Two ‘world’ releases, although there are Western influences and anyone who appreciates a good droning riff should have no problem getting down with these. Tamikrest is new for me, but I’ve been following Tinariwen’s trajectory for a few years. Their 2007 release is especially enticing.
TAMIKREST – Chatma (Glitterhouse ’13): With a name meaning ‘junction’ or ‘alliance’ depending on your Tamasheq translation, Ousmane Ag Mossa’s Malian nonet guitar groove ensemble dedicate this to ‘sisters’; Tuareg women dealing with unspeakable difficulties in repressive Mali. More apt to conjure quick tempos than contemporaries Tinariwen, they tear through trills and handclaps on “Imanin Bas Zihoun” and ramp up basslines on “Djanegh Etoumast.” They’re still hanging around in that rather unsafe region, so wish ‘em luck while they combat tyranny with tunes. A MINUS
TINARIWEN – Emmarr (Anti/Epitaph): Having fled artist-unfriendly motherland Mali after large parts of the north were captured by Islamist militant group Ansar Dine (who arrested member Abdallah Ag Lamida), the Tuareg troop relocate Stateside to Cali’s Mojave Desert to follow up 2011’s ‘acoustic’ Tassili with a full electric set featuring Saul Williams and Josh Klinghoffer cameos. This octet effortlessly meld West African assouf and Deep American South blues drones (which they’d never heard until they toured internationally in 2001), their incantation-like spiritual delivery finding a folk edge with Williams’ opening monologue via “Touma Tincha,” further highlights including the trippy-toed “Arhegh Danagh” and funk-inflected “Koud Edhaz Emin.” The situation in their motherland is so dire they might not be returning anytime soon. In that case, welcome to America, fellas. A MINUS