Mulatu Astatke
Ethiopiques 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale


4.5
superb

Review

by Guilherme Boldrin USER (15 Reviews)
March 2nd, 2013 | 46 replies | 2,053 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mulato Astatke mysteriously creates his own cosmos, blurring the boundaries between worlds.

Mulatu Astatke is highly considered the most important jazz musician coming from Ethiopia, defining in a certain way, what was going to be known as Ethio-Jazz. He created a very singular style of jazz improvisation and rhythmic innovations conducting it to a more danceable groovy endeavor at the same time with an obscure and strange touch.

Éthiopiques vol.04 became a little famous being part of Jim Jarmusch film “Broken Flowers” which contain several tracks coming from this album, it's possibly his most famous album containing some of the most recognizable tunes of his career. It has a variable range of styles, strong brass lines with marked piano harmonies, sometimes ballads with acoustic guitar bases or even some funky tracks with the groove it needs.

Everything here is about space and time, take care to not catch yourself wandering around the city at 3 AM just trying to notch your world to Mulato's atmosphere, or maybe just starting to feel paranoid wondering about solving crimes. When it comes to music itself, what we got here is remarkable also by its simplicity, there is no extreme diversified demonstration of jazz scales, it's the old minor chords doing their job, leading a very stylish world of emotive experimentation.

The first track, “Yèkèrmo Sèw”, bring to the surface all that is hidden in the core of Mulato's music, it has one of the most unforgettable brass riffs I will ever listen, the drums driving time with a cool bass-line on it and an incredible clean sound while the mysterious and charming riff keep doing it's work. This composition has a great progression and it's like some sort of presentation of the band, everybody has a moment, sax, piano, electric guitar and xylophone improvise on a never stopping rhythm section. It's fast, but in a strange way, it goes like if it's in a sluggish tempo, comparable if it's a fast movement watch in slow motion.

“Mètché Dershé” is more mysterious than the previous song and has a beautiful piano line, it feels like you must dance it with eyes closed in some kind of smoky room in a black and white scene in a very old movie, like some noir movie.The sax solo is very charming, so as the guitar and piano ones. This characteristic of mysterious tone will come back in full force on tracks like “Gubèlyé”and “Sabyé” and the last “Dèwèl” which sounds like a detective movie soundtrack. The other sound in the rest of the album goes from soft ballads to funky tunes with extreme brass touches.

“Yègellé Tezeta” and “Munayé” are like some kind of psychedelic legacy from jazz to the rock in it's most 70 feel, not without a sense of tropical warm danceable in a very elegant way. There are happier tracks, being the most funky ones too, like “Kasalèfkut Hulu” which is maybe the funkiest track on the album also delivering very cool saxophone lines, a very funny music, less marked having more relaxed percussion work. “Yèkatit” is some kind of middle term among the mysterious and the dancing and somewhat tropical vibe of songs like “Nètsanèt”.

The sound sometimes gets really close to some sense of psychedelia, there's a little of everything, some moments of rock since the guitar is very distorted, almost contorted at times, what is suddenly crossed with reggae tons of brass and then suddenly all you can hear is Jazz.

“Tezeta” is a beautiful waltz, some of the fragile moments of the album, the sax is again, unforgettable, It's Mulato relaxing, jazzing slow, like some gardener taking care of flowers, cutting its thorns off, just letting the good emotions going on. This and “Ené Alantchi Alnorem” are soft moments with rich improvisation lines, but in some way Mulato works best with groovy mysterious themes than with soft moments, so, if I had to point weak points of the album, those were going to be the slowest tracks.

I do not want to highlight every song on the album neither is my intention to make a track by track review, I almost have done these things, maybe because it's hard for me to express all the different feelings I got when listening to this. It's weird at the same time it's very contained music and it's virtuous being polished simultaneously when keeping the simplicity of the rhythm section. It's jazz to appreciate and also dance, to walk on the streets alone in the darkness or just to put on your player in a Saturday happening at home. Its good music and I highly recommend it, like someone said about Mulato Astatke on Broken Flowers: “It's good for the soul.”



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
oubli
March 2nd 2013


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I dont know what is happening to the album cover. I tried to upload it several times from different archives and the thing remains broke. If someone know how I fix it, please tell me.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


15035 Comments


I luuuv "Tezeta"

oubli
March 2nd 2013


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And I just realized this album is duplicated in his page. And yeah! I love "Tezeta" too!

Winesburgohio
March 2nd 2013


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's already on the database brah

great album great review you're a wondrous man etc.

Digging: Duke Ellington and John Coltrane - Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

liledman
March 2nd 2013


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album.

Havey
March 2nd 2013


9679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

user oubli I think I am in a high enough position of gypsy swag to award you with 50 gypsy points for reviewing this album

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2013


15035 Comments


i wrote a short play with this guy as one of two characters for this summer program thing i went to lol

oubli
March 2nd 2013


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Havey I'm real flattered!

@robertsona Cool! Mulato as a role, must have been cool!



kitsch
March 2nd 2013


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have had track number 4 on this CD as my alarm clock track for months.

Good to see this album getting some love, it was one of the first CDs i ordered online when i was like 14 or 15. Along with DMST.

kitsch
March 2nd 2013


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also i think this is more of a comp. Astatke is the main contributor but iirc there are a few tracks here and there by other artists.

oubli
March 2nd 2013


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Actually there are traditional compositions and a song by Girma Hadgu, but I think all of the songs are performed by Astatkes's group.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/ethiopiques-vol-4-ethio-jazz-amp-musique-instrumentale-1969-1974-mw0000601854

But yeah, is somewhat of a comp.

Havey
March 2nd 2013


9679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don't celebrate just yet, oubli, your award is not conclusive, for we must wait for my master to approve my distribution of gypsy points.

Hopefully he'll get here shortly

oubli
March 2nd 2013


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, ok Havey, it' sounds quite fair, I will keep myself on standby

Keyblade
March 6th 2013


14820 Comments


have to get this one too it seems. mulatu of ethiopia is just omg

Digging: Strawberry Switchblade - Strawberry Switchblade

Emyay
March 20th 2013


5952 Comments


found myself dancing in my office to one of these tracks earlier. not usually into jazz but this is cool shit

Havey
March 20th 2013


9679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still waiting for a certain user to come by

YankeeDudel
March 20th 2013


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

potsy already appointed you honorary gypsy swagger you dont need his approval be your own man and FLYYYY

Digging: Walknut - Graveforests And Their Shadows

Havey
March 20th 2013


9679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes but im not black belt yet idk if im allowed to give out points

Havey
March 20th 2013


9679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i summon you silentpotato

Havey
March 20th 2013


9679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

did it work



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