Album reviews: Toumani & Sidiki, The Horrors, Chuck E. Weiss, Eno & Hyde, Lykke Li, Fujiya & Miyagi

Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté Toumani & Sidiki (World Circuit)

Scion of generations of griots and kora players, Toumani Diabaté has since his late 1980s debut come to be acknowledged as the world’s leading exponent of that iconic African instrument,  a 21-string harp built with a resonating gourd. His son Sidiki, better known in Mali as the producer and beat-making half of the successful hip-hop duo Iba One, has inherited his father’s skill judging by this rare alliance, only the third album of kora duets ever recorded.

In keeping with the praise-singing griot tradition, its 10 tracks celebrate greatness, though the original subjects for whom the mostly old Malian and Gambian tunes were written have been supplanted by new, titular dedicatees, just as the tunes have been updated through improvisations, in a manner akin to Indian ragas. “Dr Cheikh Modibo Diarra”, for instance, is for the former interim Malian prime minister and UNESCO goodwill ambassador, and “Hamadoun Toure”  celebrates another courageous figure who helped refugees during the recent crisis. “Toguna Industries”, meanwhile, applauds an entire company for their work helping peasant farmers to enjoy a bumper harvest in 2013.

Despite the limited instrumental palette, there’s a broad variety of approaches, from the whirligig runs of “Hamadoun Toure” to the pulsing motifs which lend “Rachid Ouiguini” an almost funky syncopation. The two players’ styles combine seamlessly, though it’s possible to discern subtle differences: the youthful Sidiki favours quicksilver runs and staccato bursts, while Toumani’s lines are more lyrical and attuned to the melancholic, a characteristic most evident in the only original composition here, “Lampedusa”, a reflection on hope and tragedy offered as a tribute to the hundreds  of migrant victims of last year’s terrible shipwreck off the coast of that Italian island.


Download: Hamadoun Toure; Lampedusa; Rachid Ouiguini; Claudia & Salma

The Horrors Luminous (XL)

Luminous continues the upward trajectory – out of the dark, into the light – begun on 2011’s Skying, but the diminishing returns this time aren’t quite enough to compensate for the portent of Simple Minds looming behind new-wave psych-rockers such as “So Now You Know”. It opens well, with pulsing waves of keyboards driving “Chasing Shadows” into  a neo-Goth swirl and singer Faris Badwan sounding more positive than earlier in the band’s career. But following the optimistic “First Day of Spring”, the mood becomes rote and dully insistent. Fresh ideas are scarce – “I See You” reprises the “Baba O’Riley”-style sequenced-synth stratagem behind Skying’s “Moving Further Away”. It’s not bad, as such, but like Primal Scream it promises more than it delivers.


Download: Chasing Shadows; First Day of Spring; In and Out of Sight

Chuck E. Weiss Red Beans And Weiss (Anti-)

Bohemian legend and walking R&B encyclopaedia Chuck Weiss is on great form on this latest album, co-produced by Tom Waits and Johnny Depp. Equally at home with the Tex-Mex of “Hey Pendejo”, the cabaret croon of “Shushie”, the Cab Calloway scat of “Oo Poo Pa Do in the Rebop” and the slide-guitar stomp of “Boston Blackie”, Chuck hits the ground running with the incandescent “Tupelo Joe”, a slice of Cramps-style mutant rockabilly. The air of lyrical absurdity is briefly interrupted for “Bomb the Tracks”, a boho-jazz query as to why the Allies never bombed the railways serving the Nazi death-camps, but disorder is soon restored with Chuck’s self-proclaimed “alternative jungle music”, best exemplified by “The Hink-A-Dink”, a jungle-native dance tableau.


Download: Tupelo Joe; Shushie; Exile On Main Street Blues; The Hink-a-Dink

Eno • Hyde Someday World (Warp)

Brian Eno’s latest collaboration arose from his having a surfeit of beginnings to which Underworld’s Karl Hyde could provide the conclusions, or the next steps in  a back-and-forth of accretion and subtraction. Eno likens the results to the way houses adapt to hillsides, taking whatever route necessary to stay up – in the case of “When  I Built This World”, coming perilously close to techno-jazz-fusion, in “Witness” to the fizzing improv of the Velvets’ “Sister Ray”. “The Satellites” opens the album with tart trumpets over staccato guitars, “To Us All” closes it with an oceanic excursion. In between are liquid pools of guitar and chattering keyboards, and in  the lovely “Daddy’s Car”, the excitement of discovery with your dad, “way up on his shoulders  and loving the thrill of it”.


Download: The Satellites; Daddy’s Car; Witness; To Us All

Lykke Li I Never Learn (Atlantic)

Lykke Li’s third album is the final part of a trilogy, though it’s debatable whether this isn’t one visit too many to that particular well of heartbreak. “I Never Learn” is a gorgeous opener, its fulsome strum of acoustic guitars graced by strings and backing-vocal cooings in anthemic manner; but from there it’s emotional pain writ large, with wan piano lines supplanted by grand, melodramatic resolutions in songs like  “No Rest for the Wicked”, “Gunshot” and “Never Gonna Love Again”, whose sensitive intro, evocative of This Mortal Coil’s “Song to the Siren”, is summarily abandoned for a routine heart-wringing refrain. “Every song is a power ballad,” Li claims, but the album needs greater variety,  some sort of joy against which  to measure the pain. 


Download: I Never Learn; No Rest for the Wicked

Fujiya & Miyagi Artificial Sweeteners (Full Time Hobby)

Fujiya & Miyagi have reverted to something closer to the style of their landmark Transparent Things on Artificial Sweeteners, breaking out the old analogue synths and sequencers again to chatter away metronomically on tracks like the Terry Riley-esque “A Sea Ringed with Visions” and “Tetrahydrofolic Acid”, an almost brutally old-school techno exercise of pumping pulses and spiralling synth lines. Being F&M, they can’t help adding funky, syncopated twitches to break up the four-square march occasionally, as on “Little Stabs at Happiness”, but it’s a predominantly lockstep experience overall, slightly at odds with David Best’s characteristic deadpan murmur, the ghost in their machine.


Download: Flaws; Artificial Sweeteners; Acid to My Alkaline

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders