Saturday, June 18, 2011

Group Doueh is WORTH IT!!!

Here's an excerpt from my Group Doueh review at PopMatters:

Group Doueh plays noisy and exultant music, designed to pitch listeners into throes of bewildered ecstasy. This makes sense—they’re a wedding band. Remember how bewildered and ecstatic everybody was in the first third of The Deer Hunter? Or rather, recall how ecstatic the filmmaking was, with its leisurely voyeurism and its willingness to simply observe all the dancing and drinking in something approaching real time. That filmed observation, almost an hour-long, was itself virtuosic, itself a celebration. Yet it wasn’t real time. The Deer Hunter achieved its ecstasy by masterfully confounding viewers’ expectations of movie time. Doueh’s songs aren’t that long, actually—only one song on their new album tops six minutes—but they capture the same spirit of staggering along in search of joy, unmoored from time’s tyranny. Sometimes Group Doueh struggles for that joy, and sometimes joy seems handed to them by a happy confluence of design and fortune.

Then I go on to call Doueh "traditional griot music", which may be inaccurate, and I describe their rhythmic approach, specifically their method of displacing beats and unsettling listeners to presumably ecstatic ends.

Things I'd ask myself if I wanted to dwell longer on this album, which I may:

Is it fair to compare a Western Saharan band's manipulation of musical time to an American director's manipulation of movie time? Or is my comparison the worst kind of chauvinism? Or even any kind of chauvinism? Or does chauvinism have its uses?

Does Doueh's recorded output represent what they do as a wedding band? Or are the playing styles and repertoires different? 

What is it about weddings that suggests ecstatic unmoorings from time? Promises of eternity? And does that have anything at all to do with this particular Group Doueh album?

Anyway, good CD. If you know more about this stuff than I do, I'd love to hear from you.

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