Malian artist Issa Bagayogo's third album is, without question, his most appealing and ambitious record to date.
Malian artist Issa Bagayogo's third album is, without question, his most appealing and ambitious record to date. Bagayogo initially gained notice for his compelling synthesis of electronica and traditional Malian music, which, in his homeland, earned him the nickname "Techno Issa." With "Tassoumakan," Bagayogo and producers Philippe Berthier and Yves Wernert have further refined his sound. In the process, they created a classic of modern Malian music. Bagayogo's dusky voice, as beautifully understated as ever, weaves through a collection of tunes that feel supremely minimalistic, yet are anything but. Every element—be it the n'goni (six-stringed lute) or drum loops, balafon (a wooden xylophone) or Mama Sissoko's sublime electric guitar—merge into an uncanny, organic vibe that redefines ancient vs. modern as ancient is modern.—PVV