RVNG Intl. plans Zelalem release by Mikael Seifu, shares video

RVNG Intl. plans Zelalem release by Mikael Seifu, shares video
Photo: Mulugeta Teklemariam

RVNG Intl., one of our favorite labels of 2015, has just announced their first release of the new year: an EP from Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu called Zelalem. “Favorite label, shmavorite label,” I can hear you muttering. But no! For real! Usually when a press release pops up in the ol’ Gmail, I get preemptively salty about all the garbage clogging my internet tubes. But not with RVNG Intl., whose delightful, exciting, and well-curated releases I’m constantly stoked to have grace my tubes — and Zelalem is no exception.

Hailing from the Ethiopian capital of Addis-Ababa, Seifu’s musical career got a kickstart during his time at Ramapo College in New Jersey while working with composer Ben Neill (who himself trained with La Monte Young). He’s back in Ethiopia now, and his work across a series of EPs over the last few years has been marked by a cross-pollination between regional Ethiopian folk music and international dance. The music on Zelalem (the title of which translates literally as “eternity,” but more loosely as “vector of light”) keeps up with this trend, creating what he refers to as a brew of “estranged styles” that hopefully sorts out into something that is “eternally Ethiopian.” He pulls this off with a mix of electronics, acoustic instruments, voices, and all manner of other sounds. The EP is out March 5 on vinyl and in digital formats.

Today, RVNG Intl. also releases a 50-minute cassette mixtape, curated by Seifu. It will consist of folk music from Ethiopia and around Africa by way of providing a musical context for the Zelalem release. Link coming soon. Meanwhile, check out the track “How to Save a Life” below, and grab the EP and cassette here.

Zelalem tracklist:

01. The Protectors
02. The Solipsist
03. Soul Manifest (Mikael Seifu feat. L.A.)
04. How to Save a Life (Vector of Eternity)
05. ዘላለም (Vector of Light)

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