Muslimgauze – Kabul (Vinyl on Demand, January 2016)

Let’s keep threads running from one year to the next shall we? Just to make sure we never forget about Muslimgauze, this month Vinyl on Demand tried to get us to spend all our Christmas money on separate copies of the Bryn Jones archive rather than the box version we might have hoped to find under the tree back in 2014. One stands out for all in this roll of January’s reissues, and it’s the first, made in 1983: Kabul. This album only very slightly shows what was to come in terms of subsequent output, which remains sonically significant, poised perfectly on the line between bleak minimalism and droney industrial pressure.

Reasons to listen to Kabul if you haven’t already? It’s a strangely ‘light’ foray into old-school dark ambient, a rather classic product of British DIY appetites of the early 1980s and a full, atmospheric album. Yet it never over-encompasses or overburdens; you can do whatever you want with Kabul. Its glacial rhythmic patterns from an imaginary Muslim world that fall over sparse, distorted synths and blurry echoed politician speeches are strong enough to score late night philosophical turns or salutations to the sun; experiments in new dance or political discussions. And whatever exactly Bryn Jones’s solitary aesthetic-political remit was, a conversation about it is probably more significant now than ever. Until the next 500 hours of posthumous archives come out.

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