Group Doueh & Cheveu

As far as collaborations that would land in 2017, these are not necessarily names I would have even pulled out of a hat as working together. The French post-punk provocateurs Cheveu have been constantly reinventing their sound over the past few years. They’re a hard bunch to nail down, so maybe it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that they ended up in the desert working with Saharan blues unit Group Doueh. The latter has spent time putting records out on Sublime Frequencies, typically their only approved outlet, and spreading the heavy gospel of their Saharawi brand of electric blues. The collision of these forces seems like it couldn’t have common ground, but surprisingly the bridge feels seamless. It becomes a brand of music out of time, the kind of intrinsic otherness that music directors search out to explain alien worlds or dystopian society.

There’s a heavy sense of rhythm, indebted both to Cheveu’s frantic pacing and to Doueh’s stacked rhythm section, filled with a plethora of extra beats and psychedelic rumble. The tone wavers between celebratory and unhinged. There’s a sense that the spark between the two groups lit fast and hot, burned while they had a short interaction and then left its mark etched fresh in the black lacquer. The whole session was only two weeks, but it appears that both parties dug deep and brought something unknown out of each other. Psych, world and post-punk records proliferate the bins with varying degrees of necessity; but rest assured, there are no others like this one. Through fate, chaos and strange divinity; this has come together with the frayed soul of Yggdrasil and it’ll light up any pair of speakers with a strange and smirking dance.

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