BLACK FLOWER: Artifacts (2017)

artifacts-black-flowerYou probably wouldn’t have thought the sound of Ethio-jazz would be alive and well in Belgium but then again, after everything that happened globally last year, surprising things might have lost the element of – well – surprise. And so it is that should you be looking for the spirits of Mulatu Astatke and Fela Kuti all mixed into the pot with some eastern scales, a bit of rock and dub and a dash of John Zorn, you will indeed find them in the land of Tintin, Breughel, Jean-Claude Van Damme, beer and chocolate as channelled by Black Flower.

Artifacts follows 2014’s Abyssinia Afterlife and is even more tripped-out. Opener Bones speaks of ancient windblown passes in desert mountains, while Alexandria has the energy of a busy souk. Helios Victor keeps up the afro-beat energy but halfway through slips into reggae-jazz mode though Realm & Era picks things up again with an uptempo beat more sinuous than a belly-dancing snake charmer. High Upon The Mountain High Upon The Hill is a gentler piece of a more conventional jazzy-fusion bent, while Abeba Zeybekiko gets all North African cinematic soundtrack on your ass and does interesting things with its time signature, the title track is straight-up afro-dub and closer Lunar Eclipse is a haunting effort that also begs to be used on something appropriately filmic. The phrase ‘far-out’ would seem appropriate…
(Out 3 Feb. on Sdban Ultra)

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