808s & heartbreak

Mdou Moctar - La Super Everything that he had earned in Libya, he gave to his mother. He had nothing left. He asked her for his old guitar that he had left there in his absence, sitting abandoned in the corner. He put on new strings and took it out…

field recordings of starlight

We arrive in TchinTabaradene at sunset. It's a calm village, one of the innumerable places throughout West Africa and the "under" developed world, places that lie off the paved roads and power grids, their physical isolation a stalwart against the creeping homogenization of a single world. Between here and the…

Mdou Moctar, Desert Warrior

Just finished up the new music video for Mdou Moctar's "Anar" (previously) - inspired by the lovelorn ballad using a pastiche of footage from the 1984 film "Tuareg - The Desert Warrior," an Italian Spaghetti "Western". The video is also available in 3GP format, the preferred video format for cellphones…

of love and eyebrows

After two years, the tracks of popular West African tunes found on cellphones were released, remixed, and now successfully returned to their point of collection Kidal, Mali. (previously) As a rebellion seems to break out days prior to my depart, the 30 microSD memory cards are handed to a truck…

tahoultine, chopped and skyped

Mdou Moctar (pronounced "M"-"Doh") is from Abalak, Niger. A few years back, he traveled to Sokoto, Nigeria to record an album. A curious feature was addition of Autotune, something the studio engineer suggested. The resulting eight songs, all spaced out Autotuned Tamashek guitar (quite possibly the first time ever) were…