Simple, raw and repetitive in the best way, Festival in the Desert is about rhythmic repetition far removed from anything electronic. From hypnotic female vocal ticks to guitar throb deeply set in an African desert, the compilation is about translating the intense openness of the desert into music. Malian legend Ali Farka Toure and a range of other Malian and Mauritanian musicians bring their own guitar-laden traditions, and even Robert Plant-who somehow feels like a Western spokesman-makes a marvelous journey into eerie, bluesy emptiness. Sparse and compelling, this compilation thoroughly entertains through its spirit of simplicity.