Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Toumast: Ishumar [RealWorld, 2008]
Though his name doesn't grace the press release and he doesn't join Tuareg militant Moussa Ag Keyna and Keyna's female cousin Aminatou Goumar on the cover, what distinguishes this desert trance-rock from other desert trance-rock is French film-dance-theater composer Dan Levy, who produced, arranged, engineered, mixed and played 10 instruments on its debut album. Real World has always gone for "accessibility," but in a style this austere, some subtle schlock is a good thing. Rather than Tartit or Tinariwen, neither of whom eschew the theatrical themselves, this is the Tuareg music I'll play for friends after they've had their fill of Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara. A-