Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Henry Kaiser: A World Out of Time: In Madagascar [Shanachie, 1992]
Pomo folklorists Henry Kaiser and David Lindley stick their fretboards into these 18 Malagasy songs at will because despite their thing for Madagascar's isolation (you'd never guess from title or music that hundreds of thousands of strikers filled the capital's streets during their two-week visit), they understand that this Indian Ocean island is as multicultural as it gets--an Asian/Malaysian/Polynesian part of Africa that's been fucked over by Europe like everywhere else. The 13 artists represent a profusion of mostly commercialized styles, yet between their euphonious language and the indigenous timbres of their lutes and flutes, they blend gracefully together. Fittingly, the gentle Japanese pop tune the foreigners feed them melds better than "I Fought the Law." From lullaby to jamboree, melody is clearly treasured in this place. A-