There’s something inescapable about the rhythmic tones that fall all over the new album Amadjar by Tinariwen. Perhaps it’s that the band records primarily inside a converted camper van in the middle of the desert, perhaps it’s a tie we have to a time when we weren’t hampered by smart phones, or perhaps it’s just that the music that Tinariwen makes stirs something inside of us all that we’re drawn to. There’s really no reason to examine the why, when we can enjoy the what as the album includes features from Cass McCombs, Warren Ellis and more, though those features aren’t where the magic lies.
No, there are a couple of things you need to know about this album that make it such a winner. For starters, the music isn’t heavy but it’s not without weight. The soul and anguish of time flow withing the lyrics, there’s a communal spirit found here that doesn’t exist on most modern music and there’s also a tie to time that flows throughout the release. A second thing would be that even though this is the band’s ninth album, there’s a skill in the dexterity employed on the instruments. Keeping the music interesting after all of this time, seems to be the byproduct of a skill set that isn’t always celebrated in today’s music landscape.
The opening track “Tenere Maloulat (feat. Warren Ellis)” is a great way to open the journey that the band takes you on. The sounds, the tones and the amount of mass in the heart of the vocals is virtually unparalleled. The instrumentation throughout the record is simply stunning. The second track “Zawai (feat. Jeiche Ould Chighaly, Warren Ellis & Noura Mint Seymali)” has this whimsy mixed with eternal spirits flowing through the Sahara night sky. The wah pedal on the guitar, the percussive plays that capture the sound of them being played by hand-it’s all here and encapsulates more than just another album. The little stabs of noodling that meander throughout “Anina” give you a feeling that the music is more than the sum of its parts, thus being group vocals and some of the best string playing you’ll get into your ears.
But away from the nomadic tones and the communal feeling that the music gives you, there’s true soul within these tracks. Far removed from over-produced tracking, just the instruments on tape, the album has a purity that you can’t get placed into your ears very often.”Iklam Dglour (feat. Warren Ellis & Rodolphe Burger)” could be taking place in a desert anywhere in West Texas, in the Gobi or even in Kalahari There’s a relatable notion to the music that you can’t shake as Tinariwen forces you to stop what you’re doing and soak all of the music up. A feat that few can do, on Amadjar it just seems to go with the territory.
Amadjar is available to purchase physically directly from Anti Records, it can be purchased in all online music stores or streamed on all streaming sites. Tinariwen is on tour September 12 in Austin, TX at Paramount Theatre until November 16 in Metz, France at The Music Box. The band’s complete tour schedule is available here.
Image Credits: Photo by Marie Planeille.