Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Group Bombino


Group Bombino, Guitars from Agadez Vol. 2, the follow up to Group Inerane, Guitars from Agadez Vol. 1, begs the question, could it get any better? The answer, as with any question dealing with music, is highly subjective. Both albums consist of some of the most intense, soulful, unique, and satisfying tunes to come out in the last few years, and that is something that really can't be argued.

While Group Bombino may initially lack the distortion and immediacy of Group Inerane, they still retain the most important elements unique to both releases, and that's the transcendental and transportive aspects that exist throughout all the songs. The sublimating properties take us to higher places, while the foreign sound and feel takes us to more exotic locales. The softer approach taken by Group Bombino makes this trip a bit more laid back, less extreme and dangerous, but in many ways deeper and more intricate, allowing for a more intimate experience.

Even when you turn the record over to Side B, and Group Bombino introduce electric guitars, the unhurried attitude is not lost, and the deep rhythms and grooves are still present. Side B seems to be recorded in a live setting, or a maybe a more "livelier" setting (the entire album is a field recording as was Vol. 1) as it sounds like it was possibly presented to the recording crew with an audience that the first side did not have. You can vividly imagine yourself sitting among the Taureg in their remote desert village, listening to the steady and subtle drum rhythms, constant funky guitar movements, and realizing how important music is to these people, and how much talent (creative and technical) that these musicians have.

I'll have to admit that at first Group Bombino seemed a bit of a let down to me, and I don't quite know why. Maybe it was the lack of initial electricity so evident with Group Inerane, as maybe I was looking for something to rock out to. But after a few listens the complexity of harmony and composition truly showed itself, and now I can't keep this record off the turntable. With all that I've said, I don't want it to seem that the laid back atmosphere of Group Bombino is in any way antipodean to Group Inerane's excitement, as the both serve as near perfect compliments to each other.

seek and you shall find