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Showing posts with label dub. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dub. Show all posts

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.












Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dub Colossus - Dub Will Tear Us Apart [2010] [ethiopia]



   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   














    In 2006 Nick 'Dubulah' Page, British producer, multi-instrumentalist and founding member of Transglobal Underground and Syriana, first travelled to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. His aim was to collaborate with musicians and explore traditional Azmari styles, 60s Ethiopian pop, Ethiojazz and 70s Jamaican Dub Reggae. He came across some amazingly talented artists – female vocalists Tsedenia Gebremarkos and Sintayehu 'Mimi' Zenebe, Ethiojazz pianist Samuel Yirga, tenor sax player Feleke Hailu and Teremage Woretaw on messenqo (one-string fiddle) and vocals. 










       Dub Colossus was born. The first recordings were exclusively previewed on Society of Sound. Then followed the critically acclaimed debut album 'A Town Called Addis,' (2008) and a series of outstanding live shows.











        Especially for Society of Sound, the band have put together ‘Dub Will Tear Us Apart’, featuring ten brand new tracks fresh from studio sessions in Real World, Edinburgh and Addis Ababa. Highlights include Dub Colossus’ Anglo-Ethiopian version of the reggae classic, “Uptown Top Ranking”, written and originally performed by Jamaican girl duo Althea & Donna, which topped the UK singles chart in 1978. "It had a big effect on me," explains Nick Page, "seeing it on Top Of The Pops… it was a first in many ways." 

       The connection between Ethiopia and Jamaica has been well documented, especially with regards to the lyrical content of a lot of Jamaican Roots Reggae music. Dub Colossus’ dread Abesha version is fronted by Sintayehu and Tsedenia, with UK/Jamaican guest MC JP Higgins. 




      



     Other highlights include "Guragignia", a ferociously funky Ethiopian song which sounds like a blue taxi going at full speed with no brakes during rush hour in Addis Ababa. A live show favourite, it features lead vocals by Sintayehu. "Selemi" is another live favourite, an Ethio-Funk stomper fronted by Tsedenia supported by the keyboards of Samuel Yirga and saxes of Feleke Hailu, that morphs into a southern Ethiopian rhythm of release. In contrast, "Medina" is a Teremage Woretaw traditional solo track, for voice and messenqo. A gospel song performed to mark a period of fasting, Teremage sings in growling wild swoops as he bows his messenqo with an intense energy. 









        Dub Will Tear Us Apart features members of the current live band for the first time: drummer Nick Van Gelder (ex Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies), bass player Dr Das (ex Asian Dub Foundation), vocalist PJ Higgins (Natacha Atlas, Almamegretta, Kenneth Bager), as well as the wonderful Horns of Negus, who recently worked with Dr John, Dizzee Rascal, The Streets, consisting of Ben Somers (tenor and baritone sax), Robert Dowell (trombone) and Jonathan Radford (trumpet).






01. Dub Colossus - Dub Will Tear Us Apart (6:41)
02. Dub Colossus - Wey Fikir (4:21)
03. Dub Colossus - Yeh Shimbraw Tir Tir (4:21)
04. Dub Colossus - Dub Me Tender (4:23)
05. Dub Colossus - Satta Massagans (inst version) (3:43)
06. Dub Colossus - Kuratu (5:09)
07. Dub Colossus - Uptown Top Ranking (5:03)
08. Dub Colossus - Guragigna (5:13)
09. Dub Colossus - Medina (3:07)
10. Dub Colossus - Selemi (6:42)




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Zvuloon Dub System - Anbessa Dub [2014] [isr+eth]









       Zvuloon Dub System is Israel's leading Reggae band. Adopting their name from one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the band was formed in 2006 by the Smilan brothers. They shared the same passion for roots reggae and dub, with influences from a variety of music styles, like Ethiopian jazz and rare grooves from the 70’s, USA's soul, funk and jazz, alongside with Israeli mizrahi (oriental) music.





   Zvuloon Dub System - Anbessa Dub [FULL ALBUM]   



band members:

Gili Yalo - lead vocals, 
Inon Peretz - trumpet, 
Ilan Adiri - tenor sax, 
Ilan Smilan - lead guitar, 
Simon Nahum - rhythm guitar, 
Lior Romano - piano and organ, 
Tal Marcus - bass, 
Asaf Smilan - drums and percussion 


guests artists:

Mahmoud Ahmed - vocals (5), 
Zemene Melesse - vocals (8), 
Yaacov Lilay - vocals (7), krar (1,7,10), 
Dejen Manchelot – masinko (10), 
Roei Hermon - trumpet (6, 9), 
Yonatan Voltzok - trombone ?(1-5, 7) 
Maayan Milo – trombone (6,8,9), 
Omri Abramov - alto Sax (1-3, 5-7,9),
Elad Gellert -? baritone sax (1), 
Shay Sattaman Jacovi - backing vocals (8) 








Saturday, April 30, 2016

Invisible System - Street Clan [2011] [eng]




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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





Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dub Colossus - A town called Addis [2006] [ethiopia]



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       This project brings together an extraordinary but little known African musical heritage, a labour of love recording in a makeshift studio in down-town Addis Ababa and then a journey back to Real World to capture for the first time ever in the UK some of Ethiopia's finest performers.








       This project is the vision of Dub Colossus - Dubulah - aka Nick Page. Composer, guitarist, bass player and programmer Nick started his music career with Michael Riley (Steel Pulse) and in 1990 formed Transglobal Underground with Tim and Hammi, produced-wrote-played six albums before leaving in 1997 to form Temple of Sound with Neil Sparkes.








       Ethiopian music is the hidden gem of Africa. At the end of the Sixties and the early Seventies, Ethiopia was in the dying years of the imperial decline of Haile Selassie and the early years of a brutally repressive junta led by Mengistu. Within the confines of this stifling and constrictive environment there flowered some astonishing music. At times showing Fela Kuti's influences, in the big band sax flavour and other times a different take on regional music, this is a music that is accessible to all and has been championed by the likes of Robert Plant, Brian Eno and Elvis Costello. The style of contemporary Ethiopia music captured by Dub Colossus ranges from dreamy blues, hypnotic grooves, jazz piano and driving funk brass.





       "A Town Called Addis" was inspired by meeting , writing and working with singers and musicians in Addis Ababa in August 2006, and is a collaboration between Dub Colossus (Nick Page) and these amazing musicians covering Azmari and traditional styles as well as the popular singing styles of the 60s and 70s. It seeks to combine the golden years of ethiopique beats (popular again thanks to the release of the critically acclaimed 'Ethiopique' compliation ) and ethiojazz with the dub reggae styles of early 70s reggae groups like the Abyssinians, Mighty Diamonds and so on. along with a hint of Sun Ra..." (Dub Colossus/aka Nick Page)



       The first sessions took place in a breeze block hut under corrugated iron roof bombarded by the sounds of the rainy season high up on the mountain plateau where Addis is built. "...the sound of children playing, dogs barking and women washing all permeate the sessions and help the flavour of the record, albeit as ambient smoke.....Although a howling cat chasing a rat under the roof destroyed one vocal take completely...!"



       We brought these unique urban field recordings home to Real World to complete the picture. In March 2008 we invited a group of outstanding performers from Addis to travel to the UK. Some of these artists are unknown talents who have never traveled outside of their country before now, while others such as singer Sintayehu 'Mimi' Zenebe (Addis Ababa night club owner and know as the Ethiopian Edith Piaf ) and master saxophonist Feleke Hailu (a classical composer, lecturer and head of music at the Yared Music School and part of a dynastic tradition that stretches back far beyond the classic hits his father arranged for Mahmoud Ahmad in the late 1960s) have a huge reputation. They are joined by Teremag Weretow who, with his plaintive voice, playing his messenqo ( one-string fiddle) is a youthful carrier of an ancient tradition; extraordinary pianist Samuel Yirga is an exciting new discovery - a young prodigy of classical and Ethiojazz and finally the glamourous star Tsedenia Gebremarkos, winner of a Kora award as the best female singer in East Africa in 2004,








       From the most primitive recording context to one of the best in the world, this project is an audio journey - and discovery of one of the most alluring, funky and seductive genres of African music.




01. Dub Colossus - Azmari Dub (5:05)
02. Dub Colossus - Entoto Dub (5:55)
03. Dub Colossus - Tazeb Kush (5:52)
04. Dub Colossus - Shegye Shegitu (Blue Nile Mix) (3:54)
05. Dub Colossus - Shegye Shegitu (One Drop mix) (4:49)
06. Dub Colossus - Yeka Sub City Rockers (5:04)
07. Dub Colossus - Shem City Steppers (5:28)
08. Dub Colossus - Tizita Dub (7:38)
09. Dub Colossus - Black Rose (4:06)
10. Dub Colossus - Neh Yelginete (5:40)
11. Dub Colossus - Ophir Dub (4:40)
12. Dub Colossus - Sima Edy (4:40)
13. Dub Colossus - Mercato Music (5:47)
14. Dub Colossus - Ambassel (4:40)
15. Dub Colossus - Ambassel In Box (5:47)



Thursday, April 30, 2015

v.a. - [2013] - The rough guide to the music of Ethiopia [cd 2] - Introducing Invisible System [ethiopia]



[cd 2] - Introducing Invisible System





         Invisible System actually has two new records out this year, although both of them incorporate already-released material. The group's music is featured on a digital-only album issued by World Music as part of the compilation entitled The Rough Guide to Ethiopian Music. This disc features earlier material; this enables Dan Harper to welcome new listeners to his canny mix of dark dub, metal, Ethiopian pop, and techno stylings.


          Traditional-sounding songs, such as "Hode Baba (I'm Worried He's Moving)", rock along nicely, balancing jangling guitars with a rocksteady groove and lamenting vocals. On later tracks, like "Skunk Funk" - taken from their 2011 album, Street Clan, my favorite record of last year - Harper swirls things up a bit with psychedelic wah-wah work, lovely drifty melodies, and a spooky vocal performance from Tewabe Tadesse. This is also a great way to experience tracks from The Cauldron EP, including the disorienting dub spectacular "Azmari Fuze", with vocals from wonderful singer/clubowner Mimi Zenebe.




Invisible System - Gondar Sub

         

01.Invisible System - Closer To The Edge (3:36)
02.Invisible System - Gondar Sub (4:04)
03.Invisible System - Tizita (4:04)
04.Invisible System - Dark entries (6:12)
05.Invisible System - Skunk funk (4:33)
06.Invisible System - Azmari fuse (6:41)
07.Invisible System - Maljam kehnoelish (If this is what you want) (4:05)
08.Invisible System - Oumabetty (3:15)
09.Invisible System - Hode baba (I'm worried he's moving) (5:58)
10.Invisible System - Mama yey (5:56)
11.Invisible System - Fiten azorkugn (I turned my face away) (5:49)



   reviews   


The Introducing series has brought some fabulous artists to wider attention. Its latest is a digital- only release of producer and musician Dan Harper's Invisible System. He's a former aid worker who settled in Ethiopia, built a studio and invited some of the country's finest musicians to step inside. He then returned with the tapes to the UK and introduced them to an eclectic range of British musicians.

Introducing comprises four new songs alongside seven from 2009's Punt (nominated for a 2010 Songlines Award), last year's Street Clan, and recent The Cauldron. The line-up includes Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed (whose vocal on the blues 'If This Is What You Want' is glorious), pianist Samuel Yirga and Justin Adams, as well as Dub Colossus vocalists Tsedenia Gebre Markos, Mimi Zenebe and Desta Firka. Two fast, tight new songs, 'Closer to the Edge' and 'Gondar Sub', start it off, while Tizita's powerful vocal is set to a shady, shimmering semi-electronic backdrop, and the new 'Dark Entries' mixes Ethiopian fiddle with a lean chiming guitar. 'Azmari Fuse' sets what sounds like a field recording under a canopy of layered voices, reverb and Ethiopian fiddle. Fusion can be a messy business, but by assiduously mining several deep veins, this is a well-cut gem, bringing flavours of reggae, trip-hop, dub, post-punk and psychedelia to a strong and pungent Éthiopiques core.
Tim Cumming




A note of caution: despite the title, this is not the first offering from this adventurous fusion project, and you could have heard many of the songs before. Introducing… draws from Invisible System's two previous albums, Punt and Street Clan, as well as The Cauldron EP, and adds some good extra material.
Currently a download-only affair, Introducing… will be released on CD in September, as a "bonus" album with the new Rough Guide to Ethiopia. But it's well worth checking out now if you've not heard Invisible System before.
A boldly unusual project, the man behind it all is Dan Harper. A former aid worker in Ethiopia, Harper built his own studio and persuaded several of the country's best musicians to record with him. Back in England, he asked a wide selection of British musicians to contribute, with Harper on guitar, bass, percussion and programming.

Results, for the most part, are impressive, with the African recordings matched against settings that range from dub reggae to trip hop and psychedelic rock.
Though there were sections on the Street Clan album where the Ethiopians were almost lost in the exuberant musical blitz, Harper manages to avoid such problems here: the backing is assured and at times even restrained, though still highly original.

The Ethiopian musicians include the great Mahmoud Ahmed (whose compelling voice can be heard on Maljam Kehnoelish), along with pianist Samuel Yirga and singers Tsedenia Gebre Markos and Mimi Zenebe of Dub Colossus. The British players include Justin Adamsand Ed Wynne.

Introducing… presents considerable variety, with songs like Oumabetty dominated by powerful Ethiopian female vocals, set against a rumbling bassline, while on Skunk Funk the vocals are set against a slinky groove. Gondar Sub finds African singing dissected by slashing, reggae-influenced guitar lines, and there's more reggae on the upbeat Mama Yey, which includes Jamaican-style toasting.
The closer, Fiten Azorkugn, sounds more mainstream and contemporary, though it's dressed up with throbbing bass and percussion. All told, this is impressively original stuff.

Robin Denselow 2012-07-27





It makes perfect sense that World Music Network would put out a second edition of The Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia. The first, in 2004, was a near-perfect sampler comprised of classic tracks from the Ethiopiques collections. Volume 2 goes further, showcasing not only Golden Age performers like Mahmoud Ahmed and Orchestra Ethiopia but also several fusions of those old time sounds with other genres, ideas and players from outside Ethiopia. Thus we are treated to sax great Getatchew Mekuria jamming through a new version of that great standard "Musicawi Silt" accompanied by Dutch band The Ex, the funk/hip hop leanings of Bole 2 Harlem, Krar Collective's tart mix of ancient lyre riffs and modern attitude, Tirudel Zenbe's interpretation of traditional rhythms for contemporary dance floors, solo piano brilliance from Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou (who got her start way back in the 1940s) and much more, including a hot bonus disc by Anglo-Ethiopian outfit Invisible System, who mix familiar Ethiopian modes with techno, dub and all manner of sonic experimentation. Wild, wonderful and very highly recommended.
World Music Central Review






The latest of the label's unlabeled updates/Second Editions/Volume 2s of national overviews they did well by the first time (catalogue number: 1286CD) favors 21st-century material whether it's quinquagenarian Dutch punks inviting a septuagenarian saxophonist up from Addis or Tirudel Zenebe's abrasive Ethiopian disco. On some of the 13 tracks, the beats and tonalities first documented by the completist overkill of Buda Musique's Selassie-era Éthiopiques collections are infused with a funkier feel, but the old-school stuff also sounds pretty fresh-my favorite is a contemplative workout on a buzzing lyre called the begena by Zerfu Demissie, one of many artists here better served as a taste on a sampler than an album-length meal. Which in turn is provided by Anglo-Ethiopian Invisible System's bonus disc, a best-of that often surpasses their track on the overview. Start with "Gondar Sub," or "Dark Entries."
Robert Christgau USA





Which roughly translates as "With Invisible System, which like Dub Colossus dub reggae in its 'package' but has a broader spectrum of styles handling, including post-punk and even techno, finally we get another side of Ethiopian music presented."

Dutch review of the Rough Guide




People really began discovering vintage Ethiopian music with the superb Ethiopiques series, which showed just how varied and soulful the scene was in Ethiopia during the 1970s. It's arguable that it's just as vibrant these days, as this excellent compilation shows. There are some international collaborations from Dub Colossus and Invisible System (who are given an entire bonus album with this disc and are well worth hearing, managing to be sonically adventurous, incorporating many elements, including dub, into their sound, without losing the essential Ethio-centric core of the music), but the focus is on the homegrown. There's still soul, from Mahmoud Ahmed, then the strangeness of Krar Collective, who've been garnering widespread praise, and it's easy to understand why. Jazz has long been part of the spectrum and the glorious Samuel Yirga offers plenty here. The overall variety of the disc makes it a joy, an excellent snapshot of a country's music, and an indispensable primer. Add in cult favorites the Ex on one cut and you have a real winner.

Chris Nickson www.allmusic.com / itunes

       

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bill Laswell / Sacred System - [2002] - Book of Exit - Chamber 4 [usa+eth]








      It's difficult to think of a musician more prolific than Bill Laswell. Every year, this guy's name comes on the spine of three to seven albums, not to mention being buried in the credits of probably a dozen more. His brilliance isn't really up for debate-- the sheer consistency of his releases guarantees that-- but after a while, consistency can get a bit numbing. Laswell is excellent at what he does, but truly definitive statements, like the amazing Invisible Design, are rare in his catalogue; his best work is spread out over too many discs to count, instead of being concentrated in one place.




Bill Laswell / Sacred System - Ethiopia




      This is where Laswell's project, the preposterously named Sacred System: Book of Exit; Dub Chamber 4, comes in. Over the years, Laswell has released a veritable pantsload of dub-themed releases, and this new one follows in the much the same vein: deep bass, slow tempos, cavernous echo, and a nebulous sense of composition. As dub releases goes, it's fairly minimal; while there aren't piles of freaky samples-- in fact, there's really no clutter at all to speak of-- it's nothing Laswell hasn't explored many times before.


       The album's six tracks are split evenly between Laswell-composed tests of a dub autopilot machine he's apparently been working on, and three songs he wrote with Ethiopian singer Ejigayehu "GiGi" Shibabaw. While Laswell's chilled-out dub instrumentals aren't bad by any means, they don't hold a candle to the vocal tracks; I'm not sure what language GiGi is singing in when she leaves English behind (Ethiopia has six major languages-- the principle being Amharic-- and several more minor ones), but in the context of the music, it's beside the point, as her mellifluous delivery is ultimately what cuts through the dubby haze.


        Beyond GiGi herself, there's a certain drive to the three tracks she sings on that seems missing from the others. Percussionists Karsh Kale and Aiyb Dieng are consummate craftsmen, but on the dub tracks they're limited to a small window, making it difficult for them to break things up with the virtuosity they're known for. They're given a freer hand on the vocal tunes, though, which invariably results in a much more palpable sense of urgency and fire.


      Ultimately, it's most interesting to think of what could come of a full-scale collaboration between GiGi and Laswell: as it stands, half of this album is electrifying, the other merely passable. Under usual circumstances I might recommend this, but if you don't already own Laswell's essential releases like Psychonavigation, Invisible Design, or the various and excellent records by his other projects Praxis, Tabla Beat Science, Material, and Massacre, Sacred System can easily wait. If you're reasonably well versed in Bill's oeuvre, proceed as you wish, but know what to expect: Laswell dub by-the-numbers.



  1/  Ethiopia - (Laswell,Shibabaw) (6:14)
  2/  Lower Gound - (Laswell) 7.34
  3/  Shashamani - (Laswell)  7.29
  4/  Bati - (Laswell,Shibabaw) 7.47
  5/  Land of Look Behind - (Laswell) 6.45
  6/  Jerusalem - (Laswell,Shibabaw) 12.29



Bill Laswell - bass, guitar, keyboards 
Ejigayehu "GiGi" Shibabaw - vocals 
Karsh Kale - drums, tabla
Aiyb Dieng - percussion



..................................................................................

REVIEWS :


       One of the most prolific men in music, Bill Laswell doesn't release albums under his own name as often as he once did, which makes Book of Exit, the fourth in his "Dub Chamber" series, especially worthy of attention. While the previous "Dub Chamber" releases leaned more toward hard Jamaican-style dub music, with instruments dropping in and out and plenty of reverb and delay, this is altogether a different beat, in large part due to the vocals of Ethiopian singer Gigi. And what Laswell, Gigi, drummer/tabla player Karsh Kale, and percussionist Aiyb Dieng end up with is really ambient dub -- something lighter and more flowing because it adapts itself to the vocals. And Gigi is in excellent form, possibly better than on her own debut, whether on "Ethiopia" or the memorable, beautiful "Jerusalem," which mixes a slight R&B inflection with dub for something outstanding, beautiful, and ethereal. Laswell's light hand at the controls (even the disc's heaviest track, "The Lower Ground," is hardly the stuff of Lee "Scratch" Perry and King Tubby) works subtly -- shifts happen gradually, making for a sense of movement and focus about the pieces. And his work on guitar, bass, and keyboards is as accomplished as his colleagues. Slightly unearthly but always lovely, this dub chamber is a place worth exploring.
Chris Nickson (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)


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       Mr. Bill Laswell, one of the world’s busiest producer/performers is at it again. This fellow’s got his fingers in so many diverse musical pies of his own and others (who’s baking he supervises) it’s dizzying – and therein lies the rub, bub. With all the stuff he puts out (under his own name or a nom de musique) - not even counting the myriad sessions he produces - Laswell may as well have his own Disc of the Month Club, the downside being all the output can’t all be good. But he’s thrown us a curve w/ his latest, and it’s a humdinger.

       The latest in his Sacred System: Dub Chamber series, Book of Exit, is something of a radical departure from the others. They all feature dense, dark, jazz-, reggae- and Middle Eastern-inflected dub – similar approach here, but this ‘un lets a bit of light in. For one thing, it’s got a vocalist: the excellent Ethiopian singer “Gigi” Shibabaw, who has an entrancingly high, translucent, ethereal voice (a wee bit like Flora Purim), with strong Middle Eastern/North African overtones (though with a heart-rending touch of modal Irish-ness on the closer “Jerusalem”), though she does not overdo the melisma common to most Arabic singers. This stuff is as heavily rhythmic as before (re: the other fine discs on R.O.I.R.) and Laswell still uses the holy language of Dub to communicate, but it’s not as ominous and bass-heavy, more spacious and a little brighter. The instrumental sounds seem to gently, gracefully soar over (and occasionally down) yawning chasms. Laswell plays a few guitar lines encompassing shades of both West African guitar music and the late Jerry Garcia. You can actually listen to this one in the daylight, while the other volumes are definitely for night or darken rooms. (That’s not a put-down, btw.) This particular Book I’ve been able to sit through twice in one sitting, and there’s not many discs out there that have that power. Highly Recommended, this one is.

Mark Keresman (courtesy of the JazzReview.com website)

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       Bill Laswell is one of those "everywhere-at-once" musicians—producing, engineering and playing bass on countless albums for other artists, as well as maintaining an absurdly prolific release schedule of his own music. This album is mysteriously billed as 'Dub Chamber 4,' and since I haven't heard the first three Dub Chambers, I'm questoning my qualifications to write this review. However, this album does bear quite a resemblance Laswell's 'RadioAxiom: A Dub Transmission' album, a collaboration with Jah Wobble released early last year. Like that album, 'Book of Exit' is a highly polished series of superlative ethnic music workouts, utilizing heavily percussive dub as a backbone. This strategy has worked for Laswell many times before, and it works here again. Three of the six tracks contain beautiful, serpentine vocals by Ethiopian singer GiGi, who also sang on 'RadioAxiom'. GiGi's seductively epic vocal style works wonderfully in this context, but as Laswell's music always floats dangerously close to New Age/Worldbeat territory, it's difficult for me to completely surrender to its beauty. There is something a little enraging about white westerners who shamelessly co-opt the music of other cultures and blend them into a super hi-fi pastiche that loses its meaning and context, and serves as stereo test fodder for thousands of yuppie bachelor pads. The only things that save Laswell's music from being relegated to this hall of shame are his incredible grasp of composition, subtlety, and his ear for rich, captivating production. It is this amazing ear that transforms the opening track "Ethiopia"—a combination of cleanly plucked acoustic guitar, tabla, multitracked voice and echo chamber—from an easy cliché into an alarmingly beautiful experience. Most of the album follows this same basic formula, until things get a little bone-shaking and mind-bending towards the end, with the one-two punch of "Shashamani" and "Land of Look Behind." The album concludes with the long-form heroic pop of "Jerusalem," an achingly lovely paean to an ancient holy land, rife with war and division. GiGi sings mostly in English this time, and her sad and timely refrain of "Jerusalem, Jerusalem/You are so undone/Oh, what have you done...?" leave no doubt of this album's worthiness.


courtesy of the Brainwashed website