Review: While many avid Mulatu fans will no doubt already own a copy of the master's first - and perhaps most ingenious - work from 1972, one can certainly rely on the mighty Strut to put together a fine reissue. Of note, unlike the many versions which have been retrained by Worthy Records over the years, this new take includes many little extras that are special enough to tempt even the most munitioned Mulatu collectors; aside from seven tracks from Mulatu Of Ethiopia, an utterly inimitable psychedelic jazz journey that defined Ethiopia's entire sound in relation to the genre, this new version includes a whole selection of previously unheard cuts. There are mono album mixes of all the original tunes plus a wide selection of 'takes' from the original recording session, so this LP should have no problem in working up a bit of hype and hysteria from the original-pressing-junkies. This is an essential, highly recommended!
Review: Mulatu Astatke is a legendary musician who is famous for his signature playing on the vibraphone. Here he blends his Ethio-jazz sounds with the Melbourne-based group Black Jesus Experience to serve up a mix of re-interpreted African folk songs and odes to his homeland. 'To Know Without Knowing' has a decidedly hip hop edge thanks to the vocal flow and 'Mascaram Setaba' is an Ethio classic. Another highlight is 'Living On Stolen Land' which is dedicated to the First Nations people of Australia and acknowledges the pain and injustice of them not being recognised as the traditional owners of Australia.
Review: Another weighty slab of Ethiopian music history from Mr Bongo... First up is the hugely influential fusionist Mulatu Astatke with the Latin-meets-Afro jam "Assiyo Bellema". Loaded with frenetic guitars and mesmerising drum work from Frank Holder, this was actually recorded during Mulatu's time in London. Flip for an equally influential force in Ethiopian music: Soul Ekos Band affiliate Teshome Meteku with a more traditional local sound, Teshome's yearning insistent vocals wrap around the horns and tight drums like fog around a mountain. Captivating.