Album Review: Tinariwen – ‘Tassili’

Album Review: Tinariwen - 'Tassili'


Ancient-sounding desert blues

Dismiss [a]Tinariwen[/a] as the boring band you invariably fast-forward through on [i]Later… With Jools Holland[/i] at your own risk. For one, theirs is, undoubtedly, a pretty bad-ass tale: a band of Tuareg desert-dwellers, formed in the mid-’80s in between stints at military training camps as they prepared to join the battle against the Malian government.

[b]‘Tassili’[/b], too, sounds neither glossily packaged for western audiences, nor too easy to please. It’s basically ancient-sounding desert blues embellished with occasional percussion and electric guitar squall; it never gets better than [b]‘Tenere Taqqim Tossam’[/b], a tautly funky campfire chant featuring guest vox from [a]TV On The Radio[/a]’s Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone.

Louis Pattison