Yes, it’s great that West Saharan desert rockers Group Doueh are touring their intoxicating blend of psychedelic rock, soul, and Saharawi trance across selective parts of Europe and North America (including slots at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Animal Collective-curated ATP festival). This will allow audiences outside of their native Dakhla the still-rare chance to take in this sun-dried sonic storm in the flesh. But, for many of us, hip though we may be to these events, the only possible way of encountering the visceral thrill of Doueh outside of some tantalizing online videos will be via their recordings, brought to us with increasing regularity by “extra-geography” label Sublime Frequencies.
Group Doueh plays noisy and exultant music, designed to pitch listeners into throes of bewildered ecstasy. This makes sense—they’re a wedding band. Remember how bewildered and ecstatic everybody was in the first third of The Deer Hunter? Or rather, recall how ecstatic the film making was, with its leisurely voyeurism and its willingness to simply observe all the dancing and drinking in something approaching real time.
A glorious kind of chaos infiltrated the earliest recorded output by the Western Saharan act Group Doueh (pronounced "Doo-way") on the Sublime Frequencies label. Much of the material spanned several decades of recordings culled from the tape archives of band leader Doueh (also known as Salmou Baamar). His disregard for time and trajectory was mirrored in the chopping up of styles from different eras that the band cultivated in their home in Dakhla.
Group Doueh released a handful of albums via Sublime Frequencies and gained a bit of a European following from their crossover between traditional North African sounds and modern African rock. On Zayna Jumma, they unleashed more of the rock end of the spectrum, utilizing their fuzzy, amp-overloading, thumping electric instruments all over otherwise simple call-and-response numbers. While the clapping percussion common to North African music (and perhaps even some qaraqeb) is present, drum kits join in.
JADAKISS “I Love You (A Dedication to My Fans): The Mixtape” (Def Jam) “Hold You Down,” by Jadakiss and Emmany, is a little splash of 1995, of 2001, of moments when hip-hop was really giving in to R&B, letting go of its stiff shoulders and mean mug. “Never mind them side chicks and they issues/that ain’t nothing but bad luck that they wish you,” Jadakiss raps, his tough-guy growl put in the service of fealty. Back in the day a song like “Hold You Down,” produced by J Buttah — lush but propulsive, and with attitude — would have been a national smash, but now it sounds like a regional footnote, an antiquated New York style, a historical re-enactment.