The Primal Energy That Is The Music And Ritual Of Jajouka, Morocco


Repress of this 1995 CD reissue of the all-time classic Jajouka LP, originally issued by Adelphi in 1974. Recorded by Joel Rubiner in Jajouka, Morocco during the summer of 1972, with liner notes by Robert Palmer. A conceptual 'sister' album to the Brian Jones presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka LP, which had attempted to initiate the Western world into this historic village music. Due to a generally perceived failure on Brian Jones' part for his insistence in adding post-production "fancy phazing and echo effects", that record was considered inadequate, but did get the word out on the potential psychedelic propulsion of this this indigenous music from a small village in the foot hills of the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco. On this self-titled album, Brian Jones isn't directly involved (his name, listed several times on the back of the CD, denotes that two pieces are in fact 'tributes', not participations), but the power and psychological intensity of their music (referenced so vividly by the likes of Brion Gysin, Ornette Coleman, William Burroughs, etc.) is finally realized to tape. "When this album was recorded, during the summer and fall of 1972, the Master Musicians were confronting the survival struggle head on. Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka had been released the year before and had done little to improve the lot of the community. The musicians were determined to reach an audience in the West and it was decided at the outset that the extended ritual music which was captured by Jones, and which is so overwhelming under a full moon with bonfires blazing, lost much of its power and purpose when transferred to records. Accordingly, the musicians collapsed their long forms (which are rather like infinitely expandable telescopes) and set about putting concise statements of their heritage on tape...the tune 'Jajouka Black Eyes' is a particularly effective example of the spiritual and psychic powers of the rhaitas. Toward the end of the piece one player hits a continuous drone (maintained by circular breathing, in which the musician blows out and breathes in at the same time, storing air in his lungs as if they were bags of a bagpipe) while the other inserts graceful, semi-improvised punctuations. The horns naturally create many partials or overtones and when two or more play together, as here, these almost sub-audible harmonics build stacked celestial structures which seem to be related to ideas of mathematical perfection deriving from ancient Arabic numerology. In fact, one rhaita piece represents 'the perfection of the factors' and would probably tell us a great deal about the sciences of antiquity if we had a Rosetta Stone to help us decipher its meaning." -- Robert Palmer.