Invisible System, Street Clan review in fRoots by Jamie Renton
The origins of Dubulah’s project can be traced back to his stay out in Ethiopia as a guest of Brit producer/multi-instrumentalist Dan Harper, whose Invisible System project takes apparently similar ingredients to Dub Colossus with very different results. As on IS’s debut, 2009’s Punt, Harper has invited a whole range of performers from Ethiopia and also the UK’s alt rock and reggae scenes, to improvise something for him to play with, mix and generally sound-sculpt into a series of tracks which (when this process works), are greater than the sum of their disparate and off-the-cuff parts. Street Clan has got a more unified sound than its predecessor, an earthy rumble of rock, dub and Ethiopian influences, its lo-fi character driven as much by necessity (Harper wasn’t blessed with the record label patronage that allowed Dub Col their studio trimmings) as by choice. Like Dubulah’s album it’s a sprawling affair, checking in at nearly 80 minutes, and its rockier excursions aren’t to my taste. But there are some dirty-beautiful moments of musical transcendence here, especially when the combination of young Ethio singer Zewditu Tadesse and UK-Jamaican vet Dennis Wint roar and ride over the mutant dub-Ethiopiques-techno-rock backing. As with his earlier album, Street Clan repays repeated attention.
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