Various - Bush Taxi Mali: Field Recordings From Mali LP
Label: Sublime Frequencies
Given the sheer volume of commercially available music that's come out of Mali (to say nothing of its West African neighbors, and the rest of the continent), one would think there would be a lot more field recordings of street musicians and the sundry other less commercially viable artists who don't attract the attention of the mainstream world music market. There certainly were labels such as John Storm Roberts' Original Music (R.I.P.) which had been hard at work on just that task many years ago. But recent years - what with "world beat" becoming a commercially viable genre targeted to the lowest common denominator - there's been less and less new, raw, unadulterated sounds to be had from the region. The first, in what is hopefully not the last, attempt from Sublime Frequencies to ameliorate this oversight comes from Tucker Martine. And what a nice collection of tracks it is. Recorded in the Fall of 1998 with, if we may say so, some incredibly nice field recording equipment, Bush Taxi Mali is like a really nice panoramic snapshot of music and sounds. The tracks range from miscellaneous street sounds, the dulcet tones of the kora (a bridged 21 stringed lute with a large calf-skin covered gourd resonator), fife and drum music, children singing and clapping, gorgeous acoustic guitar, and an absolutely frenetic wedding celebration with distorted bull horn amplification.