Time Capsule’s latest delight is from Ethiopian singer Gigi – this Bill Laswell produced gem is here for the first time on vinyl

Now the dynamic Time Capsule label is really moving through the gears, with the reissue of Gigi’s Illuminated Audio, this Bill Laswell produced album is pressed on double 180g vinyl for the first time since 2003’s CD release. It’s a joy to hear this resurface.

With a collective of expert currators selecting rare and obscure musical delights and news of two new additions to the catalogue – Gigi’s offering is out now and Bombay S Jayashri’s Shravanam in June – the Time Capsule label is a beacon of supreme music, as well as education and digging (just check out their artist biographies and new record shop on their exquisite website).

Following reissues of Japanese fusionist Yuji Toriyama and Italian new age visionary, Il Guardiano Del Faro, the third Time Capsule is a body of dub reinterpretations. This time the precious Release is curated by Tokyo record collector, music researcher and seasoned reissue supervisor Ken Hidaka.

As the Time Capsule website explains: “Ejigayehu Shibabaw was born in 1974 in Chagni, northwestern Ethiopia and by pursuing a career as a singer, went against her father’s strict, traditional gender roles. As Gigi, she embraced the same musical freedom she had strived for in her personal life, incorporating the Ethiopian church, funk, hip-hop, West and South African music into her work. She first settled in Nairobi, then Addis Ababa, where she quickly established herself as one of the city’s leading singers. A move to San Francisco in 1998 led to a long and fruitful creative partnership with bassist and producer, Bill Laswell.”

Enter Island Records head honcho Chris Blackwell, who had stepped away from The label to start the art house film company and label Palm Pictures. He pulled together an all-star cast of musicians for Gigi’s self-titled US debut album, including Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders and Wayne Shorter.

Journalist Tyran Grillo, who has compiled the liner notes for this reissue with thorough research and meticulous care, explains how her first album earned international critical acclaim for making Gigi a “defining voice for the Ethiopian expatriate community” and “a shower of sunlight on her homeland for those ignorant of its struggles”. It’s success encouraged a return to the studio, a revisit of the album and the resulting Illuminated Audio. Laswell worked with Gigi’s original vocals and produced a dubwise masterpiece, Gigi was present to bless the work and “create a different music language that really puts you in a pleasant place,” she remarked at the time.

Label producer Kay Suzuki has a host of collaborators lined up and has music lovers eagerly waiting for more.

Kay Suzuki

Time Capsule collective member, Hidaka, has been a key conduit and the “go-to-guy” for Japanese music by labels in the West during the last two decades. He has lived in the U.S and London and has worked for one of the biggest independent labels in Japan, P-Vine Records as A&R, he’s worked as an overseas liaison for Flower Records, helped launch Wax Poetics Japan, supervised the reissues of Tony Allen’s solo works and supervised many reissues of iconic dance labels such as Salsoul, West End, P&P Records and Streetwise in Japan, and has also A&Red several mix CDs by DJ Nori (who introduced Hidaka to Illuminated Audio), Dimitri From Paris, DJ Spinna and Idjut Boys. Recently, he has also been working for a number of European labels such as WRWTFWW / Mental Groove, BBE, Mr Bongo, Music For Dreams and Archeo Recordings to secure licensing for each label’s Japanese music reissues, as well as being an agent and tour manager for Midori Takada in recent years.

Ken Hidaka

Hidaka also runs a monthly party – with Max Essa, Dr. Rob of banbantonton, DJ Gordy and Guy Bassett – called Lone Star at the world renowned Bar Bonobo in Tokyo. They’ve run it for eight years and celebrated their 100th party in March 2019.

Check out this mix from the Time Capsule launch party to hear Hidaka DJ:

The website has a whole host of mixes related to the various curators. More can also be read about the production aspects of Illuminated Audio and more on Laswell’s genius. The enigmatic producer’s work as Material and reinterpretations of Bob Marley, Miles Davis and Santana do more than stand the test of time. Increasingly, Laswell’s visionary work is being recognised for it’s ethereal beauty and architectural complexity, by producers, DJs and musicians – and rightly so.

The next Time Capsule by Bombay S Jayashri promises to be another reissue of sonic beauty and wonderment. More to follow soon on WTM, or check out the Time Capsule website for another biography of impeccable depth and interest.

Left Ear select best of Minoru ‘Hoodoo’ Fushimi on new compilation ‘In Praise of Mitochondria’

In Praise of Mitochondria celebrates the output of Minoru ‘Hoodoo’ Fushimi who self-released four albums of unique proto-electro and rap explorations. They were released on two vinyl LPs and two CDs between 1985 and 1992 and now the ever trusty Left Ear Records from Melbourne have revisited this Japanese pioneer. Together with Jerome Qpchan, the label has selected 12 tracks for a double vinyl retrospective, including two unreleased tracks from the archives.

In the words of the esteemed Dr. Rob: “Minoru set out to combine his love of all things funk with traditional instruments and song from his homeland. He uses shamisen on Thanatopsis. Where Parliament’s Flashlight [and] George Clinton’s Atomic Dog ride with Osamu Kitajima’s Masterless Samurai. [Minoru plays] shakuhachi on Mizuko No Tamashii Hyakumademo. Nohdashi puts koto with a Jimmy Castor riff. All set to popping and locking beats.

“Minoru’s vocals switch between raps about cellular metabolism and haemoglobin, soul croon and vocoder. On Shinz-San he adds metal guitar to vintage Sugarhill. And he goes crazy with his sampler. Scratching in cats, frogs, babies, laughter, giggles, traffic jams, failing ignitions, opera singers, and amorous sighs. Furarete mixes elephant roars and go-go. [Minoru is] creating unique avant grooves that share something with Tackhead’s ON-U Sound System, Savant’s tape experiments, and fellow countrymen EP-4.” 

For more information visit Left Ear Records.