Invisible System

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Invisible System is the pseudonym for the UK & Africa producer Dan Harper whose music is an eclectic fusion of Ethiopian, dub, reggae, techno, trance, drum and bass, jungle, acid, psychedelic, folk, post-punk, goth and rock. More recent productions have been based around Malian griot and traditional music fusions.

They have played at the Addis Ababa Music Festival, Ethiopia.[1] Endorset Festival, UK. Thimbleberry Festival, supported the UK bands Dreadzone, The Beat, The Dub Pistols, Jah Wobble and also played Music Port Festival, Waveform Festival and Glastonbury Festival.


Punt (Made in Ethiopia) was released in 2009 with critical acclaim from e.g. The Guardian (Robin Denselow),[2] Singout! (Chris Nickson),[3] Daily Telegraph (Mark Hudson),[4] New Internationalist,[5] Financial Times (David Honnigman),[6] The Independent (Andy Gill),[7] 5 Stars,[8] Mojo (David Hutcheon) 4 Stars Alt Music,[9] 4 Stars World Music Network (TJ Nelson),[10] 4 Stars fRoots (Jamie Renton), Songlines, Uncut (Nigel Williamson), Fly Global (Tim Woodall),[11] etc. on Harper Diabate Records.

Guest musicians included Mahmoud Ahmed,[3] Captain Sensible, Aklilu Bedane,[12] Justin Adams, Dubulah, Juldeh Camara,[5] Desta Fikra,[2] Ozric Tentacles,[6] Tsedenia Gebre Markos, Bahta Gebre Hiwot, Simon Hinkler (The Mission), Zion Train, Eat Static, Loop Guru, Baka Beyond, Hilaire Chabby (Baba Maal) and others.

The album as stated in the reviews above such as Robin Denselow from The Guardian broke many barriers in terms of its style and Harper's method of production. Previously an aid worker in Ethiopia and Mali for 8 years[12] it has a strong message to international development. He also seeded the connections and recordings for the Realworld Records (Peter Gabriel) signed project Dub Colossus.

The album has been played on BBC's World Service, Late Junction and Asian Network,[13] on Radio New Zealand (Trevor Pagan),[14] RRR Australia, BBC6 Music (Gideon Coe) and many European and US based stations,[15]

It reached the final of the Songlines World Music Awards 2010[16] and included on the CD to celebrate the finalists in the Best Newcomer category.[17]

In April 2011 a new album entitled Street Clan was released. Not only was this another Ethiopian fusion album as Punt, but it introduced Jamaican vocals and post-punk into the mix. It was released to great international critical acclaim again scoring 5 and 4 star reviews in for example, The New York Times (Jon Pareles),[18] fRoots Magazine (Jamie Renton),[19] the BBC (Robin Denselow),[20] Uncut (Nigel Williamson),[21] World Music Network (TJ Nelson),[22] The Telegraph (Mark Hudson),[23] The Financial Times (David Honigman),[24] Los Angeles,[25] All Music (Chris Nicson),[26] etc.

Guest musicians including Skip McDonald (On-U-Sound/African Head Charge/Little Axe/Realworld/Sugar Hill Gang/Mark Stewart and The Pop Group), Adiran Utley (Portishead), Stuart Fisher (Hole / Courtney Love), The Ozric Tentacles, Eat Static and others.

Radio Play was very prominent on BBC 6 Music with Gideon Coe and was also on BBC3 Late Junction with Max Reinhardt,[15] RRR Australia, Radio New Zealand with interviews,[27] and many national radio stations in Europe and the USA including Italy, France, Spain and Germany.

It reached no.25 in the World Music European Charts.[28]

In January 2012 a new download only E.P. entitled The Cauldron was released with again much BBC radio 6 play with Gideon Coe and European and US coverage. Reviews included 5 stars in Los Angeles [29] and a review with David Honigmann in The Financial Times.[30]

Invisible System is the featured artist on Disc Two of The Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia (2012, World Music Network).

This featured album is also available as a download only stand alone and had some great reviews e.g. 4 stars in Songlines magazine by Tim Cummings a copy of which is pasted on the Invisible System website;[31] World Music Central;[32] and in the Independent on Sunday alongside the rough guide.[33] Robin Denselow who writes for The Guardian and the BBC also reviewed it [34]

Introducing Invisible System was also reviewed in Pop Matters alongside the subsequently released double live album Live and Raw [35]

Live and Raw also was reviewed by David Honnigman in The Financial Times [36]

In 2013 Invisible System released their final Ethiopian fusion album alongside their UK and Jamaican strands. Guests included Zion Train, Baka Beyond, the members of IS who went on to perform with Dub Colossus and Juldeh Camara again better known for his work with Justin Adams as JuJu on Realworld Records; and more recently as a member of Robert Plant's band again alongside Justin Adams, The Space Shifters. It was entitled Tiga Tej Tibs and was favourably reviewed again. Again it was found in The Financial Times with David Honigmann [37] in Songlines by Nige Tassell and given 4 stars by David Haslam in Rock N Reel / R2 Magazine. Scans of the reviews are found here [38]

Invisible System have since released two double digital/download albums. Azmariz versus Acid Mali that delivered a mix of their work with Ethiopian Azmaris alongside a more stripped down acid sound from when Dan Harper was working out in Mali in 1999 with a very very basic solar powered setup. And Roots N Dub versus Beats N Trances delivering as told.

A dub album was subsequently planned although cut short and delivered as the digital/download only Dub Triplets E.P. featuring Mahmoud Ahmed, Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara it was cut short due to Dan spending the summer in Mali through an international arts grant.

Dan Harper is now working on new Malian fusion albums having returned to the country that he aid worked, married and had a child in before he moved to Ethiopia. Some samples of what is to come can be found here [39]

He is also working on a sequel to the stripped down acid 303 album he made in 2000 called Acid Mali to be called Acid Frome 2017.


  1. ^ "Invisible System, Mondomix magazine". 
  2. ^ a b Denselow, Robin (21 August 2009), "Invisible System: Punt – Made in Ethiopia", The Guardian, London 
  3. ^ a b Nickson, Chris (22 March 2010), "Invisible System: Punt: Made in Ethiopia.(Sound recording review)", Sing Out!, 53 (13), ISSN 0037-5624 
  4. ^ Hudson, Mark (5 September 2009), "Music WORLD review", The Daily Telegraph 
  5. ^ a b "Also worth a mention ...(sound recordings)(Sound recording review)", New Internationalist (425), 1 September 2009, ISSN 0305-9529 
  6. ^ a b Honnigman, David (18 July 2009), "World", Financial Times 
  7. ^ Gill, Andy (31 July 2009). "Album: Invisible System, Punt: Made in Ethiopia (Harper Diabate)". The Independent. London. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Invisible System – Punt [Album] | Reviews". 21 October 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "Invisible System – Punt Made In Ethiopia | Fly | Africa/Middle East: Reviews". 18 June 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "From Bradford on Avon to Ethiopia", Wiltshire Times, 22 October 2009  Check date values in: |year=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  13. ^ "Album project brings best of Africa's music talent together", Somerset Guardian, 14 January 2010 
  14. ^ "Radio New Zealand : National : Programmes : Music 101 : Saturday 30 May 2009". 30 May 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Music – Invisible System". BBC. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Dan's unlikely rise gives him star billing in the world music scene", Somerset Guardian, 1 April 2010 
  17. ^ "Songlines Music Awards 2010 nominations | Songlines World Music News". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Pareles, Jon (15 April 2011). "CDs From Alison Krauss, Colin Stetson and Dennis Coffey". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ System, Invisible (20 May 2011). "Invisible System – Punt (Made in Ethiopia): Invisible System, Street Clan review in fRoots by Jamie Renton The origins of Dubulah's project can". Retrieved 22 October 2011.  External link in |title= (help)
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ Invisible System. "Invisible System – Punt (Made in Ethiopia): May 2011". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  22. ^ [3][dead link]
  23. ^ CD Reviews (8 April 2011). "Invisible System: Street Clan, CD review". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  24. ^ "/ Arts / Music – Invisible System: Street Clan". Financial Times. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  25. ^ [4][dead link]
  26. ^ [5][dead link]
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Charts – World Music Charts Europe". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Invisible System: The Cauldron -
  31. ^ [6]/
  32. ^ [7]
  33. ^ [8]
  34. ^ [9]
  35. ^ [10]
  36. ^ [11]
  37. ^ [12]
  38. ^ [13]
  39. ^ [14]

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