Group Doueh - Zayna Jumma LP
Label: Sublime Frequencies
Another record from this incredible Saharan outfit, crafting their own wild guitar driven African folk. The previous recordings are rhythmic and percussive - all very hypnotic and mesmerizing, trancelike for sure, with some incredible vocalizing, soulful and emotional. It wound into some of the most jubilant, energetic, emotional and original music we've ever heard.
Our first impulse this time around was to say that Zayna Jumma was simply more of the same. In fact, the sound has definitely changed, due in no small part to what seems to be an expanded lineup. The elder Doueh has enlisted his next oldest sons, on synth and drum kit, and it's really the drums that are the big difference. "Super rocking" might just be the best way to describe the whole record. The drums are powerful and ever present, and the guitars remain impossibly wild, wooly and wonderful, drenched in effects, wah and flanger, making the notes and riffs twist into fantastic new shapes. The keyboards add all sorts of texture, and the trio of female backup singers adds even more oomph, with choruses and call and response vocal harmonies that are so rich and lush. There are a couple tracks that stand out, where the band set aside their new rocking-ness. Instead, they unfurl gorgeous hazily psychedelic expanses of guitar buzz, sounding more like a sitar. The melodies tangled amidst the percussive deep resonant pulse, and the vocals wail passionately way down in the mix. Here it's about the crazy intricate dense guitar playing, which is incredible, so hypnotic and utterly mesmerizing. The record finishes off with a lengthy jam that is definitely another of our favorites, sounding a bit more laid back than the rest of the record and more warm and washed out. The guitars unfurling gorgeous little flurries of notes. The rhythms and main riff locked tight so that it almost sounds looped and at times like the record must be skipping. Those moments eventually blossom into synth laden, softly droney stretches of strummy folk and sun dappled Afro-pop bliss, dreamy and so divine. Utterly fantastic.