fri 19/04/2024

CD: Tinariwen - Emmaar | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tinariwen - Emmaar

CD: Tinariwen - Emmaar

World music superstars continue to shine

Emmaar: beautiful yet woozy

On seeing that new Tinariwen album, Emmaar, had been recorded at Joshua Tree (due to ongoing security problems in their native Mali) with a number of American guest musicians, my heart sank. I imagined some special guest-heavy yet artistically bankrupt effort, and this was reinforced with the somewhat loaded phrase “including Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ guitarist...”.

However, while Emmaar takes the band’s guitar-driven, assouf groove to new places, it will also sound familiar to any who were bitten by the Tinariwen bug in 2000, with their The Radio Tisdas Sessions debut. For while all five albums that have preceded Emmaar have mined the atmospheric desert blues sound, each has brought something new to the party. In fact, Tinariwen could easily have been the subject of the hoary old phrase that John Peel used to wheel out to describe Manchester mavericks The Fall: “They are always different, they are always the same”.

Emmaar is a world music party album that aims to move your hips while making your head spin. Moving on from 2011’s Grammy Award winning Tassili, with its more acoustic appoach, this set returns to the electric sound of 2009’s Imidiwan: Companions. In fact, it picks up the tempo from the first notes of “Toumast Tincha”, with its quasi-psychedelic guitars and pulsating rhythms, and doesn’t let up until “Aghregh Medin” fades out at the end of the disc, apart from a quick breather during the more down-tempo “Sendad Eghlalan”.

That said, this set isn’t without variation. There are plenty of highlights, from the call-and-response vocals of “Timadrit in Sahara” to the Jimmy Page-esque guitar lines of “Imidiwanin ahi Tifhamam”. This beautiful yet woozy trance music should get even the most awkward dancers swaying to Tinariwen’s desert sounds and, to be honest, the guest musicians are barely noticeable.

Emmaar is a world music party album that aims to move your hips while making your head spin


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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