Your Mines In Kabul

The following appeared in the Totentanz Webzine.

Shortly after the release of the very short "Sufiq" on Soleilmoon, Staalplaat presents us here a triple-CD (packaged in a simple jewel case, by the way and with a booklet printed in Kabul) of Muslimgauze works. the 23 tracks of "Your Mines in Kabul" were recorded by Bryn Jones in 1998, and are related to the EP "Lahore & Marseille".

With this CDs, Muslimgauze was still and totally into Arabian music, but the sounds used here are more distorted and looped that on some of his later recordings. The drums, clearly acoustic, are treated and the rhythms are very repetitive. Some tracks could very well be played in clubs, since they tempo and loops would fit very well any industrial play-list (and show why Bryan Jones has collaborated with Sonar on a record). The melodic passages are in the background and less present than on "Sufiq". They are sliced, slightly echoed, and add to the industrial touch of "Your Mines in Kabul". The structures of the song seem slightly less Arabic than on other release, at least the repetition of rhythmic loops intertwined with breaks and very fast beats sounds more occidental to me.

Otherwise, this is a "normal" Muslimgauze album. The atmosphere is still the same, focused entirely on Middle Eastern percussions, patterns and themas. Some strange vocals are added on some songs, for on example on the pair "Gujarati Translator" / "Translator of Gujarati". Finally, the third CD is a 30 minute remix of "Lahore", fast, hypnotic and catchy.

Any Muslimgauze fans will be sent to Heaven by "Your Mines in Kabul". All the tracks are good, and you have plenty of them to listen to. Another proof the incredible productivity of Bryn Jones, and another very enjoyable record.

review by Nicolas Chevreux
Totentanz Webzine (September 29, 2000)
note: Totentanz is now Recycle Your Ears

The following appeared in Incursion Publishing.

Here's one for the collectors. Recorded around the time of Lahore & Marseille, a double-disc EP released in 1998 on Soleilmoon, we have a re-visitation of that characteristic sound, and instead of it being spread over two EP-length discs, it's spread over 140 minutes and three discs instead.

The big, distorted beats are front and centre here, with moments of respite few and far between. When those moments do occur, they emerge as the most powerful and hypnotic points on the disc. Take, for instance, the last two minutes of the track "Izlamabad Carpet Boy". All of a sudden, the five and a half minutes of crunched-up beats come to a grinding halt, and we are treated to what feels like utter silence - a stringed instrument is plucked away over a dark and hypnotic drone, peppered with crackling vinyl. It feels like you've been walking over a safe terrain, and then you realize.. you'd better be careful for what could lie beneath your feet (and once you view the photo on the rear of the disc, this all comes full circle).

However, these moments are limited on the disc, and for the most part things run pretty much "on safe ground" for Muslimgauze fans. The first disc is the heaviest of the three, the second disc borders on being a little too much, even for a die-hard like myself. The obviously improvised keyboard notes plainly played over top of the beats sound childish and sketchy, at best. This has not been a fault of his in the past -- sketchiness is one of Muslimgauze's endearments -- but here things get to be a little much, especially around the latter half of Disc 2.

The third disc, a thirty-minute version of "Lahore", with the subtitle "Extended Version - Speed Up", is a non-stop assault of a pummeling backbeat, with at first very little to distinguish it apart from the original version. But things change to great dramatic effect about halfway through, and this disc is perhaps the most engaging of the three.

Once again a beautiful package has been put together by Staalplaat for this release (hand-numbered and limited to 700 copies), and they have fit three discs inside a single-sized CD package. The third disc is the most difficult to get to, as you must snap open the jewel case to extract the disc from its position in behind. Silk-textured paper and black text printed directly onto the jewel case showcase Staalplaat's undying devotion to this artist, packaging each release as a unique treasure.

Your Mines In Kabul is a worthwhile release on the whole, but one that is really meant for the collectors. I suppose it could have been edited down to two discs (some might say one), but when it comes to Muslimgauze, the case has never really been "less is more".

review by Vils "MD" Santo
Incursion Publishing (issue 13 October 8, 2000)

The following appeared on FluxEuropa.

Muslimgauze is the work of Bryn Jones from Manchester who sadly died last year. He was a workaholic and for over 15 years he has produced well over a hundred releases. The first thing that struck me about this was its packaging - a single CD jewel case containing three CDs, two at the front and one encased behind ...slightly awkward but pretty novel I must admit. The first of the CDs, MINE 1, begins with 'Tangier - Zeen' which sets the agenda for what's in store with its heavy distorted electronic beats ripping through from the word go. Soon these are accompanied by some ethnic string samples. 'Ravi And Kaldesh Mukherjee' sounds a bit like an ethnic version of Kraftwerk. It's pretty clever the way the sounds fade in on this one. The CD continues along these lines with many more interesting samples particularly the use of the female ones on 'Gujarati Translator' which is brilliant. MINE 2 opens with 'Burnt Bungalow of Simi' (I love these titles!) which has a very rhythmic percussion sound. The beats are a lot less harsh than on the first CD that's until you get to 'Ascend Babel In Oanj'. Heavy distorted rumbles make the backbone of this track as they fade up and down whilst electronic sounds and female vocals are thrown in until it stops abruptly. 'Sublultan' continues in the same way, the distortion on here is potent and blends well with its dark rhythms and melodies which swoop in. 'Jamiat Zirt' has more of an industrial techno sound accompanying those ethnic samples. The final track, 'Bismillah', is pretty odd weird crackling which distorts nicely for about a minute and a half. MINE 3 is an extended and sped up version of 'Lahore' which originally featured on the Lahore and Marseille EP which I haven't heard. This though lasts about half an hour and it's back to those heavy distorted beats which are again accompanied by many ethnic samples. Triple CDs are usually a bit of a mouthful with this being no exception but when you get round this psychological fear you should find each CD merits recognition as something brilliant. Just don't go putting yourself off by playing them one after the other!!!!!

review by John Marshall
(November 17, 2000)

The following appeared in Freq E-zine.

That title gives a certain indication of Bryn Jones' direction onto the Indian sub-Continent and surrounding areas in this album, packaged with three disc jammed (literally) into one jewel case, with track details etc printed directly onto the plastic. Add in the beautifully-printed high-grade paper of the inserts with their disturbingly artistic photos of artificially-limbed survivors of encounters with land mines in Afghanistan and it all adds up to a nicely-done set in a limited edition of 700.

Musically, Mine 1 starts off harsh and keeps on going that way - but harsh and surprisingly funky, with the typical 1998-era stepping groove which Jones was heavily into at that time. Oh yes, and the bass, lots and lots of the stuff. It belches out the rhythms, shakes the harmonics and disturbances of the mid and treble loops, curls up into beats of brain-pounding intensity. The beats themselves fracture, stop for half-breaths, lope across each other with hypnotic irregularity. Jones' constant evolution and instant self-mixing took him into places which other more-digital, less hand-on producers rarely achieve in the same organic manner. What's more, it's all done with tape-loops, cassettes and effects - no samplers, kids.

This is the sort of stuff to drive the listener's head into a whirling dervish-style of orbit - the rhythmic iteration where it all comes from, and thanks to the Muslimgauze methodology of stream of consciousness extended output, the extremes of groove and beat are reached, swept through and taken around the block again and again. As the CD passes through varying percussion styles and levels of distortion, the effect is nearly delirious, thanks especially to the attenuated radio voice cassette samples brought up into sometimes eerie close-up.

From start to finish of the second disc, the percussive onslaught continues, deeper down on the bass, washed across in smears of low end while the metallic thwack of the drums drills nails into the skull. Flutes and other wind instruments make up the closest there is here to melody, tambours, bells, shakers and all manner of clatter and pulse weave into harmonium wheezes, distended bloats of the undertow... In other words, more of the same, doubled and reworked into the stupendous miasma of otherworldly transmissions from an exotic place slightly related to the world of North-South/West-East geopolitical and economic reality, anchored by imagistic titles - "Tongue Tied In Sind", "Karakoram Visa Office", "Papier-Mache Efiji Of Bishan Bedi", and most shuddersome, "The Last Tamil Tiger Skinned".

Finally, the Soleilmoon EP "Lahore And Marseilles" is sped up and extended into "Lahore" for Mine 3 - that's into thirty-one minutes of chugging rhythms and that fearsome bass again, taken, twisted, run through a noisy spice grinder and dealt out again in coils of spiralled hiss and once-melodic insertions. Queasy may be the word, or staggering, and by the time the track ends in a squitter of accumulated tape-hiss and that same main loop, it almost feels like a trip half way around the world. As a whole Your Mines In Kabul approaches the paradigm of Muslimgauze beat repetition made transcendent; sometimes brash enough but also demanding endurance and immersion.

review by Antron S. Meister
Freq E-zine

The following appeared on Heimdallr.

What a superb sleeve! Staalplaat overworked all over again to offer a magnificent realization of Bryn Jones, always in the same musical style generated since 1998, very influenced by the dub and raga rhythms, mingling the ethnic sounds to the more industrial distortions. This generosity has no limit as there are 3 CDs, accompanied by a remarkable work to the level of the artistic conception of the packing and photographs, on a hardback and slightly rough paper. The first CD contains ethnic sounds based on dub and raga rhythms, while the second one, a lot more interesting, reinforces the work of sound manipulations that Bryn uses, making the music a lot more attractive and varied. The third CD constitutes some kind of a gift, being an extended version of the Lahore track appeared years ago on the "Lahore & Marseille" EP, which is no more available today. The specific sound of Bryn Jones enlarges more and more year after year, widening the impressive palette of this bulimic artist, allying with genius and good taste his pure convictions, for an unequalled result which seems .. unfailing.

Magnificent! A must for all fans of Muslimgauze.

Highly recommended!

review by Stéphane Fivaz
Heimdallr (October, 2000)

see also Your Mines In Kabul, The Inspirational Sounds Of Muslimgauze & Bass Communion vs Muslimgauze EP

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May 26, 2020