Did You Know Ethiopia Operates On A Different Calendar Than Us?

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Emanuel Satie has done his profile no harm with this killer African-influenced EP on Crosstown Rebels…

One year ago in the capital of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa), one very out of place Berlin-based artist was playing a set to an audience ready to ring in the New Year…. In the middle of September.

* Fact * Ethiopians run on a different calendar year and celebrate New Year's Day on September the 11th.

Our protagonist was none other than Emanuel Satie, the tech-house wunderkind who has made a seriously good name for himself in recent years with a string of releases on Get Physical and Moon Harbour record labels. 

During this trip to Ethiopia, which also saw him pass through fellow African nations South Africa and Angola, Emanuel spent days in the recording studio with traditional musicians from the area. Filling his hard drive with the beautiful sounds of local flute ensembles, vocalists, guitarists, and other traditional instrumentation not familiar to the average tech-rave punter, Satie’s mission was to place these samples into a dirties dancefloor context. One year on – mission complete.

Satie has just released this highly anticipated project titled ‘Addis Ababa’ under record label Crosstown Rebels and hoooolyyy shiiitt… You need to stop what you’re doing right now and listen to it.

These samples in the hands of just any average Joe could be completely ruined, but the ever talented and competent Emanuel Satie has calculated just the right amount of give-and-take with this project, highlighting the beauty of the rich and diverse culture, but in an underground rave-cave kind of way.

Working in collaboration with fellow deep house heroes Ninetoes and Mowgan, this 3 track EP is so... Damn. Good.

The first track opens up just like any other iconic Emanuel Satie song, full of widespread percussive phrases and fat subby bassline. Nothing too out of place until, oh wait, what’s that, the ever so slightly reverberated sound of a woman yodelling. Followed shortly by a swelling flute, and a gritty acid bassline matching the melody to remind you that you’re not in an African village, you’re in a dirty deep house space exploration. The track continues with vast amounts of force, possibly the deepest kick you’ve ever heard, and vocal samples decorated around the soundscape, enveloping your senses completely. You can hear the quintessential Ninetoes touch on this one with the bottom end of the track emphasised by the higher end vocal samples. Brilliant.

Even though the track uses a typical deep house percussive pattern, it is entirely enhanced with the use of real-world instrumentation. The bulk of this cut is carried via a melodic bassline (yum), and interspersed with panning flutes that act in place of a synth top line. Favourite element? The sound of a man blowing a raspberry with his lips which serves as the song's hook. (Hopefully, we see dancefloors en masse copying this element during his live sets). The synthetic vs. organic sonic elements of this track capture the perfect ratio, and this track, in particular, will put a smile on your face.

Such delicate and rich samples must be handled with care when it comes to remixing, and alas, Matador has harnessed the power of precision with his rework of Argew Neka. A low pass filter slowly evolves during the song's introduction, and then BAM, a punchy kick, fat bassline AND acid line knocks you back at once. It takes the track into a completely different context to the original, to the point where it genuinely sounds like a different song. Rather than relying on the tribal samples to carry the track, he sprinkles them delicately on top of what is essentially a bottom heavy dancefloor anthem, playing on the panoramic dynamic of the song to take listeners on a journey.

The body of work as a whole is not only a well-executed project with back-to-back bangers, it’s a beautiful tip of the hat to a traditional culture that has such strong ties to modern dance music. If this EP has done anything to us, it’s gotten us entirely ready for see Emanuel Satie do his DJ live, as he is set to tour Australia this summer over 6 huuuuuuge dates. Check it, you can thank us later.

Words by Marli Grosskopf

Tour Dates
Friday 23rd November: Proud Mary's, Erina
Saturday 24th November: Blueprint at The Junction, Bondi
Sunday 25th November: Bohemian Beatfreaks Festival, Byron Bay (FB event)
Friday 30th November: Revolver Upstairs, Melbourne
Saturday 1st December: Sooki Lounge, Belgrave 
Sunday 2nd December: MVMNT at Nevermind Smallclub, Perth