Hama – Music from Saharan WhatsApp 08 (Sahel Sounds)


Hama’s 2015 album Torodi (Sahel Sounds) , a beautiful raw minimal and hypnotic work created solely off a Yamaha PSR-64 keyboard was a revelation. Transposing traditional Tuareg folk music from guitar to keyboard, it sounded like nothing else around. With the keyboard destroyed in a fire, for 2019’s epic Houmeissa he found himself on Fruity Loops, creating lush, bombastic tunes, with gurgling electrics, synthetic oscillations and artificial snares. Quite repetitive, and slightly reminiscent of Tuareg guitar riffing, its blissed out lush electronica could be mistaken for late 80’s German komische, or perhaps an electronica producer from the early 00’s. Sahel sounds called it ‘synthwave,’ but really it was its own unique beast. You can read our review here.

Hama is Mouhamadou Moussa , a musician from Niamey, Niger. For his entry into Sahel Sounds excellent and very immediate Music From Saharan WhatsApp he’s returned to the keyboard (Yamaha PSR 530) and live recording. Every month Sahel Sounds are posting a new digital recording from an artist and all proceeds go directly to that artist, so this is an opportunity to some $ directly into Hama’s pocket. At the end of the month the recording is taken down.

This recording epitomises what I love about Sahel Sounds. It’s raw, lacking in lush reverbs or studio trickery, relying instead on the talent of the performer. This feels like a return to Torodi. these synthetic webs just snake around repetitive beats, building through repetition. It’s audio hypnoticism, minimal synthesizer takes on Niger folk music, with a knowing ear to 90’s techno and those Hammond organ records that covered popular songs in the 70’s. It’s a truly bizarre and intoxicating meeting of worlds occurring within one individual. Its music that belies its minimal ingredients. I can’t get enough of it.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.