Gio Makyo and Claire Rintoul the latest pledge troopers to Malian musicians, thanks guys -
Under the name Invisible System for the album Tiga Tej Tibsunder both Cross cultural Collaboration and Best Group. Ethiopian, Malian, Cameroon and Jamaican vocalists and players.
The first album I wrote under the name Invisible System : Punt (Made in Ethiopia) made it to the finals as best newcomer a couple of years back. That had Captain Sensible, The Missions Simon Hinkler, Eat Static, Zion Train, Mahmoud Ahmed etc guesting and it was a nice result for an indie with some major labels and artists in the run who can work full time on it all.
Many thanks to all.
There's a huge sea change between Invisible System's debut and this sophomore outing. Where the first was definitely based around Ethiopian music, this is a much more amorphous and adventurous beast. If it needs to be defined, it's a rock -- maybe even post-rock -- album. Ethiopia is still there, and some of the music was recorded in Addis Ababa. But many of the sounds were made in England using a truly staggering range of musicians, and there's a powerful Jamaican influence at work here, too. If you need an analogy, think of the work of Adrian Sherwood, or even some PiL (in fact, "Mutant Miners" sounds like it could be have been smuggled off some fantastical PiL album). This is world music in the sense that it was made by people from different parts of the globe coming together, but its roots are in the here and now rather than in any tradition. It's challenging, adventurous, and heavily textured; the tracks were recorded live and later chopped up and mixed, although you'd never notice the joints. It might prove to be one of the finds of 2011, a real sonic adventure that speaks highly of Dan Harper, the man behind it all.
“More wild, frantic and unexpected than its well-received predecessor. ”
Robin Denselow 2011-04-21
It’s impossible not to admire Dan Harper. Until five years ago, he was an aid worker in Ethiopia, where he not only became fascinated by the country’s remarkable music scene but built his own studio in Addis Ababa and managed to persuade leading local artists to record with him. He also invited producer and bassist Nick Page, also known as Count Dubulah, out to Ethiopia and introduced him to his musical friends; as a result, Page formed his highly successful Ethiopian fusion band Dub Colossus.
Once he returned to England, where he now works as an unconventional music teacher in the West Country, Harper continued work on a fusion project of his own. He persuaded an impressive selection of British musicians to add their contributions to his Ethiopian recordings, and the result was the album Punt, credited to a band Harper called Invisible System. It included a remarkable cast, from the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed through to punk hero Captain Sensible, guitarist Justin Adams and Count Dubulah; the results veered from African styles to psychedelic rock, trip-hop and dub. Although this was originally something of an obscure DIY release, Harper managed to bring his work to national attention, and won impressive reviews.
Since then, the two Ethiopian fusion experiments have continued. Dub Colossus, now a rousing live band rather than merely a studio project, have a new album of Ethio-jazz and reggae fusions, Addis Through the Looking Glass, while Invisible System have a very different second set, Street Clan.
Once again, the album is based around recordings that Harper made in Africa – this time in Mali as well as Ethiopia – to which he adds his own guitar, bass, synth programming, percussion and production work. Then there are contributions from a new set of Western musicians, including the great American guitarist Skip McDonald, Adrian Utley from Portishead, Stuart Fisher (who has worked with Courtney Love), and members of psychedelic hippie heroes Ozric Tentacles. Then there’s Jamaican singer Dennis Wint, who Harper met in the Somerset town of Frome, where he lives and works.
Street Clan is even more wild, frantic and unexpected than Punt, with sections that work brilliantly and tracks where Ethiopian vocals are surrounded by a blitz of thrash guitar and percussion, results ranging from exhilarating to messy. The best tracks come towards the end, where the emphasis shifts from the clash of African vocals with full-tilt Western guitars, through to more conventional dub reggae. There’s still an African edge to Teenage Lion and Broken Heart, thanks to the vocal work from Zewditu Tadesse; but Wint dominates the songs with an energy and style that makes him sound like an unlikely male answer to early Patti Smith.
New York Times Review
As an aid worker in Ethiopia and Mali, Dan Harper started recording local singers and bands. Then, as a musical project he called Invisible System, he started tinkering — extensively and transformatively — with what he collected, playing guitar, bass and synthesizers and adding collaborators. On Invisible System’s second album, “Street Clan” (Harper Diabate), the African sounds are melded with mean metal riffs, funk bass lines, dance beats, psychedelic guitar jams, dub-style echoes, the righteous declamations of a Jamaican-British reggae singer (Dennis Wint) and more. It’s a latter-day, more chopped up, more aggressive follow-through on the ideas of “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.” The roiling results have some of the volatility of the Mars Volta and Jimi Hendrix and the implacability of Lee Scratch Perry. The reggae honors the Rastafarian tenet of a return to Ethiopia, although it sometimes tilts toward cliché. But the Ethiopian singers — Zewditu Tadesse, Tawebe and Mimi — are all grabbers: raspy and passionate, their voices leaping out of the tracks.
Invisible System Takes World Fusion Music to a New Level with New CD Street Clan
Master musician Dan Harper and Invisible System has once again orchestrated a fusion masterpiece with his new CD Street Clan. With a more aggressive tone than last years Punt (Made in Ethiopia), Street Clan combines a European base with a Jamaican groove and an Ethiopian feel.
At first listen, I thought this CD would be great for a London or West Hollywood underground club. The second listen made me think it really needs to be played with hundreds of people in a mosh pit. After playing it everyday for a week, I finally realized this CD is perfect for one person in a mosh pit with hundreds of wild animals! This is mass confusion at its best! You will not be able to decide if you should go to a hip club or go on an African safari. Either way, the music is superb and the human expression is amazing.
Street Clan has grabbed graffiti from an international wall and transferred the meaning behind it into music. With a cast of experienced musicians from around the world, Invisible System’s Street Clan gets another five star review!
Check it out at www.HarperDiabate.com
(HARPER DIABATE RECORDS) www.harperdiabate.com
Following Invisible System’s acclaimed, award nominated, debut Punt (Made In Ethiopia) comes this second eclectic helping of global fusion that once again knocks any preconceptions of ‘world music’ into a cocked hat. As with its predecessor Street Clan brings together Ethiopian musicians with members of bands as diverse as Hole, Portishead, Little Axe, Eat Static and The Ozric Tentacles and, just to make things even more interesting, adds a couple of Jamaican reggae vocalists, (Sydney Salmon from Shashamene, Ethiopia and Dennis Wint who Invisible System main man Dan Harper bumped into in Frome High Street) to the mix. Their involvement adds yet another dimension to an album that leads you along until you think you’ve got handle on proceedings before throwing a curve ball and setting off in a totally different direction. Spontaneous, joyous and full of sonic surprises it’s an unlikely endeavour where anything can, and often does, happen, with Ethiopian and Jamaican voices merging over music that ranges from beat heavy psychedelic guitar driven Krautrock (‘Live Up To Love’)to disjointed thrash-punk guitar and drums with traditional Ethiopian instruments (‘Mutant Miners’) and with every possible variation between. It really shouldn’t work, but it does and wonderfully so.
Rock N Reel / R2 Mag
The Daily Telegraph
By Mark Hudson 4:23PM BST 08 Apr 2011
Harper Diabate, £11.99
Mixing dark-toned Ethiopian folk sounds with West Country hippy electronica, this enterprising DIY production draws in contributions from British indie players from Portishead to On-U-Sound System. Touches of Krautrock, dubstep and a certain raw, informal drive make this one of the more interesting of many projects inspired by the great Ethiopiques series
Whopping Crossbreed of Genres
– April 17, 2011Posted in: CD Reviews
Invisible System - Street Clan
Street Clan (Harper Diabate Records, 2011)
Following up on their Songlines World Music Award Best Newcomer nominated CD Punt (Made in Ethopia), Invisible System, headed up by Dan Harper, is back with their sophomore recording Street Clan. Recorded in Ethiopia, Mali and the United Kingdom on Mr. Harper’s off time from his gig as an aid worker, Street Clan is another fantastical ride with guest appearances by Portishead’s Adrian Utley, Skip McDonald, Eat Static and The Ozirc Tentacles and percussionist Stuart Fisher. Delving into a razor-sharp otherworldliness, Invisible System tumbles headlong into an edgy course filled with plenty of twists and turns.
Packed with 17 tracks, Street Clan is a whopping crossbreed of genres, covering the map from dance to dub to reggae to rock to post-punk and to psychedelia. With such a daunting cornucopia of sounds and divergent directions, I wonder if perhaps it wouldn’t have been wiser to break up the tracks into two different recordings.
Personally, I found some of the post-punk, thrash tracks a little discordant with the overall sound. It’s one of those things where you have an idea of where the artist is going, but you’re not sure you want to follow. Listeners shouldn’t be discouraged because there are some excellent tracks on Street Clan.
Invisible System’s vocalist Zewditu Tadesse hits the mark on opening track “Tizita” against an eerie background of electronic, shadowy guitar and clever percussion. Equally good is the track “Ambassel” with Mimi’s Azmari traditional band and backed by some slick guitar licks. Dipping into the edgy, “Bone Flaps” is all guitar fire, drums, bass and Zewditu’s vocals in a sort of African punk homage.
Standout gems include the trippy reggae tinged “Woman’s Love,” the electronica charged “Live Up to Love” that screams trance joy and the hypnotic “Oumabetty” with its mix of rhythms, mournful sax lines and liquid vocals. “Teenage Lion” gets a jacked up treatment by Invisible System’s vocalists Zewditu Tadesse and the husky voiced Dennis Wint against a sway-backed reggae beat that pulses with sheer goodness.
Street Clan is akin some wild and wonderful underground cave club where the musical colors keep shifting and you just can’t help jumping into the very center.
Buy the album:
• In North America: Street Clan. Other recordings available: Punt
• In Europe: Street Clan. Other recordings available: Punt
Harper Diabate Records
07515 499362 (UK)
Release Date : 11/04 Part Of The April Cargo Collective : Cargo Distribution
Invisible System return with another highly original eclectic fusion album. Following their internationally acclaimed and Songlines World Music Awards Best Newcomer Nominated CD Punt (Made in Ethiopia), Street Clan is named after some graffiti Dan Harper found in Mali, West Africa.
It is again not a pure world music album. It covers genres such as rock, dance, drum and bass, dub, reggae, Ethiopian, post-punk, kraut rock, pop, psychedelia and even this time rnb and dubstep.
17 tracks take you through a real journey of shockingly original pulsating sounds that tie to Punt but sound more accomplished and distinctive in style. The album was again recorded between Ethiopia, Mali and the UK whilst Dan Harper was aid working, with the mixing finished in country.
Many known guests again feature on this album ranging from Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Skip McDonald (On-U-Sound / African Head Charge, The Sugar Hill Gang, Tackhead and Little Axe), to Eat Static and The Ozric Tentacles, an original Ethiopiques singer and Courtney Love’s drummer from Hole. Other vocalists include new Ethiopian talent as well as those Dan recorded on Punt and set up Realworld’s Dub Colossus with; two Jamaican roots vocalists, one who lives in Shashamene, Ethiopia with 3 generations of his family after leaving New York. It also features artwork by Bristol based graffiti artist Warp/Los Mutartis, a favourite of Banksy. The album bridges the connections between Ethiopia, Jamaica and the UK.
Festival bookings are starting to take place with Invisible System having already played the main stages at e.g. Endorset, Thimbleberry and Music Port Festivals as well as support for Dreadzone.
Radio play is inevitable with the previous album played on e.g. BBC 6, BBC 3, BBC World Service, BBC Asian Net, BBC London, BBC Bristol, BBC C&G, Radio New Zealand, Radio Prague, RRR Australia and countless stations around other European countries and the USA/Canada.
Reviews are due in the international press again with the last album having been extremely favourably reviewed in Mojo, Uncut, Rock N Reel/R2, fRoots, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, ITunes, AllMusic.com, World Music Network, Financial Times (5 stars), Los Angeles (5 stars) www.lastheplace.com, etc.
For more details contact Harper Diabate via email@example.com / 07515 400362
Invisible System’s tracks