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* MYSTERY EP *
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22 June 2009

EASY TO IMAGINE

Tshepang and Molefi BLK JKS with Vieux Farka Touré and co. Photo via Will You Miss Me When Im Gone?

"The African double bill at the Highline Ballroom on Saturday was a night of triplets, scampering, chattering and barreling ahead in ways that could be dizzying. Vieux Farka Touré, a bandleader from Mali, and Blk Jks, a band from South Africa, arrive at their music from different directions: Mr. Touré by personalizing an inherited tradition, Blk Jks by global mix-and-match. But both play rock with rapid inner workings. Even songs with slower superstructures were bustling in triple time just under the surface...

...Blk Jks are less indebted [than Touré] to tradition. They sometimes hint at the bounce of South African pop, and like other African bands they sing (mostly in English) about social and philosophical questions. Yet just as often they turn westward: to Jamaica for the propulsion of ska and the echoes and spaces of dub reggae, to the Police for a blend of snickering staccato rhythms and gauzy guitar reverb, to psychedelia and progressive rock for shifty structures and bluesy guitar lines that wander far afield. Their songs often alternate between contrasting sections, with sudden shifts in tempo and meter that confounded would-be dancers. It’s as easy to imagine Blk Jks on a bill with the Mars Volta or a jam band as with fellow African bands.

But they easily had enough in common with Mr. Touré’s music to join him and his band for the set’s finale, “Sarama,” a song from “Fondo” that grew into galloping modal funk, with the Blk Jks guitarist Lindani Buthelezi answering Mr. Touré’s Malian curlicues with blues-rock leads by way of Jimi Hendrix. It was African electric rock, unconcerned with boundaries."

Jon Pareles, NY Times

6 comments:

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Good stuff, shameless plug of new short film I made here:

http://www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/films/film/the-stall/

Kelly La Rosa said...

This was an amazing Show. It was great to see you guys again. and such a treat to see you onstage with Vieux Farka Toure. The jam session was AWESOME! Much love and safe travels back home.

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