Ethio Meditations

22/06/2023Munich-Based Multi-Instrumentalist JJ Whitefield Drops Ethio-Infused Library Soundtrack For Madlib Invazion

Nothing like a healthy dose of Ethiopian vibes to set the mind at ease. Leave it to Munich-based multi-instrumentalist JJ Whitefield to present the latest Ethio-infused instrumental offering for the Madlib Invazion Music Library Series. Launched by the Beat Konductor himself and Now-Again Records' mastermind Egon over the course of the global lockdown to keep the music alive and "give their creative friends the ability to stretch out and indulge in whatever type of music they wanted for release on the label," the select roster is set to feature twelve exclusive releases over the next twelve months by the likes of DJ Muggs, Karriem Riggins, J-Zone, the Heliocentrics’ Malcolm Catto and Jake Ferguson, Motif Alumni and Music Research Library, Mario Luciano of Polyphonic Music Library, Henkel, Gabriel Rowland of Los Yesterdays, Dan Hastie and Terin Ector of Orgone, Dan Ubick and Joe Harrison.

The ever prolific JJ Whitefield (aka the driving force behind thrilling projects such as Karl Hector & the Malcouns, the Whitefield Brother and Poets of Rhythm), decided to answer the call and set out to conceive a run of "Ethio Meditations / Drama al Dente", now marking the series' opening release. Following the official brief, being that "the music had to be great and able to be presented as a stand alone album – like the best 'Music Library' releases of the past, on labels like Italy’s Sermi, Germany’s Bruton, France’s MP2000 and the UK’s DeWolfe, [...] and work as easy, one-stop clearance for background cues in film and television production and, as producers have been indulging since the 1990s, for sampling," Whitefield recently unveiled 19 very much cinematic instrumental gems for avid listeners to relish.

Accompanied by Jakob Thu, Sam Davids and Igor Zhukovsky on drums, Karl Hector on bass, Essatu Baraki on keys, Wolfi Schlick on sax/flute, Getachew Atya on vibraphone and Thomas Lea for violin, viola and string arrangements, JJ Whitefield adds guitar, sitar, bamboo flute and synth to the already versatile roster. The result is an evocative production of the highest quality, both mysterious and infectiously suave, strutting its stuff in an easy breezy manner. What potentially could have turned out to be well-intended piecemeal is inherently cohesive and sure to stick. More than being yet another Ethio-fanboy-recap, this project dares to break suit and go beyond the call of duty to explore roads less travelled, making it all the more absorbing. Prepare to have this record be the mainstay of your budding collection, one you'll be sure to return to and, quite possibly, just the first of twelve extraordinary collectibles.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom