Even for a band hailing from the nomadic Tuareg population, roaming the deserts of Mali, Africa, the members of the Grammy-winning band Tinariwen have traveled further than most. Since breaking through to a global audience, their music has taken them around the world and been championed by artists as diverse as Robert Plant, Brian Eno, Thom Yorke, and TV On The Radio.
2001′s The Radio Tisdas Sessions marks the point at which the band first made strides to global acclaim. Where previous albums had been issued only on cassette for regional markets, The Radio Tisdas Sessions was released on CD and distributed worldwide. It saw the group working with British producer Justin Adams and French collective Lo’Jo, but despite the outside influence, there was no softening of their sound: hard guitar licks and wild rhythms color their spare, dust-beaten music. Recorded at the titular studios in Kidal, capital of the stark Iforas region of Mali, the album was made in difficult conditions. They were able to work only between 7pm and midnight, as those were the sole hours when electricity was available. The desert is an overwhelming presence throughout the album–you can hear the vast expanse of the landscape in the very grooves.
Amassakoul, released in 2004, represented a shift to a more produced, intricate sound. It preserved the loose, camelback rhythms, call-and-response vocals, lively guitars, and handclaps of Tinariwen’s unique sound but added a vocal drone to “Assoul” and influences from Jamaican toasting on Tamashek rap track “Arawan” and on “Oualahila Ar Tesninam,” the group’s hardest rock track yet.
Issued on vinyl for the first time by Modern Classics Recordings and presented in a deluxe edition, this is your chance to discover two seminal albums by Mali’s Award-winning Tinariwen.