Groupe RTD – The Dancing Devils of Djibouti (Ostinato)
If this is the very first Djiboutian record unleashed beyond the Nation of Djibouti (it is), then we’ve really been missing out with the whole “state run media” business in this obscure nation. Groupe RTD is the veteran house band for said state-run media, but this is pretty much the only controlled aspect of their sound. And what is this sound, you may ask? Well it’s an effortlessly flowing mash of dusted Ethiopian jazz, tribal Somali beats, supremely stoned roots reggae, spaced-out dub, and bonkers Arabian funk that sprints by in ten tracks that you sense were recorded in one take only. The fact that this heady brew was cooked up over the years under a myriad of government controls and is only now being released to the outer world makes you realize even the most clamped-down conditions can lead to the creation of the free-est sounding music.