white horses

It's quiet in the dusty bus station, save for the hum of the fluorescent lights. The bus stands like a monument, a behemoth yellow vessel with its logo emblazoned on the side -- a map of Niger and a galloping white horse. In the dark corners of the yard still…

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festival au desert pt. 2

There are a lot of festivals in the desert. Two features of nearly every festival are the sub-standard sound systems and traditional tende. Unfortunately, most of the time the tende is distorted beyond comprehension. Fortunately in the case of Festival Shiriken the equipment is so bad that the amplifier burns…

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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…

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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…

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tracklist from music from saharan cellphones

This little cassette of music ("Music from Saharan Cellphones") collected from cellphones has been in internet circulation lately (update -- and the Guardian UK). Pitchfork did a nice write-up on the phenomena of "musical scarcity", Rupture at Mudd Up! has given it some blog/radio play, and Portland's own Gulls put…

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