The Belgian label Sub Rosa has released a series of albums that showcase some of the rawest, most passionate examples of Morocco’s greatest traditional music; the latest installment is by the Master Musicians of Joujouka, the famed group of trance musicians from a small village in the Rif Mountains. In the past their music has made converts of Brion Gysin, Paul Bowles, Ornette Coleman, Brian Jones, William S. Burroughs, and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo. Now our beloved Billy Corgan has joined the list of admirers. Corgan traveled to Joujouka this past March to watch the group perform in its native environment. His analysis: “This is the closest any other music comes to rock . . . . in its intensity.” Sorry Joujoukans, close but no cigar–a few months listening to Adore may do the trick.
Boujeloud—named after a Moroccan analog to the Greek god Pan, the spurned half-man, half-goat who taught the shepherd Daphnis to play the flute—was recorded during several visits to the village between 1994-1996, and features ritual music performed during the annual Boujeloud festival. As on other recordings of the group, the music throbs with a primal focus, all stuttering frame drum beats, trilling reed flutes, and piercing clusters of rhaitas–the distinctive double reed instrument whose sound could perform trepanation better than any drill–alternating between massed riffing and wild flutters.
Elsewhere: As a complement to Touch and Go Records’ big 25th anniversary celebration at the Hideout Block Party, the label is also presenting an exhibit of visual art made by a dozen artists on the label’s roster, including Jon Langford (Mekons), Tim Kerr (Big Boys), Mick Turner (Dirty Three), and Bianca Casady (CocoRosie). The show runs from Monday, September 4, through Friday, September 8, at Open End Gallery, daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.