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Boomkat Product Review:
Deadly desert blues fire from Niger’s Tuareg guitar hero, joined by ace drum machine workouts on first of two volumes blending studio jams with gonzo field recordings.
Memorably first introduced to the world at large via Sahel Sounds’ revelatory ‘Music from Saharan Cellphones’ compilation in 2010, Mdou Moctar has had a stellar rise to international acclaim via his string of albums for Sahel Sounds that led to live LP ‘Blue Stage Sessions’ for Jack White’s Third man Records and a fruitful current relationship with legendary US indie-rock titans Matador. The ‘Niger EP Vol. 1’ session relates to a string of mixtapes made by Mdou in 2020 and collecting candid recordings from 2017-2020 documenting the band at weddings, picnics, rehearsals, and impromptu house concerts that evidence the ceaseless stream of fire from his fingertips in multiple situations.
Also working as a sort of post-fact primer for his first Matador LP ‘Afrique Victime’ (2021), the six tracks are most notable for the opening pair of jams with drum machines, laying down Hendrixian flames on the downslow swag of ‘Imouhar’ and picking the knees up at a right trot with ‘Chismiten’, next to cyclical blues rock of ’Sibidoul’, the earthier grind of ‘Afelen’, and the sun-baked scene of communal singing and lilting riffs in ‘Layla’ or early echoes of his album on ‘Afrique Victime (Live)’ - a must for his legion followers.