Etosha was one of the first productions of Private Music, a new record company founded by Peter Baumann (ex-member of Tangerine Dream), in the early '80s. Private Music was devoted to new instrumental music, either electronic or acoustic, and its productions featured a bunch of new artists, such as Patrick O'Hearn, Yanni, Lucia Hwong and others.
When Sanford Ponder was signed to Private Music, he was playing clubs in New York and creating music for dance performances and poetry readings. He was a pionneer in digital synthesis, sampling and digital recording, while driving a taxi to make a living... He became a Fairlight Computer Music Instrument operator for artists such as Kuris Blow, Psychedelic Furs, Nile Rodgers, Lou Rawls etc.
Etosha was one of the first albums to be produced only through digital technologies, and it was also among the first records available as CDs. The Fairlight CMI was the main instrument used: as Sanford Ponder said, it was the first sampling computer music workstation. "State of the art at the time, it cost as much as a house and had a whole 8 voices with 64k (that's kilobytes !) of memory per voice".
If Etosha was an avant-garde work in the '80s, it is now almost a vintage recording, but it keeps its originality: it is a minimalist and electronic music, sometimes close to repetitive music (Etosha was mixed at Philip Glass's studio in NYC), puting the emphasis on the musical structures and loops.
This album is one of best testimonies on the innovative part played by Private Music, as a "art oriented" label, in the 80's Sanford Ponder released another album on Private Music: Tigers are Brave (1986).