The Village Voice | Richard Gehr | January 17, 2017
With bassist Mike Rivard and drummer Dean Johnston at their core, Boston- based Club d’Elf have been inscrutable purveyors of otherworldly improvised headiness since 1998. In recent years, d’Elf’s ever-changing lineup has added a new element to its jazz-dub-space-rock essence in the form of Casablanca-born Brahim Fribgane, who sings and plays Gnawa trance music, traditional Berber songs, and chaabi street sounds. Sometimes their music seems to emerge from the depths of an all-night ahwash ceremony; at others, you could be brain-surfing a particularly jazzy Goa full-moon party, with snatches of Terence McKenna’s psychedelic raps punctuating the hallucinations. This Club d’Elf show celebrates the release of Live at Club Helsinki, which documents a particularly rich 2012 show in upstate New York, with beta elves Mister Rourke (DJ) and Paul Schultheis (keyboards) and local guests Hassan Hakmoun (on the three-stringed, camel-skin-covered sintir) and Mat Maneri (viola).