Saturday, January 03, 2009

Other Weapons Ethiopian Feast

Scheduled to drop on January 13th [a Tuesday not a Friday] in the US and sometime in March in Europe, the new Other Weapons album, Basis To Break This has a hand holding a microphone on the cover. The cover should have a pair of headphones instead of a mic, because there are so many sonar treats on this album you don't want to miss. Basis to Break This is not only an album to bump on your ipod on the bus, it's also a party rocking album. Process Rebel passes the mic to some heavyweight vocalists on this release and the lyrics inspire change. He has been involved with some very nice things over the years, but this is what will push him to rockstar status. As a kid, I loved El Farolito in Summit for the burritos as big as your head, as an adult I love this album for the beats as big as your head. I first met Process Rebel when we were working together at a cooking party at a winery in the Santa Cruz mountains. As usual I had the soundsystem playing crazy tunes as we set up for the event. A song came on my ipod and he told me that he was the producer. We are lucky, cause Process Rebel is hooking us up with a pre-release tune from the upcoming album.

Tune: Badder Better ft. Juakali [link to lastfm page with free download] by Other Weapons from Basis to Break This off Destroy All Concepts records

Bird Of iLL Omen ft. 101VOiD finds MC Zulu [AKA 101VOiD?] rockin' the rock ting inna rockers stylee.... and he kills it. "Only time will tell I heard them say"- these brothers are keeping it righteous. I was getting over a cold today and checked into VH1. They were airing the 100 best hard rock tunes of all time. Sadly, Bird of iLL Omen had not been released yet. It would have been nestled in the top between Zeppelin and Sabbath, way ahead of the Journey and Foreigner songs. massive.

For The Living ft. Profisee has a grinding cinematic dancehall beat that rolls along like a fast drive through empty city streets after midnight. Profisee riding shotgun, navigating Process Rebel past vampires as he dodges the parasites and hypocrites. Mayhem, action, suspense fill this guerrilla rebel mission. Profisee advises the driver to "put your heart mind and soul in it" The raw drums sound like a hard hand to an animal skin. primal.

~when I found this Profisee video I discovered I was not the only one who had visions of driving fast and dodging obstacles.

Release Me ft. Juakali, Kid Beyond & Lady K has a dark hypnotic beat that deserves a headphone listen. Kid Beyond provides the beat box like a monster. There are also some ill monster sounding scratchs. Halfway through, the sultry dubbed out groove is joined by something that sounds like a Little Walter harmonica riff in the distance as Juakali's vocals jump back into the tune like a boogieman from under your bed, ghosts howling in the leafless trees outside your bedroom window. At second listen, what sounds like a harmonica could just as well be a processed wail from Lady K, only the Process Rebel knows. Like an underground journey through the tombs of warriors, I guess this is what they mean by dirt music? A warning from Other Weapons: check yourself before judgement time or find yourself lost forever. eerie.

What A Ting ft. Juakali ~ Juakali sings about some zombie dime as the Rebel goes to town on the outer space zapper sound to shivers the spine. One for the dancefloor. addictive.

Backflow ft. Dr. Israel, Juakali & Lady K
~ a feel good tune with the Brooklyn dub wizzard Dr. Israel. Lady K brings more gospel soul sound. A raw, clean, live sound here, imagine the trap set is in the same room as your stereo speakers on this track. Then Process Rebel turns it up to 11 and he holds the guitar's humbuckers up to the tweeter of your speaker for some Hendrix feedback. It's like the begining of Back to the Future. At one point it breaks into some Nucleus electro ish for just a second before the slanky distorted guitar riff starts to roll with Juakali The Doc as he mashes it up for the revolution before passing the mic to Juakali. When Dr Israel says "We got basses to break this" he's not playin' around, the bass is straight up funk. Is that Process Rebel or Bootsy Collins? bump.

Check out another project where Dr Israel and Lady K join forces. Dreadtone International

Pray For A Sound ft. Sunru Skywaka ~ some abstract beats with spoken word singjay calling for the fall of the Babylon system. Like a jedi Sunru Skywaka never gives up. A future nyabhingi classic with the space aged consciousness of Sun Ra and Afrika Bambaataa. cosmic.

MC Zulu brings a message of love again. You know everything's gonna be alright when he proclaims that "we chose not to use that gun".. and good thing for you, cause Zulu can be a real bad man when he wants to. So Decadent ft. 101VOiD [AKA MC Zulu] sounds like a lost tune from the Beatles' White Album. This is music music. "Different rights for rich and poor" who cares - sing, dance, and make your own change as you dance into the sunlight, early morning where you will find the stripped down hand clap and piano soul that is real music. As you wish the fuzzy guitar will return yo keep you warm, you realise that you need to get out there and make your own heat. Proof that music is forever. fire.
Tune: Another Shot by Zulu from the Riddim Killah album.

We Will Rise ft. MC Coppa is some heavy stuff. Dark dancehall. Puttin holes in chests. Is this the dubstep I have been waiting for? Lyrics and flow on this are super nice by MC Coppa. Biggin' up the people worldwide, Coppa even gives a big up to my proud people the Irish. The sneak attack sniper, Process Rebel plugs in his guitar again so that the wicked mafia rulers will hear that "we gonna rise tonight". Stand up music. represent.

At nearly 130bpm, Who You Be ft. Profisee is the first tune where the MC asks us to "feel the bassline".... after all we've been through so far, It's hard not to. This is now music. change.

Other Weapons cross borders, modern day innovation, undefinable. OG rocker bass for the people. Pre-order here.

From Africa to Jamaica, Ethiopia to California, New York to Holland, Seattle and back again. The circle of sound, spice and life.

Now it is time to take the headphones off and enjoy the Other Weapons album with other people. In a true communal style. The Ethiopian way. A feast on Injera Bread.

First, I'll start off by roasting the chillies for the berbere paste

Then I toast the spices. Cumin, Fenugreek, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon, Coriander.
Berbere Paste
3 T cardamom pods
3 T fenugreek seeds
3 T cumin seeds
2 T coriander seeds
6 whole cloves
1" piece of cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cayenne chillies
3 T brown butter
1/4 cup minced onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2" ginger, minced
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika

Toast athe first 6 ingredients and grind to a fine powder.
Toast the chillies and soak in 1 1/2 cups of water for 3 minutes.
Heat the brown butter in a skillet and cook the onion, ginger and garlic over low heat until soft.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

The berbere can be used as a hot sauce condiment as well as a spice paste for Ethiopian dishes.

Next I prepare the nit'ir kibe aka niter kibbeh.
Nit'ir Kibe

2 pounds Butter
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1" ginger, chopped
1" piece cinnamon
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods, crushed
2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons tumeric powder

Combine all ingredients and simmer over very low heat until the milk solids begin to toast. remove from heat and allow to cool to warm room temperature. Pour through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth.

use the nit'ir kibe as a cooking fat for Ethiopian dishes or mix it with some berbere to use as a dip for steamed artichoke.

Next, I'll prepare the Injera.
I start by soaking teff grains in water overnight. The next day I blend the grains in the blender until smooth, using water as needed to create a smooth batter. Then I let the mixture sit, covered at room temperature for 4 days. Then I add a little all purpose flour along with a pinch of salt. The ratio should be about 4 part teff to 1 part all purpose flour. I mix together, stirring always in the same direction, clockwise, adding enough water to make a crepe batter consistancy. Then I let this batter sit for another 2 to 3 days at room temperature. After a few days a little grey water will rise to the top. I pour it off and add a little fresh water, stirring clockwise. There should be plenty of burping bubbles. Then I heat a large, round, flat pan [I use my dosa pan] over medium heat. When preheated, I add a ladel and a half of batter to the center and I pick up the pan and tilt it to spread the batter around into a large circle. Then I cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for a few minutes until I see steam escaping from the sides of the lid for about one minute. Then i remove the lid and loosen the edges with a baby offset spatula. It should peel off fairly easily. The pan does not need to be oiled. The bottom of the injera should not be brown or crispy. It should be light color and soft, yet cooked. The pan needs to be hot enough to solidify the batter as it touches the pan, but not hot enough to brown the bottom too much. There should be lots of holes in the injera with a spongey top and a smooth slightly shiney bottom. Then I make the yegomen kitfo or braised greens with buttermilk curd.

Making the buttermilk curd is easy. Just heat the buttermilk over low heat until the curds and whey separate. Then cool to room temperature and strain through a cheesecloth. Wrap in the cloth and put a heavy can ontop to squeeze out the excess whey and to condense the curd. Leave the weight on for about 45 minutes. remove from cloth and cut into cubes.To cook the greens, simply saute some ginger, garlic and onion in some niter kibbeh and then add the greens. Add some berbere, a splash of vinegar and a few cups of vegetable stock. Simmer over low heat until the greens are tender and spiced and the liquid has mostly evaporated.

In Ethiopia, yegomen kitfo is made with collard greens, I used red chard and Chinese mustard greens for my version. It is so good, I plan on making another batch next week, using some of the injera batter I saved as a starter for the next batch. next week I'll make the yegomen kitfo with Lacinto Kale


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