After two albums and a short but well-documented history, Imperial Tiger Orchestra (aka the Tigers) strikes back with a mighty new album, “Wax”, comprising nine killer tracks of tight funk and free-spirited trance wrapped in luscious arrangements. Still inspired by African masters – but not necessarily those you might have thought of – The Tigers have this time delved into the traditional azmari repertoire to uncover astonishing nuggets of synth- and horn-heavy grooviness. Get ready for a journey into the heart of Ethiopia. When Imperial Tiger Orchestra first started unravelling the yarn of Ethiopian Music from the Golden Age (1969 – 1975), no one expected the thread to be so long and no one knew where it might end. Inspired by original albums that the band found while shopping for rare musical gems on a first visit to Addis Ababa in 2009, Imperial Tiger Orchestra released a first record in 2010, the aptly-named Addis Abeba, which explored Ethiopian music from the 70s – when traditional Ethiopian brass bands began feeding off American soul. The second release, Mercato, veered towards a more pop-inspired repertoire from the 80s, and the latest release goes one step further, taking the listener deeper into Ethiopian culture, from the unique sounds of the azmari repertoire to the hypnotic groove of the major tribes. After three years touring Europe, Imperial Tiger Orchestra has acquired a solid reputation as a mighty groove machine. The band has also taken its acid riffs to the African continent, touring South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe back in 2010. Having been invited to Addis Ababa by the renowned producer of the Ethiopiques series, Francis Falceto, the Tigers were proud to meet many of the local musicians who work to reshape traditional Ethiopian music. Based in and around Geneva, Switzerland, Imperial Tiger Orchestra has also worked with musicians and dancers from the Ethiopian diaspora, receiving their rewarding approval and blessing for their own original take on Ethiopian music. Wax: 80s synths meet traditional kebero percussions and daring rhythms. Gorgeous horn arrangements enwrap powerful bass lines and saturated electronic beats. All of this in a room where the sun pierces through the walls, where spirits dance and bodies are entranced…………..
Moi J’Connais have just released one of Geneva’s best kept secrets: Imperial Tiger Orchestra. While compilations of music of Ethiopian heritage are flooding the market, Wax has an unique sound that combines modern and traditional influences.
The Orchestra’s repertoire consists of revamped remakes of songs from the golden age of Ethiopian music: a powerful horn section, deadly percussions and relentless keyboards provide a merciless and efficient instrumental reinterpretation and improvisation based on original vocal songs. Preserving the natural beauty of melodies and Ethiopian sound while exploring uncharted territory, playing with textures and dynamics, adding distortions and noise to complete beautiful pieces, the self-proclaimed counterfeiters embrace dark hypnotic rhythms, obsessive basslines and grooves from electronic music. Far from any purist notions, the musicians surprise and delight with traditional Thaï “phin” guitar mixed into traditional ethiopian “kebero” percussions. Just one example among many others. It’s groove experimentation, it’s improvisational heat…………..