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Ethiopian Records Spins A Spell-Binding Origin Story On “Hetebet”

A promising producer performs sonic alchemy in Ethiopia’s capital city.

July 14, 2015

Equipped with his PC, a copy of Ableton, and a wealth of cultural and personal experiences from his life in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Records—the recording name of producer Endeguena Mulu—is staking a claim in the city's burgeoning electronic scene. Mulu's sound, which he calls "Ethiopiyawi Electronic," lives in the interstitial space between UK garage, Ethiopian folk, and field recordings.

"Hetebet," a cut off Ethiopian Records's forthcoming Ben Engelf Lebe (In My Sleep) EP, has Mulu showing off his chops with a story of birth and one's origins. "Hetebet" means umbilical cord in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. The practice of burying a newborn's umbilical cord is common in Ethiopia, as well as many other cultures across the globe: "We say, 'Take me back to where my hetebet is buried,'" Mulu told The FADER, "meaning, 'to the motherland.'" Looking forward but with feet planted in a ground rich with cultural and personal significance, "Hetebet" is packed with certain touches—frantic flutes, specks of chopped up hypnotic vocals—that, like meandering detours on a long trek, keep things interesting. Listen to "Hetebet" below. Washington D.C. label 1432 R will release the full In My Sleep EP on July 21st.

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Ethiopian Records Spins A Spell-Binding Origin Story On “Hetebet”