Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics - Inspiration Information
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The third in Strut’s Inspiration Information studio collaboration series brings together an intriguing pairing between one of Africa’s great 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. Informed by spells living and studying in the UK and the USA, his self-styled 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, five tone scale arrangements and elements from music of the ancient Coptic church.
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. 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’.
“ It’s like going back to the feel of the ‘60s, it really feels like that,” explains Mulatu. “There’s a new composition, ‘Cha Cha’, and ‘Dewel’, heavily influenced by an Ethiopian Coptic Church composer called Yard. The band took it and added what they feel. It’s a nice experiment.”