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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Griots - Griots (Mnóad, 2014) ***½

By Stefan Wood

The Griots' self titled album, released this year, is an experimental noise group whose sound evokes those done by many various industrial/noise groups from the late 70's to early 90's.  It is strange that the name "griot," originally a name of a West African musician or storyteller who is the keeper of oral traditions, is used as the name of the group, as the entire album is comprised of sonic textures and noises.  While there are a couple of tracks that use vocals, only one can be legible (and only if one knows the native language being spoken, it's not English).  The other tracks use vocals as a texture, layered on top of one another to create a dynamic sheet of sound.  Most of the other tracks (no titles, just roman numerals) are variations of this layering effect.  The opening track is a sonic trip into an abyss, employing wailing factory like horns and metal clanging percussion.  If there is a story to tell in the griot tradition, it is very abstract, perhaps industrial primitive, perhaps not.  But the sonics are well conceived and the sounds produced are intriguing, to say the least. Recommended for connoisseurs of noise.