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Master Musicians of Jajouka with Bachir Attar, "Live Volume 1"

This excellent live recording, their first album in eight years, documents a 2007 concert in Lisbon, Portugal, on the final night of a week-long tribute to Paul Bowles. Led by Bachir Attar, who has steered the group for over 25 years, the Master Musicians deliver a masterful performance of songs both old and new, including some that have never been released until now.

 

Jajouka

Although the sound of the Master Musicians has varied little throughout the years, this album presents their music like few have before. Clean and unadulterated by studio effects, the instruments are equally balanced in the mix and possess a fantastic tonal depth that makes their music more appealing-and mesmeric-than ever. The drums on "Joal Fibladijoal" are pummeling and insistent though brief, while the Musicians reach for ecstatic communion on "Boujeloud Dancing with Kandisha." A melodic flute with backing drones encompasses the first half of "Double Medahey" before various drums and rhythms make the hypnosis complete. If the album has a centerpiece, it would be the 19-minute epic "Allah Allah Habibi Galouja," one of the few songs here to feature singing as well as bowed and plucked instruments alongside the usual flutes and drums.

Such a splendid performance coupled with superb recording quality makes this an exceptional album. A fitting tribute to Bowles, Live Volume 1 is also the debut release on a new label owned and operated by the Master Musicians themselves, hopefully the first of many more to come.

 

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Review of the Day

Ken Ikeda, "Kosame"

cover image

Unlike his previous works, which were often emphasizing sine waves and other synthetically derived sounds, Kosame is all about the world around us and the sounds of everyday life.  Combining recordings of opening windows and boiling water with home made instruments and classic synthesizers, the result is a world of sound that may not resemble "songs" per se, but instead an aural study of our surroundings.


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