Audio

CasaCosmica With Spoek Mathambo, Josiah Wise, Chllngr + More

CasaCosmica is Spoek Mathambo's side project with artist friends from six cities across the world.


Leave it to master of collaborative tricks Spoek Mathambo to leak a Sunday burner over the weekend via his latest side project to be revealed. A year ago Spoek teamed up with artist friends around the world for a recording session over the web. From San Diego, Joburg, Copenhagen, NYC, Malmo, and Philly, CasaCosmica (what they came to call themselves) turned dropbox into a makeshift studio. Unveiled over the weekend, "Dark Arts" is a huge-sounding testament to their file exchange. Okayplayer First Look alum Josiah Wise, who describes himself as "the lovechild of Kirk Franklin and Björk," is the track's choral fibre with Spoek and team's synthy orchestra at the backbone. In a second drop, CasaCosmica took on Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence." Listen to "Dark Arts" along with the instrumental rendition of "Enjoy The Silence" below.

CasaCosmica:

Josiah Wise - Vocals

Marcus Holmqvist - Guitar

Spoek Mathambo - Beats

Chllngr - Beats and backing vocals

Dr Echo/Justin Dehart - Mixing x Percussion

Futures - Drums

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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