This is possibly the most ‘rock’ album Tamikrest have made. Full of strong playing and powerful rhythms, it has some overtones of Krautrock and psychedelia in every groove.
I’ve been enjoying Tamikrest since they first emerged as acolytes of the Tuareg Desert Trance Blues of Tinariwen and their involvement with Dirt Music’s rock take on it. They have grown in confidence and in presence ever since and this album certainly sees that rock edge brought well forward but without diminishing the Trance elements of their music. They are certainly not ‘mainstream’ but it feels as though they are bringing the mainstream into their music.
Where previous albums sung of their view of the now and the past, this album has a fierce tone to it, an attitude of ‘No Further, this is our line in the sand’ – the album title actually translates as ‘Hope For A Positive Change’ – and the music here feels like the sound of resistance against the instability in the ancient Saharan lands.
It is exhilarating, exciting but there is also a nervy energy within it and when they raise their voices and instruments, the overall volume seems to raise alongside it.
This is also the sound of a group of musicians whose playing together has become more familiar and whose experimentations are better understood so that they mesh as an outfit. When one player ‘zigs’ the others ‘zag’ as a counterbalance to that they stay melodious. Ousman Ag Mosa says “We are a band and when we play together, everyone brings their style of playing. For the compositions, some pieces start from a riff, another part from a melody or a rhythm and each player adds his input afterwards. The idea was to keep a common thread that comes from Tamasheq music and to take it through different worlds, whether they come from our influences or from our encounters during our travels”
If you have been a fan of Tamikrest over the past few years, this will confirm them as a band of remarkable originality and growth but if you are new to them then this will be a real treat.