The extraordinary Tinariwen, a Tuareg group from the northern Sahara, have now become a global phenomenon. Their fifth album, 'Tassili', was recorded largely unplugged in Djanet in the south-eastern Algerian desert and contains much soulful, stirring and evocative music. However, Tinariwen's brilliant, elemental and poetic desert blues is not enhanced by the addition of western 'guest' artists such as guitarist Nels Cline and vocals from New York band 'TV on the Radio' which is why 'Tassili' just falls short of the highest rating.
Tinariwen have gone a bit international with this release using some English language lyrics and a very sophisticated production but they haven't strayed from their trademark sound. Desert blues has never sounded better.