Monday, July 26, 2010

Group Doueh "Treeg Salaam"

Another rare Sublime Frequencies single artist release, this time from the Western Saharan sensations. In the vaguest conceptual terms they are not unlike Omar Souleyman, playing a music that manages to take traditional forms and radically update them with modern instrumentation. But the actual music is very different, with Group Doueh being heavily based around the electric guitar.

It has become rather commonplace recently to describe the odder ends of non-Western music as being somehow akin to the more avant garde reaches of our music. In Group Doueh's case, this seems more apt than with some others. The combination of the wacka wacka guitar virtuosity, the slightly random keyboard notes, the blissed out vocals, and the dog-rough production values here lend it all a strangely forward thinking vibe, for all that this is seems to basically be party music for the people of the embattled Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

I suppose Group Doueh bear some resemblance, in its guitar orientation, to the likes of Tinariwen from nearby* Mali. But Tinariwen, with their high production values and general slickness, seems almost like bloated prog rockers compared to Group Doueh**. If the Malians are Rush, then Group Doueh are Sonic Youth. But of course, they would not care for the comparison – as far as I can make out, in their own culture, they are not avant garde weirdoes, just people making tunes for parties. Or maybe they are more like the makers of gnaoua music in southern Morocco, making music that is meant to transport the listener into other realms of awareness. It certainly has that effect on me.

* Only a couple of thousand miles away

** That said, it is not acceptable to criticise Tinariwen, as they are awesome in their own way.

An inuit panda production

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