In the Djebala foothills of the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco is the ancient village of Jajouka. For hundreds of years music has poured out of that village, music by the world’s only “4000 year old rock band” (William Burroughs), the Master Musicians of Jajouka. For hundreds of years the Master Musicians were the musical group of choice for the princes of Morocco, but they were not heard outside their native soil.
Fast forward to 1950, Morocco, free of French and Spanish colonialism, is alive and the Beat Generation has discovered it. Author/composer Paul Bowles and writer/painter Brion Gysin hears the Master Musicians at a festival and have their minds blown. At different times both Bowles and Gysin make their way to the village of Jajouka, visits which result in some of the first recordings of the group.
Eighteen years after his first encounter with the Master Musicians, Gysin takes Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones to Jajouka to experience the group’s wild and wonderful trance music. Jones spends a month recording the group and releases the album Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka. While the Jones record brought attention to the group, leading to associations with musician/legend Ornette Coleman and writer Robert Palmer, Jones treated the music with special effects.
In 1972, Joel Rubiner made his way to Jajouka to do fresh recordings of the group. He knew that there was an audience for the unfiltered sounds of the Master Musicians of Jajouka and spends the summer with a tape machine and the musicians. Jams formed into songs, Rubiner had tapes that music freaks would die for. Hypnotic, pulsing, energetic, and discordant - the Rubiner recordings needed to be released. In 1974, Adelphi Records took a chance on the Master Musicians and released The Primal Energy That Is The Music And Ritual Of Jajouka, Morocco. When the album was released on CD, it netted the All Music Guide’s Best of Genre award.
Out of print on vinyl for over twenty years, The Primal Energy... makes a return on Sol Re Sol Records (a spin-off of avant-rock label S.S. Records). Sol Re Sol’s repressing of this classic album contains the music of the original (remastered by John Golden), plus the original liner notes by Robert Palmer. The packaging however is something new - housed in a gatefold sleeve, it includes a new cover with little seen Rubiner photographs from the time the album was recorded. The recordings and photographs have been fully licensed. The group’s publishing royalties have been paid. No one is getting exploited in order to return this wonderful music to vinyl. Fans of Sublime Frequencies, Mississippi Records, the Nonesuch Explorer series, Ocura Records, and the Ethnic Folkways series will dig this release. (SRS 001)