So my new job as managing editor of Global Rhythm magazine is going pretty well. I'm being turned on to a surprising amount of great music. I was worried it was gonna be all reggae and Afropop, but while there's a fair amount of that (and that's not necessarily all bad - the new Burning Spear disc, Our Music, arrived yesterday, and it's plenty solid), there's also crazy stuff I almost certainly would never have encountered on my own. Like the music of Mariem Hassan.
This woman is from the Saharawi tribe, who don't actually have any land of their own - they've been living in tent cities in Algeria for three decades, since they rebelled against their colonial owners in Spain and, um, lost. The music they make features hand drumming and electric guitar, plus Hassan's vocals, which are in Arabic (or maybe Hassania, the native tongue of her people, I'm not sure). It kinda sounds like a cross between a muezzin's call to prayer and the Mississippi hill blues of Junior Kimbrough - and the guitarist fucking smokes. The album's called Deseos, and it's on Nubenegra Records out of Spain. Go look for it while I try and convince my superiors that True Norwegian Black Metal counts as "world music."
In freelance news this week, my first piece is appearing in the Baltimore City Paper, a review of three Van Der Graaf Generator reissues. Right around the time these albums were released in the UK, the descriptions made them sound like something I'd like a lot, so I waited until the cheaper U.S. versions (exactly the same disc, but available for domestic price through Astralwerks) emerged, and then I bought 'em from CDuniverse.com, a site I heartily endorse. (They're currently the only place with a decent price on the new Rammstein album, which doesn't have a U.S. street date yet.) Anyway, VDGG pretty much ate my brain on first listen. I just got the next batch of reissues - Godbluff, Still Life and a Peter Hammill solo album featuring guest spots from all the VDGG members plus Robert Fripp - and while those are all good, they're not as ass-rapingly great as the previous three. The three-year lag between batches of releases is probably what did it.
Oh, and the book for which this blog is named shipped from the printer to distributors and whatnot on Friday, 11/18. So within a couple of weeks, it should be available from Amazon, just in time for last-minute holiday shopping.