Rating: 7 / Format: CD/LP / Label: Strut

Best known for his contribution to the best-selling Ethiopiques compilation series and the patronage of artists as diverse as Shackleton and Peanut Butter Wolf, Mulatu Astatke is a giant of modern music who first rose to prominence in the 60s, fusing Western jazz and funk with traditional Ethiopian folk melodies, five tone scale arrangements and elements from music of the ancient Coptic church.

Here he teams up with Stones Throw favs The Heliocentrics and a bunch of other London-based musicians for a “collision of both our musical worlds, complete with the diverse influences and experiences that the alliance encompasses.” Sounds pretty lame, right? Wrong. Inspiration Information is all intoxicating groove that floats and rattles through myriad different moods and phases – compare the crash ‘n’ bang of ‘Masenqo’ with the smoothness of ‘Chik Chikka’, and the driving, almost dark garage-esque ‘Live from Tigre Lounge’ – but always with taste, timing, and a refreshing lack of bullshit.

Chris Campbell

Mutalu Astake myspace

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