The Austin Chronicle

Saturday Record Reviews

Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, May 2, 2014, Music


Nomad (Nonesuch)

The buoyant, Middle Eastern groove of Nomad's lead track "Amidinine" breaks open with a sandstorm solo of triplets and hammer-ons, daring you to imagine a recording of Mark Knopfler plugged into Jack White's amplifier – being played in reverse. The Tuareg guitarist took to a Psych Fest stage in 2012 wearing a teal dashiki, his long, skinny fingers dancing on his Stratocaster knock-off in a fierce drone of desert blues. On his second international release, the Saharan – real name Omara Moctar – teamed with Dan Auerbach, who eschewed cultural documentation in his production of Nomad. The Black Keys frontman effectively hi-fied the group, stereo-panning the percussion, blessing Bombino's sunburnt Tamashek vocals with gratuitous echo, and allowing western instrumentation like pedal steel and Hammond organ into the mix. Those daring variances bring distinction to each track and, ultimately, result in a recording that outshines Bombino's previous studio efforts. From the aforementioned solo to gentle, closing love song "Tamiditine," Nomad stays captivating, riding constant highlights like the galloping, reverb-drenched female contemplation "Azamane Tiliade," silky, mesmerizing desert poetry of "Her Tenere," and the gorgeous, folk-pop vibrations of "Imidiwan." Nomad is more than a beautiful offering for the world music crowd. It's the defining work of a guitar hero. (Sat., 7pm, Reverberation Stage)


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