Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

 Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador/digital outlets)

Remarkably, it has been more than 15 years since Elsewhere started to write about what has been called “desert blues” or “Sahara blues” out of the Tuareg (and beyond) musicians from the sub-Sahara (and beyond) region of West Africa.

Back then we picked Etran Finatawa and Tinariwen albums among our best of the year (and twice more since for the latter's subsequent releases).

We have followed some of the artists into solo careers, we interviewed Etran Finatawa 11 years ago, picked up on the next generation artists like Tamikrest (we recommended their Kidal and Tamotait on vinyl) and even went back to a Folkways album of music from the Southern Sahara recorded in 1960.

And wrote about the 2019 studio album by the Tuareg singer/guitarist Mdou Moctar who, like so many of his generation, has been influenced as much by Western rock (Jimi, Prince, reggae etc) as the traditional music of Niger.

So we happily turn back into the region for this fiery outing by Moctar which revels in dense layers of coiling guitars from the mainman and his foil Ahmoudou Madassane, and the driving rhythm section which will pin you to your seat with the five minute opener Chismiten.

Taliat which follows is a thrilling Gordian Knot of guitar lines and Moctar's desperate vocals (and the chant-like backing vocalists) which don't leave you much room to catch a breath.

Those opportunities do come, but this is the album all subscribers to Guitar Player magazine need to have.

Oh, and later on there is his own Layla, an acoustic song addressed to his partner Layla and yearning about how much he misses her when he is touring.

The seven minute-plus title track is a furious monster of propulsive rhythms, that staggering hard rock guitar and incendiary political lyrics (in Tamashek and French, translated in the clip below) and an explosive rhythmic shift which adds to the intensity.

It is an astonishing piece of music, guitar noise and feedback which leaves the likes of Neil Young and Thurston Moore far in its wake.

If you hear no other piece of music this week strap yourself in for that Hendrix-inspired flamethrower.

It is unbelievable.


You can hear this album on Spotify here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans)

Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans)

On the cover of this frequently mesmerising album where the music and arrangements can take unexpected but subtle turns, Texas singer-songwriter Morby is a tiny figure caught in a dark landscape... > Read more

Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires: Dereconstructed (SubPop)

Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires: Dereconstructed (SubPop)

With young bands naming for cute fluffy animals and avoiding any pretense of rock music, it's a pleasure this Alabama outfit takes Seventies' Stones, the Clash and fuzzed-up punk fury as their... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Debashish Bhattacharya/Bob Brozman: Mahima (2003)

Debashish Bhattacharya/Bob Brozman: Mahima (2003)

The late American guitarist and raconteur Brozman was one of the unexpected delights at the 2003 Womad, where he appeared with Takashi Hirayasu playing Okinawan folk songs which they took off into... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HARRY KALAPANA: Aloha from Yugoslavia?

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HARRY KALAPANA: Aloha from Yugoslavia?

Of all the many hundreds of musical styles across the planet, only one has managed to embed itself in popular, post-Fifties music which exists along the Western axis of London-New York-America's... > Read more