Review

JJ Whitefield

Ethio Meditations / Drama Al Dente

Madlib Invazion • 2023

A first glance at the menu promises musical fusion cuisine, with the A-side offering a cross-section of Ethiopian jazz, while the B-side, with track titles such as »Farfalle«, seems to have been created for pasta lovers. Madlib and Egon serve up the fare here as the masterminds behind their first instalment in a new series that falls under the genre term Library. JJ Withefield prepares the first course, conjuring up a menu of nineteen tracks recorded by himself and other musicians. Not only fans of classical Ethiopian jazz à la »Mulatu Astatke« and Italian film soundtracks from the 1970s are here, since the blurb in the recipe says that the new »The Madlib Invazion Music Library Series« can also be treated and used as a library release, which means that all the tracks are released for sampling or can be used, say, as background music for films. This actually turns new series into a library (soundbank), since granting rights of use takes up the conceptual purpose of the original library record. The effort put into the production details–thanks to its true-to-style sound and the new Invasion series cover design’s library-typical repetitive layouts–can be seen not only as an extension of Stone Throw’s musical family playground, but also as a declaration of love for library records, which crate diggers in this league keep as rare finds on their walls or regularly showcase on social media.