“Mulatu of Ethiopia”
1972 Worth Records (W-1020)
2003 Reissue on 180-gram vinyl
1 Mulatu 5:00
2 Mascaram Setaba 2:40
3 Dewel 4:00
4 Kulunmanqueleshi 2:05
5 Kasalefkut-Hulu 2:25
6 Munaye 3:15
7 Chifara 7:00
BROUGHT TO US BY ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES!!!
Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000
from the back cover:
“Once again Mulatu Astatke has come to us from Ethiopia, with a new and different sound. He has interwoven into his fantastic arrangements the beautiful Ethiopian five-town scale and the Afro-American soul and jazz sounds.
The melodies and rhythms pulsate through your mind hours after hearing them. This is a record you cannot play just once. It is musically addictive, especially when the volume is turned up.
I have worked with Mulatu on three albums and find him to be a unique and creative individual, a composer, arranger, and fine instrumentalist. Here is a man from the New Africa, who will change the face of music, a man destined to make international musical history. All of Ethiopia can be proud of Mulatu Astatke.
Mulatu would like to thank the Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Magos Legesse and Mr. Girpa Geba, for their kindness and cooperation.
— Gil Snapper
President of Worthy Records “
Although “Gil Snapper” may have been prone to hyperbole — and an unnecessary use of commas, which I took the liberty of removing — in the text above, he was right on about one thing: Mulatu Astatke was destined to make international musical history. At the time this album was released, however, he was not nearly as well-known in the US (where these sessions were recorded) than in Africa. Listening to it, it is pretty damn striking just how “ahead of his time” the guy was in 1972, and how much this single record must have influenced a lot of other influential musicians, arrangers, DJs, and so on.
This is some of the funkiest, most ‘out’, and most psychedelic stuff Mulatu ever committed to tape, and to my knowledge has never appeared on any of the voluminous Ethiopiques collections. Most likely due to somebody who has the rights to the obscure Worthy Records label catalog? Well, this was reissued on vinyl in 2003 and apparently on CD only in Japan. I would be interested in hearing the Japanese pressing to see if it lives up to that country’s usual audiophile standards.. Because this vinyl pressing really isn’t worthy (pun intended…) of a 180-gram pressing. That could easily be because of the source material of the master tapes, original mixes, etc, and Lord knows there has been far worse issued as 180-gram strictly to cash in.. Even so, I have heard both the ‘normal’ 2003 repressing and the 180-gram and can’t discern any audible difference between the two. This rip is not from a mint-condition copy and has a rather ‘dull’ fidelity to it, but any distortions you might hear are almost definitely from substandard vinyl-pressing and/or on the masters used for it. Also, although I took some high-resolution photos of the album, I can only find the shots I took of the label on the vinyl, and the album is now in a Galaxy Far Far Away, so you will have to settle for the low-res pics I found on Discogs. If I locate the better photos I will post them here.
The music? F’ing fantastic. Truly hypnotic grooves, fantastic sax and flute work, innovative soul-jazz-funk drumming and bass guitar lines.. Too bad none of the musicians are credited. Unfortunately the keyboard player, who seems to be playing the same two chords on a Farfisa through a wah-wah peddle throughout the entire album, is mixed WAY too loud in the right channel. But even that can’t spoil the sheer joy of this album. (p.s. A listener who grabbed this somewhere else I had posted it tells me he had good results just boosting the left channel about 2 db.)
passw3rd in comments
It’s a short album. Give FLAC a chance!