Monday, February 28, 2011

Debo Band and Kiddid on Electric Cowbell Records

Another genre and mind expanding single from Electric Cowbell, who are truly documenting pretty much whatever they feel worthwhile. Like Feeding Tube Records, or Harding Street Assembly Lab, these are goldmines of underground music that would never make it to vinyl, let alone any form of release whatsoever.

I have mixed feelings about Henry Rollins, or I thought I did, but his piece in the LA Weekly, 'Hungry for New Music', about turning 50 and staying open minded to new music couldn't have been more appropriate for sitting down with this single. Really that's the same kind of spirit I wanted to approach this blog with from day 1.
There's too much great music out there without even looking for it, and this format is inherently usually connected to the very bands creating it...forget about the collectible aspect, the vinyl arguments, and the tangibility of the artifact for a's always been about that search for new music, and being open to stuff exactly like this. The most far reaching challenging sounds have always come from 7 inches, and always will.

This single from Electric Cowbell is no exception. Every single release of theirs is a jumping off point to a completely new area of music I would have otherwise never have come across but knowing it's being expertly curated by Jim Thomson I know these are all going to be worth looking into.

The A-Side 'Adderech Arada' from Debo band was recorded live in Ethiopia, 2009. The first thing I'm into is this tuba sounding bassline. Then the heavily distinct vibrato vocals, firmly planting this in that middle eastern part of the world. A chorus of background ladies repeat his melodies back at him in what could easily be a bouncy theme song on a bollywood soundtrack. The snake charming clarinet or oboe and brass sound There's even a snake charmer oboe/clarinet section with big kettle's an impressive entire orchestra coming together where each section has it's own unique foreign timings and phrasings. I'll use this as another great jumping off point to dive into that foreign crate next time especially if I see Ethiopia credited on the label.

The B-Side remix by Keddid takes the timeless sound of the Boston based band and jams it definitively into the 21st century. It starts with a thin version of the A-Side played through an old AM radio until the beat takes over and the whole thing comes into focus. Kiddid approaches the vocals off the original composition as sound fragments to be scratched and repeated over the breakbeat while the low tuba sound bassline of the original has been replaced by electronics.
This contemporary interpretation would be what parts of modern Ethiopia or India could sound like in clubs there. They're going for that idea when you combine those genres and musicians that wouldn't know about or work with each other and that;'s what Electric Cowbell is doing...exposing an audience to things they definitely wouldn't come across usually any other way.

Electric Cowbell still has copies of this one, but I've noticed they are out of stock on a few titles, so don't wait around.

"Adderech Arada" is a beloved traditional Ethiopian song about a woman who, after breaking out of her lawful marriage, falls into sin by traveling to Arada, or Addis Ababa's red-light district. and falling into sin. Recorded live in Ethiopia in May 2009, Debo Band's version of Adderech Arada is inspired by the Haile Selassie I Theater Orchestra's recording arranged and conducted by Nerses Nalbandian. And on the flipside, Kiddid's haunting remix deconstructs Debo Band's performance with elements of dub, ambient electronica, and experimental hip-hop.


  1. Electric Cowbell has been putting out 45s of many bands I wanted to put out 45s for!!!

  2. Welcome to my world*.

    (*See everything!)

  3. Thanks for the review, Jason! (And for your comment, Andujar!) We hope to have another 7" with Kiddid out on ECR in a couple months. Stay tuned!