Tinariwen – 'Emmaar' album review

The West African desert blues veterans perfect their endless jam

0

Comments

Add +

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


In August 2012 Abdallah Ag Lamida was arrested by Ansar Dine, a militant group of Malian Islamists, for making ‘Satan’s music’ as a member of the Tuareg rock group Tinariwen. Unsurprisingly, when he was released, the group got the hell out of Dodge – they fled Mali and headed to Joshua Tree in the Californian desert to record their sixth album.

It makes sense that ‘Emmaar’ was created in the spiritual home of American psychedelia. This is transportative music, an electric blues trip through Tinariwen’s sand-blasted world of long-form Tamashek jams. The songs all drift into one another, but that’s their greatest appeal: they’re all variations on a theme, a single tone that rises and falls. Moments of calm – ‘Sendad Eghlalan’, for instance – leave you drifting off into the ether before everything ramps back up on wig-outs such as ‘Imdiwanin ahi Tifhamam’.

Though guest appearances by fiddle player Fats Caplin and Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer break the spell a little, ‘Emmaar’ is never less than hypnotic and entrancing. Tinariwen have crafted a beautiful paean to the desert, an audio homage to dry heat – even if the desert this time was 7,000 miles away from home. Just one sticking point, then: the spoken word intro that begins the album. Don’t whisper at me, bro – that’s creepy.


Buy this album here

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

Listen to 'Emmaar' on Spotify


Users say

0 comments

See Tinariwen live in London

Terakaft

  • Critics choice

Featuring two original members of desert blues legends Tinariwen, Terakaft

  1. Rich Mix 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA
  2. Tue Oct 6
More info

Read more music features

Novelist’s party tips

Lots of booze, lots of bass and no loudmouth MCs – south London grime MC Novelist gives us the lowdown on how to throw a banging party

The Maccabees on ‘Marks to Prove It’, cheap DVDs and Elephant & Castle

Indie rockers The Maccabees tell us how eavesdropping on conversations around London helped inspire album number four

Why I love The Sonics

Tom Furse of The Horrors is bewitched by the raw rock ’n’ roll of the original garage band

Lianne La Havas on ‘Blood’, emojis and Prince

On her new album Lianne La Havas transforms from a breezy singer-songwriter into 
a full-blown, homegrown star. We get acquainted with Streatham’s finest

Why I love Cocteau Twins

Euan Ferguson marvels at the unearthly sounds made by a band from five minutes down the road

See all Time Out music features