Album: Invisible System, Punt: Made in Ethiopia (Harper Diabate)

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The Independent Culture

Last October's release of A Town Called Addis by Dub Colossus crystallised the latent potential of the crossover between dub reggae and the indigenous pop and jazz of Ethiopia. Dan Harper, who helped record the African musicians on that album, now offers his own entry in that hybrid genre as Invisible System, with a similar blend of African and European elements. It's not as slickly mixed as A Town Called Addis – hardly surprising, given that Dub Colossus is the alter-ego of Nick Page, aka mixmaster Count Dubulah of Transglobal Underground – but there's a pleasing headiness to its rough charm. And the range of Harper's guests – from sundry members of Ozric Tentacles, Zion Train and Loop Guru, through the well-traveled and reliable pairing of Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara, to the emotive majesty of Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed's voice on "Melkam Kehonelish" – ensures there's usually something of interest happening. The blend of haunting local vocals, tamboura drones, jazz reeds and ritti and masenqo one-string fiddles with dub-skank grooves develops a pleasing, if occasionally amorphous, momentum.

Download this: 'Melkam Kehonelish' ('If That Is What You Want'), 'Hode Baba' ('I'm Worried He's Moving'), 'Ewnetun Nigeregn' ('Tell Me The Truth')