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Inspiration Information 3

13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 14, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The third in STRUT's Inspiration Information studio collaboration series brings together an intriguing pairing between one of Africa's greatest and most innovative bandleaders, MULATU ASTATKE, with the next level musicianship of THE HELIOCENTRICS collective from the mighty roster of STONES THROW / NOW AGAIN.Known primarily through the successful 'Ethiopiques' album series and the film soundtrack to JIM JARMUSCH's 'Broken Flowers', Mulatu Astatke is one of Ethiopia's foremost musical ambassadors. His selfstyled Ethio-jazz sound flourished during the "Swinging Addis" era of the late '60s as he successfully fused Western jazz and funk with traditional Ethiopian folk melodies. The Heliocentrics have become known as one of the UK's foremost free-thinking collectives of musicians, inspired by a wide palette covering SUN RA, JAMES BROWN, DAVID AXELROD and all manner of psych, Afro and Eastern sounds. The collective have featured on records by MADLIB and DJ SHADOW and are now a fixture within the Stones Throw / Now Again roster, they forged their own genre-breaking directions in the astral analogue groove on their 2007 debut album, 'Out There'.


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 14, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Strut Records
  • ASIN: B001RTYKHW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,082 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andreas C G on January 29, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is easily one of the best new CD's I have heard, and will undoubtedly get a lot of play from me.

I had been looking forward to this one since I heard Mulatu Astatqe was recording a new album. I had high expectations and it does not disappoint! I found out about Mulatu through Ethiopiques Vol. 4, which features his recordings from the late 60's and early 70's, recorded in Ethiopia. I am not familiar with the Jim Jarmush film or the soundtrack, so I can't comment on those. I saw Mulatu live in Los Angeles in ealy 2009 with a band comprised of Bennie Maupin, Phil Rainey, Azar Lawrence, and other top LA jazz musicians, and the show was excellent.

I was not familiar previously with the Heliocentrics. I am assuming their name is inspired by Sun Ra. On this album Mulatu plays mostly piano, although he is also a very gifted vibes player. This CD is an update of the "Ethio-jazz" (his term) of the earlier recordings, melding it with newer funk, fusion and hip-hop rhythms and sounds.

There are many examples of Afro-Jazz which meld western elements with primarily West African elements. This stands out, in no small part, because it incorporates music from the Horn of Africa. The proximity to the Middle East and North Africa is quite evident in Ethiopian music, particularly in the vocal styles. Track one of the album includes vocals from an Ethiopian singer, and is one of the album's highlights (there are no "lowlights").

Although the Ethiopian elements do add a certain exoticism to the music, this is an album that should be easily enjoyed by any fans of funk, Afro-pop, or jazz fusion with an open mind.

Do check this one out, and spread the word!
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Morgan on September 14, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard about this album on NPR and bought it on impulse. I am really glad I did. This is a really interesting album that melds experimental, fusion and world music in a really interesting and yet accesible way. I love the horn work. The entire album creates this certain vibe that is cool and hip. Well worth the money for something different but not so out there that you can't relate. Perfect for someone expanding their listening horizons.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Paul Harless on August 21, 2009
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
This is an amazing album of Ethiopian jazz/funk. Mulatu Astatke is mostly known in the U.S. for his music used in the film "Broken Flowers."

However, I regret buying the vinyl version of this album from Amazon. Here's why: some, if not all, of Amazon's fulfillment centers do not have album shipping boxes. Instead, they throw them in a general-purpose box that is too large. Unless you like your album jackets dog-eared or bent, you'll do better by purchasing them from a dealer who knows how to ship vinyl.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grant Green on August 27, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hats off the the Heliocentrics crew for hooking up with Mulatu Astake.
Hats off to the production on this recording.
My hat is off and i am getting sunburnt.

If you are a jazz head you might know of Mulatu and his Ethiopetes jazz series (from the 1960's and 70's) and their unique melodic phasing on the horns. I was quite a fan of one of the several issues with the Ethiopetes but i found the others quite difficult to listen to.

The Heliocentrics have one foot firmly rooted in Funk and it works really well on the 'one' and brings back some simple groove to what can sometimes be quite complex ethio jazz arrangements.

This Heliocentrics recording is EASY listening, with some infectious electric bass, brilliant percussion ad all layered up to showcase the unique phrasing of Mulatu Astake's style which is rooted in Ethio jazz.

I dont know why i would mention 'St germain', but for some reason it kind of reminds me of that stuff, but with a lot more creativity, but that same easy listening feel about it.

I enjoy this album very much, even more than the old recordings of Mulatu Astake and I am now a convert of the Heliocentrics and greatly look forward to their future recordings.

This album is one for the jazz head, as it is different, new and fresh....but also a really nice one for anyone on the fence wondering about the world of jazz....i guess it would classified as 'jazz' but it seems a bit too funky, too many twisted fusions to be called straight 'jazz'.
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Lots of labels being thrown around to describe this hybrid sound: Ethio-Jazz ... Ethno-Jazz ... Afro-Jazz-Fusion. Well, it's all that and more. The word "innovative" often gets overused, but in the case of Malatu Astake & Heliocentrics, the term is appropriate. They are creating some truly exciting and creative sounds on this album. Even though this isn't quite the same as Astake's vintage recordings that have been resurrected recently on the Ethiopiques albums (and they are mighty fine!) and he plays more piano than vibes on this album, it still has that eerie, atmospheric sound that he does so well. My only disappointment was a trivial one: When I saw the title "Inspiration Information" I expected a cover version of the incredible Shuggie Otis song of the same name ...but that wasn't the case. Nevertheless, this is a most excellent album that should appeal to fans of improv jazz and African jazz.

Piano vibes
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