News

Buraka Som Sistema Producer Riot's 'Originator' EP

Buraka Som Sistema Producer Riot will release his solo EP 'Originator' on December 8 via Enchufada.


Back in May, Buraka Som Sistema producer Riot released an exciting two-song solo EP called Zouk Weapons Vol. 1. Today, he comes through with the follow-up Originator, a four-track EP that sees Riot as the creator of a darkly beautiful underworld of drums, synths, and zouk bass. Opening with "Coming From My Heart," the album establishes its subterranean feel with skittery beats, electronic zips, and drum pounces as a female vocie almost cries, "What happened baby?" The following tune, "4AM (feat. MC Strategy)," is haunted by MC Strategy's refrain ("It's getting very unreasonable,/So what you're doing is getting very unreasonable") yet adds light to this underworld with playful electronics and blazing synths. The sheer speed of the song may be almost frightening but that's what makes it rewarding; the listener gets wrapped up in this mania of sound, never quite sure what it will do. Continuing this plunge into dark electronica, "Bounce" starts with drips and scrapes that slide into thuds and hiccups, background synths nearly flooding everything. Interspersed with slower parts, though, the song allows for reflection as well as intensity. Featuring percussive tip-taps, running horns, and surging synths, "Zouk In The Souk" closes the album with a sense of victory, as if rising from this thrilling dungeon of sound. Listen to Originator in a full stream below. The album officially drops on today via Enchufada.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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