In this feature, The Times' pop music writers spotlight albums--old or new, obscure or mainstream--to which they've formed a special attachment.
Album: "Life at the Pyramids" (Shanachie).
History: With inspiration from the sounds and scents of their heavily North African and Asian neighborhood, West Berliners Michael Wehmeyer, Friedo Josch and Uve Mullric (formerly of the group Embryo) formed Dissidenten in 1980. A tour of India with an Indian percussion ensemble and travel throughout the world helped shape the East-West hybrid musical style they first recorded on the 1982 independent album "Germanistan." During the next year, with an expanded lineup, the group recorded with local musicians in Morocco and Zimbabwe. During this time, the band was introduced to Lem Chaheb, a trio considered the Moroccan equivalent of the Rolling Stones in influence and popularity, and the two groups collaborated on "Sahara Elektrik," which was first released in Germany in 1984. That album, featuring lengthy modal grooves in a style termed "ethnobeat," caught the ear of BBC disc jockey John Peel, whose support led to the album's 1985 release by the ethnically adventurous English label Globe Style. With "Life at the Pyramids," its third album and first to be released in the U.S., Dissidenten (now a core trio of flutist Josch, bassist Mullrich and drummer Marlon Klein, with augmentation from a number of North African musicians) has solidified its position as a leading practitioner of this engaging musical and cultural blend, along with English bands 3 Mustaphas 3 and C Cat Trance.