Notes explode from Mdou Moctar's guitar like radiant sparkles of supernatural light. They rain in patterns and expand in all directions like brightly flickering constellations, mesmerizing the listener before the Tuareg musician has even begun singing. On Moctar's latest album, Ilana (The Creator), “Asshet Akal” commences with austere, serpentine twists of guitar before the rest of the band locks in with fulsome hard-rock power. His searing, psychedelic blues guitar torches a hallway of echoes on the minutelong interlude “Inizgam,” paving the way a few tracks later for the monumental guitar frenzy of “Tarhatazed,” which is driven by a hard reggae groove crowned with Moctar's spacy chants. “My people are dispersed across different countries,” he laments on the languidly poignant idyll “Tumastin” as jangling flurries of guitars and echoes cycle around him. With Marisa Anderson.

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