Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tilahoun Gessesse and the Wailias Band LP - Psychic Sounds Research Records
Tilahoun Gessesse with the Walias Band - S/T LP - Psychic Sounds Research
Very limited edition LP with cool, silk-screened covers. The liner notes provided helpful biographical information about this titan of Ethiopian music (Ethiopiques Vol. 17 is 100% Gessesse), but very little about the particular music on this record. I would date these recordings to the early 70s, maybe late 60s, judging by the groovy-heavy, almost proto-disco vibe of the songs and analog sound of the recordings. The basic MO here is: set up a tight, funky vamp then let Gessesse cut loose over the top. Modern ears will delight at the production values which place the band in a swirl of reverb and give Gessesse's in-the-red vocals a heavy coat of gritty slap-back. The way everything sounds makes it easy to imagine hearing these songs performed at 3am in sweltering Ethiopian heat. Very nice LP, anyone with an interest in Ethiopian music will find a lot to like here, but the general funkiness (great basslines!) and upbeat rhythm of the songs make it pretty widely accessible, I would say. I honestly can't tell you much about the availability of Gessesse's music, looks like a French label did an LP recently, but these seem to be the only two out there. Eric at Mississippi, who co-released this record, tells me this is the only place to get it online.

Email to order.

Here's the track-list for Ethiophiles (sorry, the Ethiopian titles are written Ge'ez!):

A Child From Menjar
If You're Not Here, You Don't Exist
You're Above Life
Is That So?

She Sent Me With A False Smile
True Love
Have Nots, Have No Friends

Tilahoun Gessesse LP back cover
Tilahoun Gessesse LP (detail)

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