Playful genre interventions should be expected, I suppose, from an artist whose primary nom de plume suggests a world of imagination governed by modular possibilities. With Futuristic Abeba the game is called science-fiction Africa, and the Lego blocks of sound and style are stacked and unstacked with remarkable skill. With tattered drum machines and analog synths churning alongside African funk rhythms and instrumentation, like relentless spiky organ plonk and snake-winding leads, the EP comes off like a man-machine offspring of the landmark Ethiopiques series.
There's also a breath of the wild and woolly exoticism of the Sun City Girls and their freewheeling explorations of traditional folk musics. Opener "Africa Space Program" captures the primitive-futuristic dialectic at its catchiest, brimming with bright-eyed organs and wonky jazz riffs, a hynoptic, up-tempo flurry. Things go deeper from there: "Mind World" is driven by a four-four throb while vocoder incantations float in the mysterious night. "Twinotters" is the most atmospheric, a murky desert noir with lurking synth pads and the cries of airborne scavengers at midnight. "Futuristic Abbis Abebbav" closes the journey with a return to ham-fisted organ pound and whirling-dervish riffs.