Dub Colossus

In a Town Called Addis

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When Nick Page) (aka Dubulah, a charter member of the legendary worldbeat ensemble Transglobal Underground), spent a summer in Addis Ababa, he quite unsurprisingly ended up in the studio with a revolving cast of local singers and instrumentalists. The result of that month-long experiment was this utterly entrancing album, a bubbling stew of reggae, dub, Azmari singing, traditional instruments, and rich horn charts (courtesy of the Horns of Negus). At times the musical fusion recalls some of Bill Laswell's work, especially the dark and dreamy arrangements he has written for his Ethiopian wife Gigi, and at other times the music swirls and dances in entirely unique and unexpected ways. "Shegye Shegitu," which primarily features piano, handclaps,and call-and-response vocals, is good but not spectacular; the one-drop extravaganza "Black Rose" (on which charming female vocals are accompanied by what sounds like a strummed dulcimer and are then quietly upstaged by a brief and jaw-dropping guitar solo) and "Yeka Sub City Rockers" (with its weird flute, trippy ambience and keening male vocals) are much more impressive, and for the most part the program holds up the high standard it sets. Strongly recommended to all adventurous dub fans.

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