I'm not a musician, but I don't see how anybody can perform the same type of music day in and day out for years on end without getting bored. Surely after a couple of decades of playing blues-based rock and roll, a guitar player would want to explore something else, if for no other reason than to open their minds to new ideas that could be incorporated into their genre of choice. However, that doesn't seem to be the case with the majority of popular musicians out there, as they appear quite content to keep doing the same thing over and over again with only a few minor variations along the way.
All of which only serves to make the work of Les Triaboliques on their soon to be released disc, rivermudtwilight (on the World Village label), all the more impressive. Les Triaboliques are Ben Mandelson, Lu Edmonds, and Justin Adams—guitar players who began their popular music careers during the British punk era playing with bands like Magazine and The Dammed, or in the case of Adams, as sideman for people like Sinead O'Connor. They are the first to admit that American music of the twentieth century was the first and major influence on their music, but unlike others their musical voyage didn't stop there.
Perhaps it's only fitting that Justin Adams has become well known for his work with the Tuareg nomad band Tinariwen just as he, Edmonds, and Mandelson have been musical and literal nomads. Wandering the world from Siberia to North Africa and stops in between, each of them has absorbed a variety of influences that has broadened their musical horizons far beyond what we normally find in popular music. It seems only natural these three wanderers would eventually end up together when the winds blew them back home to Great Britain—where they all originally hail from—pooling their talents and experiences to make this recording.
The eleven tracks on the disc not only represent their multiple influences, but also the huge variety of instruments that each of them have taken up. Brilliantly, what they've decided to do is not wed an instrument to its country of origin—i.e. have an oud solely play Turkish music—but have used them where they fit best and feel most appropriate irrespective of an individual piece of music's background. Naturally, some of the results might sound a little startling to your ears, especially until you get used to the sounds of the various instruments, but if you can put aside any preconceived notions on how a song is supposed to sound you're in for some delightful surprises.