Audio Mixers: Greg Freeman; Robin Baynton.
Recording information: Castlesound Studios; Intimate Studios,; Real World Studios, UK; Solomon Studios, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Photographer: York Tillyer.
When the founding member of a band says that its "aim is to constantly surprise," that's cause for concern. After all, music can be surprising in all kinds of unsatisfactory ways, so it's not always a great idea to set novelty itself as the goal. But the musical process that Nick Page (aka Dubulah) has started with his Dub Colossus project is yielding surprises of just the right kind. The project's debut album was a thoroughly enjoyable fusion of Ethiopian and reggae musical styles, and its sophomore effort is just as good, though in a different way. There are still plenty of reggae and dub influences (most notably on the bubbling and jazzy title track, and the group's relatively straightforward covers of "Satta Massagana" and "Uptown Top Ranking"), but the overall sound draws far more explicitly on traditional and popular Ethiopian music than it did previously. Singers Tsedenia Gebremarkos Woldesilassie, Teremage Woretaw, and Sintayehu Zenebe are a tag-team presence throughout the program, and are as important to its overall success as the rock-solid and stylistically varied grooves -- and pianist Samuel Yirga's contribution is also huge. Overall, this is a very worthy successor to the first Dub Colossus album and hopefully heralds more great albums (and more musical evolution) in the future. ~ Rick Anderson