U92 on the Review: Group Doueh & Cheveu make an important import

February 1, 2017

Originally published in The DA (WVU's student newspaper)


Photo Courtesy of http://www.bornbadrecords.net/artists/group-doueh-cheveu/


I need to learn French.

As a philosophy minor, it would be immeasurably helpful to read the post-structuralists in their original tongue. In this case, I could provide you a much better understanding of the cosmic forces which brought together Francophonic psych-punks Cheveu with Group Doueh, a Sahrawi act that’s been primarily releasing their sounds through the ethnomusicographic field-recording label Sublime Frequencies.

As it stands, the best explanation comes from a crudely auto-translated article published by Cheveu’s label, Born Bad Records. It seems the two groups met in the Moroccan city of Dakhla back in 2014 after the proprietor of Born Bad agreed to fund the collaboration. They immediately clicked as artists, sensing each others’ deep connection to the world through their music, and over the next two years worked together in Doueh’s small home studio to produce the ten tracks that would become "Dakhla—Sahara - Session."

The music that resulted from those sessions is a clear step forward in the transforming sound of our ever-globalizing society. The jangly quarter-tone ramblings of Doueh’s guitar riffs have been warped to fit on top of electronic drum tracks and layers of synthesizer, creating a highly danceable fusion with Cheveu’s post-punk sensibilities. Blazing guitar solos stand out in the mix like any good rock song, but they’re supplemented by the polyphonic wailing of Doueh’s background singers in their native Berber language.

The cultural blend is most evident when they’re playing over what would otherwise be fairly standard rock rhythms. "Bord De Mer" is practically a Talking Heads-style krautrock jam, "Azaouane" sounds like it came ripping straight out of the California desert scene and "Ach Had Lak Ya Khay" could have easily been found on U.S. pop radio circa 2013. These tracks turn into something completely new when the West Saharan melodies are intertwined, blowing the doors of sonic possibility wide open.

Music is such a primal, instinctual trait in humans, it makes sense that we’re all tapped into the same fundamental soundscape. All it takes is an open mind and a good jam session to find the bridge between different musical languages, synthesizing entirely new sounds in the process.

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