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Album: Tal International, Kaani (Fat Cat Records)


It takes a couple of songs to acclimatise to the deceptively chaotic sound of this West African outfit from Niger. This has neither the reassuring lope of the desert blues nor the bright, shiny swing of Ghanaian highlife. Instead, swiftly circling guitar riffs compete with intense clattering percussion as Tal International give the impression they are tripping over each other to get to some imagined finishing pole first.

But if you surrender to the onrush, it should hypnotise then bear you up and along. Chicago-based producer James Carter wisely just stood back and let them do their thing, and the end result is raw but detailed. And to think that their live sets last around five hours without breaks.