Page 1 of 1

(Review) Diwan 2 by Rachid Taha

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:40 pm
by howard male
Artist - Rachid Taha
Title - Diwan 2
Label - Wrasse Records

From the light-hearted, spaghetti western, trumpet refrain which introduces the opening track, 'Ecoute Moi Camarade,' it's clear that Taha's follow up to his 1998 collection of covers of traditional Algerian tunes is going to be a treat. And sure enough the rest of the album manages to deftly walk that tricky tightrope of paying respect to old loved or forgotten tunes while still adding a contemporary edge and urgency. But what's most pleasing here is that I've rarely heard anyone integrate traditional and rock instruments better than Taha. For example on 'Ah Mon Amour' a song about the madness of love (and one of only two of the man's own compositions here), the gasbar oranais - a wind instrument which sounds like a flute in a bad mood - seems to be the perfect sonic manifestation of the desperation of flesh and heart for the one desired, as it wheezily hyperventilates over a chunky, rolling rhythm track. And then there's my own personal favourite, 'Agatha,' which sounds like Sandinista-period Clash (but in a good way) and has the bonus of sparkling cascades of Mandolute notes throughout, which do more than just add icing to the cake. Even the lush cinematic sound of the Cairo String Ensemble never encroaches on the essential drive of these songs. For this reviewer anyway, the Algerian rock rebel has, with the assistance of his producer, ex Gong guitarist, Steve Hillage, made the most consistent, intelligent, and satisfying album of his career.

Independent on Sunday. Dec 17th. 06