For the record, this is the Master Musicians of Joujouka ensemble not under the direction of Bachir Attar or produced by Bill Laswell. In the war waged between competing groups as to who is the true representative of this music, this is the group with a somewhat more basic and unpolished sound, much less geared toward Western, rock-oriented ears. Even so, the track titled "Brahim Jones Joujouka Very Stoned" is written in honor of the Rolling Stones guitarist who first brought this music to the attention of Western listeners. The music centers around hand drums, flutes, chanted vocals, and occasional double-reed instruments called riathas. Appropriate to its affiliation with a certain cave in the hills behind Joujouka, there is a kind of outdoors, open-air quality in the music; nothing of studio enhancement comes through. Instead, it's quite easy to imagine the players relaxing in the yard after dinner, spinning these trance-like melodies in a leisurely atmosphere for the enjoyment of friends and families. The contrast between the earthy drum rhythms and the delicate filigree of the flute work, sounding like some avian fantasy, is luscious. Listeners who only know this genre through recordings like Apocalypse Across the Sky owe it to themselves to hear Joujouka's flip side, the one without one ear tilted toward the world music market.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick