Blame it on the new xenophobia, but lately ''world music'' has an unfortunately low profile in the U.S. This haunting German import is a new project by Ethiopian expat Ejigayehu ''Gigi'' Shibabaw, whose 2001 CD ''Gigi'' -- and its dub remix follow-up, ''Illuminated Audio'' -- contained some exceptionally forward-thinking international music. While they colored the hypnotic grooves of Ethiopian pop with unusual jazz voicings and electronics, this is a folksy, nearly unplugged affair, with Shibabaw's trilling soul-queen phrases (sung mostly in Amharic) propelled by hand claps, hand drums, flute, sax, and kirar, a small traditional harp. But with cohort Bill Laswell coproducing, even rootsy arrangements have an otherworldly glow. MY ADDIS ABABA The 15-volume ''Ethiopiques'' series is a consistently dazzling (and often very funky) history of Ethiopian pop.