The Fresh Harar Sound
Harar is a city full of mystery, hyenas, Rimbaud nostalgia and a deeply fascinating place. However, one thing that most faranjis who have travelled to the city have noticed is the lack of restaurants catering just slightly for Western tastebuds. When the two British producers Richard Russell and Rodaidh McDonald travelled to Harar in 2010 as part of the Africa Express they did the same discovery. Their rescue was the Fresh Touch restaurant outside the old walled part of town. In an act of gratefullness, they decided to name their musical collaboration that became the outcome of their Ethiopian travels after the Harari restaurant.
This year Fresh Touch released the four track Ethiopian EP on Angular Records. The lead track Harar Rythm is a co-production between Russell, McDonald and Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and is accompanied by a stunning video of archival footage of Ethiopian landscapes, Harari musicians as well as Emperor Haile Selassie (who was born in a village close to Harar). Harar Rythm and the other tracks on the EP is a thrilling mix of traditional Ethiopian chanting, clapping, various other sounds recorded in buses and hotel rooms across Ethiopia together with electronic loops and samples. The result is fairly unique and throroughly hypnotic.
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