band - Mignoten Man Yawkal (4:06)
09. uKanDanz & Asnake Guebreyes - Aykedeshem Lebe (6:34)
10. Jungle by Night - Ethiopeno (3:28)
11. JAzmaris - Aha Gedawo (6:06)
12. Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends - Aha Gedawo (5:03)
13. Trio Kazanchis - Ende eyerusalem (5:10)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Clashing Egos feat. Minyeshu Kifle - Aminjig Nebere [I Trusted You] [2004]

                         R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   

        Minyeshu Kifle Tedla was born in the city of Dire Dawa in the east of Ethiopia. During her childhood she moved to Addis Ababa and at the age of 17 she joined the leading ‘National Theatre’ of Ethiopia. Here she developed her artistic multi talents as a singer, dancer, producer and choreographer. With the crème de la crème of the Ethiopian music scene she toured the world around - within 4 month over more than 35 countries - and performed at the greatest Ethiopian music and dance production ever: ‘People to People’. 

     She joined the stage with famous Ethiopian musical icons such as Mulatu Astatke and singers Mahmoud Ahmed, Tilahun Gessesse, Bizunesh Bekele and many more. To widespread her wings as an artistic multi talent she performed in Ethiopian cinema as well, playing a leading role as an actress in the movie ‘Senait’

       Clashing Egos  successfully blend the sound of Mo' Wax-like trip hop grooves and exotic sounds with the voices of Darryll-Ann frontman Jelle Paulusma, British singer Kirsty Hawkshaw and Ethiopian vocalist Minyeshu Kifle. 

       Especially the latter does an impressive performance on the melancholic Afro tune 'Aminjig Nebere (I Trusted You)'. The album reveals itself as a steady grower, so don't trust your initial judgment and certainly use a headset when listening to it because it's truly a sound experrience. "We wanted to make a beautiful album’. It’s much more than just that, it's electronic soulmusic for the 21st century.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Invisible System - Punt [Made in Ethiopia] [2009]

                                                    R  E  U  P  L  O  A  D   

       Invisible System is the pseudonym for the UK & Africa producer Dan Harper whose music is an eclectic fusion of Ethiopian, dub, reggae, techno, trance, drum and bass, jungle, acid, psychedelic, folk, post-punk, goth and rock.

       Traditional vocals & instruments meet the modern, electronic and brass. Recorded in Ethiopia.  Live Europeans meet live Ethiopians! 

       The songs were improvised, from scratch - all instruments and vocals. Improvisation was a largely new concept to most of the Ethiopian counterparts (previously told what or how to play or sing). Dan just went from go with your feelings and express them as Dan had done. The results were stunning both for them and for us. We are not into using Ethiopian (or Malian) samples or trying to quickly learn and imitate Ethiopian musicians who have their sounds, modes, scales, feelings and soul from their culture and country else we would be the neo-colonialists. We are into sharing, learning and exchange over time.

       Dan spent 3 years in Addis Ababa not 3 weeks, living, working and existing there. Aid working all around the country, producing music based in Addis. He Met people from all walks of life. The music is based on real life experience not from reading. It is played from the heart and soul of everyone involved. Their own interpretation thus tapping the ebbs and flows of our lives.

Hear What the Critics Have to Say!

---‘sturdy Ethiopian vocals are matched against backing that veers from wailing psychedelic rock to trance, trip-hop and dub, it's an impressive achievement.’  - The Guardian, Robin Denselow
'New rave goes global. The rave crowd may love such deranged energy.' - Uncut, Nigel Williamson

---‘you can imagine this becoming a mind blowing rave classic, pushing the envelope
 beyond Ethiopqiues nostalgia.’ - MOJO, David Hutchenson

---’there's a pleasing headiness to its rough charm’ - The Independent, Andy Gill

---‘a startlingly original combination of Ethiopian roots and pop with dub, electronica and psychedelic rock’ - fRoots, Jamie Renton

---‘this wonderfully strange and slightly otherworldly album’ refuses resolutely to be pigeon holed. One of the most startlingly original musical adventures of the year giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘fusion music’. - R2 / rock N Reel, Dave Haslam

---‘like an exotic mythology flung into outer space‘ - World Music Network, TJ Nelson

---‘It’s an album that, to its credit, solidly defies easy description.  It needs to be heard several times and each reveals a new delight’ -, Chris Nickson

---‘Each time you hear the songs, you hear something different as this will be the longevity of this world class fusion CD’ -, Los Angeles

---'I encourage everyone to check it out, but not try to capture it..just feel it.' - Max Benkole Jarrett, BBC World Service

---‘Brings together a fine mix of musicians to create a festive-sounding album recorded in Ethiopia’ – New Internationalist