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Author Topic: Muslimgauze  (Read 28272 times)
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Zeno Marx
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« Reply #60 on: May 25, 2020, 03:47:43 PM »

I approach each "release" as something where I have the expectation of one enjoyable piece of music, most albums are total garbage save 1 or 2 tracks where he finally hits the mark that he keeps banging his head against, or you get the outlier oddity tracks where he just fucking tries something different, and those are why I listen (besides all the 80s stuff which is far more edited and considered more patiently).
This punishing truth makes it difficult for someone who prefers the album over the single or EP.

He was trained as a graphic designer, it's almost like once he stops worrying about how it looks he just implodes and becomes unable to frame his own work, leaves it in the hands of others and they don't really reduce flow.
An hour or two later, this explanation sank in and hit.  Man.  Thanks for the perspective.
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« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2020, 07:11:15 PM »

Here's a list I put together quite a while back but don't think I ever posted. Just basically whittled down to the ones that still for me retain some redeeming value, sometimes on the basis of a handful of tracks. No insights orders tiers rhymes or reasons, just fun on occasion to blindly grab from the select pile and remind myself that yes I still dig the shiz-

Return Of Black September
Salaam Alekum, Bastard
Observe with Sadiq Bey
Speaking With Hamas
United States of Islam
Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed
Sycophant Of Purdah
Gun Aramaic 1 & 2
Unfinished Mosque
Chapter Of Purity
Kashmiri Queens
Farouk Enjineer
Jazirat-Ul-Arab
Hand of Fatima
Vote Hezbollah
Fatah Guerrilla
Jaal Ab Dullah
Azzazin 1 & 2
Coup D'Etat
Mullah Said
Sandtrafikar
Armsbazzar
Satyajit Eye
Drugsherpa
Hamas Arc
Jebel Tariq
Fakir Sind
Abu Nidal
Silknoose
Re-mixs
Narcotic
Flajelata
Maroon
Intifaxa
Citadel
Bhutto
Infidel
Zul'm
Sufiq
Azad
Hajj
Iran
Uzi

A few- Kashmiri Queens, Farouk Enjineer, Jaal Ab Dullah, Infidel- squeak in literally via one or two tracks I can't quite part with. Never say never.
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« Reply #62 on: June 30, 2020, 07:10:19 PM »

Thinking i'd start from the beginning i picked up Kabul close to two decades ago. Never liked it much. I can't remember which i picked after that, it was either Uzi or United States of Islam. I've played Uzi a couple of times the last two months. And I just can't stand the drums/ryhthmic side of Uzi. The percussion underneath is alright i guess. Curious to hear what others actually appreciate about this record?

I haven't listened to United States in over a decade. But i remember a very monotone 'beat' (4x4?) throughout the entire record which did not please me. I'll give it another spin soon. I picked up Sandtrafikar for cheap some years ago as i had heard good things about it. I haven't played it yet.

Having heard Kabul, Uzi & United States, and feeling no desire to try another one like those, are there other sides of Muslimgauze - completely different from those mentioned in my post? Preferably released prior his passing.
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SILVUM
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« Reply #63 on: July 01, 2020, 01:24:00 AM »

Uzi is pretty mediocre to my ears also, and agreed, the drum machine is what ruins it.  It has 4 decent tracks where the elements work for the goal of like, tension cinematics.  If it was just a 7" of these more atmospheric tracks it would be cool.

Shroud Of Khoumeni Pt. 1
For Abu Jihad Pt. 2
La Palestina Pt. 2
Obeid Pt. 1

U.S.O.I. does have basic 4/4, all the Extreme stuff feels like the dude was trying to get dancier stuff from Bryn.  I only like the Pt.1 and Pt. 2 of the title track, the rest I don't need.  Shoulda been a 12" of those tracks only.  Good sense of depth / element balance, if you're into Basic Channel or pulsing stuff like I am.

There are a few other sides of his work than are represented in those 3 albums, yes.  Roll the dice.

I think Sandtrafikar is great, see if you like that, if it doesn't click, I would stop wasting time.   It's beat focused on the title tracks, basically an extension stylistically of the two good tracks on USOI, so you prob wont like those.  Lots of human voice samples.  The Baku Oil Field tracks are a gritty version of Gun Aramaic style cinematic momentum collage atmosphere stuff, really love these, and one has fast pulsing beats.  And a few of the interlude tracks are great, just sample loops.
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Bloated Slutbag
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« Reply #64 on: July 01, 2020, 09:07:17 AM »

Thinking i'd start from the beginning i picked up Kabul close to two decades ago. Never liked it much. I can't remember which i picked after that, it was either Uzi or United States of Islam. I've played Uzi a couple of times the last two months. And I just can't stand the drums/ryhthmic side of Uzi. The percussion underneath is alright i guess. Curious to hear what others actually appreciate about this record?

Uzi is pretty mediocre to my ears also, and agreed, the drum machine is what ruins it.  It has 4 decent tracks where the elements work for the goal of like, tension cinematics.  If it was just a 7" of these more atmospheric tracks it would be cool.

Interesting criticisms of Uzi and I'd agree, though it's plainly there at the bottom of the list I posted. The first thing I ever bought from Muslimgauze was Abu Nidal, at the recommendation of the the guy at the record shop (who also ran Freedom In A Vacuum - that is to say for me at that time a trusted source). I took it home, played it, hated it, for similar reasons to those outlined above. However, it gradually grew on me...long long after I'd properly got into the project. I dusted it off and the first (title) track I played just hit. So I think for me a good part of the appeal is that it is an important piece of the early puzzle. I'd call Uzi a more abstract rendition of Abu Nidal (and complement to Coup d'Etat). edit but on review yes some of the hard panned percussion on Uzi can distract / cheapen the experience.

One thing about the project- it's hard not to hear bits of everything in everything else. And recordings issued in close proximity tend to have more relative um everything in them than others.
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« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2020, 03:21:53 PM »

Still I had to laugh reading this

Uzi is pretty mediocre to my ears also, and agreed, the drum machine is what ruins it.  It has 4 decent tracks

Four whole decent tracks on a single Muslimgauze album is pretty much automatic contender for indefinite replay value in my book. This may also overlap with what SILVUM said about individual tracks often beating out whole albums. I generally take a traditional albums sort of listening approach but if ever there were a project that should challenge that approach...
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 03:42:13 PM by Bloated Slutbag » Logged

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« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2020, 09:21:59 PM »

S and BS got you better than I think I could.  I'd recommend pretty much anything '87-'94, but I'm mostly a half-full listener with him.  I like everything prior to '87, and a little after '94, but it gets more iffy for the casual or curious listener once you exit that sweet spot.
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« Reply #67 on: July 01, 2020, 11:16:30 PM »

The key is, labels were releasing - demos - where he was unsure and testing things out - AS ALBUMS*.  Another key aspect is that they couldn't tell either.  As with any artist, you need to learn THEIR language, so figuring out what he or anyone is doing is what I find joy in.  Sometimes you realize it was a waste of time, and sometimes it's the only valid use of time.

*Hence albums like Narcotic where they are like 'hey guys we actually edited this one' standing out.

I definitely, because I have no actual friends or interactions besides listening to music, love enduring the crappy albums to find the ONE instance where he hit what he was going after.  So many "albums" are clearly just trying over and over and over again to hit that special combination that he was hearing in his head.  My enjoyment comes from being the detached person in the room being like, yeah man, it was take 7, the other 40 takes were shit.  All in my head, but fuck if it isn't the only thing I enjoy (listening and evaluating, not just his work).

Some examples of FULL ALBUMS where there are only literally 1 or 2 worthwhile tracks.

Izlamic Songs CD
Arab An Dog Curfew Tel Aviv (perfect actual flow vs just one thing forever, like a more elegantly detailed version of the bassy atmosphere tracks from Re-Mixs Vol 3., a slower version of the actual start to finish godcore percussion fest of the fucking Jebel Tariq album where he somehow critical hit every track - IF you like that LOUD open air hand percussion and bass shit.  But this is a slower vibe, and I admit, if you have bug sounds, or you capure a NIGHT atmosphere, I'm swayed.  This track has fucking phases, total journey, the fadeout bassline with the roosters... um, well done my weird dead bro.)
This Is My Palestine (Real talk, this is THE best instance of him getting a vocal sample to actually match the beats - or at least work with them -  and feel like, maybe even a weird form of a hit (in his universe not the radio), but because most people just collect these, besides me and BS and Zeno, nobody mentions this track.  IF YOU DONT LIKE up beat tracks and female vocals, you obviously will not vibe, but if you're wasting time w gauze then yes, this.  Blasted out bass, female vocals, it works.  He even restrains himself from fucking with the voice loop till the end... cus you can tell he knew he HIT IT.)

Iranair Inflight Magazine CD
When I was a teenager, the lists of upcoming releases were.... insane, cus Bryn CLAIMED every single fucking song was based on some political event, so the more weird the title, the more i was like, wait, how the fuck is he gonna hit that target, so when this fucking title showed up, I was like, WOAH, I NEED to hear that.... and it was delayed for years... sadly... it's not "bad" but I think it only HITS as worthwhile music.. on one track.  It's not garbage, but I don't need to enjoy an "album" (demo he made in one sitting) of an hour of my life of a neurotic dork trying to figure out how to match patterns.)
A Small Intricate Box, Which Contains Old Blue Opium Marzipan. (First... incredible album title, incredible track title... Want that fucking box.  I HATE this era, of TOO MANY vocal samples of people talking, and weird like RAW drum machine... Lahore & Marseille was the literally 2nd Muslimgauze I bought and I HATED it... Marseille 2 is the ONLY good track on that shit 2XCD, it looks like shit, I was a dumb kid and it was the only NON expensive import, so yeah, buy that LAST, but this era was not good, BUT this track, it works, he finds the right spacing... it's almost sensual... the intimacy of voices and then the unreasonable boom of the slow beat, it just WORKS... the water pouring... so good, but the rest of the album is fails and weird dumb spoken samples.  I'm not wasting my life listening to a track where a dude repeats "Defecating in a shrine"  Right, cool, yeah, destroy the shrine, but I don't want to hear that dumb statement.  Love the album... like %75 just the title, and then legit JUST this track... CUS he was going down a lame direction here... but this is the target and the one hit.)

Jaal Ab Dullah CD
Possess A Poppyhead (HATE this album, don't care, I'm not into pointless volume shifts and crappy textures, but this track with the weird beat and brief sample and beep, this is it.  FOR what he was going after, and it WORKING, it's this track.  The distortion is about the change of sound vs volume jumps... and yeah, this album sucks.)

Hummus CD
Meze (super short, but it sounds like the atmospheric stuff I like so this track.)
Daughter of the king of china (Who cares about this CD (AWFUL design) except for these 3 tracks... and to MY ears, I like sexy minimalism and textures... THIS is one of the BEST tracks he ever did... just sounds like geometry shifting around... adore this, I'll take the 12 minutes and wish you'd gone longer, you've wasted my time enough, shoulda rode this harder.  Totally great track. hall of champions to my ears.  This is ONE set of things the whole time, but he got it right.)
Daughter of the king of china 2 (male vocal sample vs the femme focus of pt 1, but also cool simple looping geometry, into it.)

Vampire Of Tehran CD
Zurif Moussa (People literally only like this album cus it has a cool Shirin Neshat cover and they can't negotiate that it sucks but looks amazing.  This is a mellow looping beat, he does the annoying stop start shit, but it actually, works here... no annoying pointless volume jumps... and yeah, this album is not good, but this track as an actual worthwhile piece of music, it rules.  Sexy low key beat track.)

Mazar-I-Sharif CD
Sulaymaniyah (Another album with annoying volume shifts, this track works with the vocal sample playing against the irregular distortions and the actually decent beat, but just cus the cover is controversial or whatever people know it, this album sucks.)

Sulaymaniyah CD (You KNOW you can trust these labels, cus this is the fucking Vampire Of Tehran album with MORE tracks and a different name... cus these were demos and not albums....)
Satsuma Tablet (I like this track cus it's weird, a kinda frog filtered beat, it's a very "beat" track, so you have to be accepting that for this to work, but I like how he warped the acid squelch expectation into a slow frog thing, and the samples working around it really nicely.)
Straps Sticks Of Dynamite Around Her Body (Heaviest song title, you can see the moment, and this version is the best.. tense vibe... this is sadly the era he LOVES to stop and have this forceful performed 'reverb' thing, I think cus in a way he doesn't really understand delay and stereo shifting... but then I know he DOES, so it's more of that stuff where he stops and then does an annoying stereo movement delayed signal thing.. I hate when he stop-starts... but he doen't ruin it here, and the subtle dub beat with the insistent string sample... it works.)

Abyssinia Selasie CD
Mind Of A Suicide Bomber (Worthless album, literally the material repeats IN the album, like it plays twice, THAT'S HOW NOT AN ALBUM this shit is.  This tracks is great though, cool beat, well deployed effects and samples, I love when he has micro second blips of female voices and weird environmental sounds, and the dub moves are done right here, but yeah, garbage album with ONE good track.... that does occur twice...)

Your Mines In Kabul 3XCD
Namiki An Wadda (Not kidding, I only like one track on this TRIPLE CD set... THREE CDS... and this kinda fried vocal and beat loop track is all that works. This is that AWFUL Lahore & Marseille shit where he overcooks all the signal in an... interesting but not, well deployed way... and yeah, this is the only tolerable track)


Just a few albums that suck, but if you were like handed a demo and asked what's the best track, these are answers.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 11:50:32 PM by SILVUM » Logged
Zeno Marx
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« Reply #68 on: July 01, 2020, 11:43:47 PM »

I'd have to give this some more thought, but I consider Zul'm to be one of the more cohesive albums.  It sounds like an actual album with a concept and direction; starts one place and arrives at a destination.  Maybe that's why I really think it stands out and surprises me that it doesn't make it on more lists.  I also think the tracks are really good, but it speaks to me in a traditional music way, as an album listener over a track listener.  Not even the early records strike me like this to any great degree, which also might be why it doesn't bother me as much as it usually does that the Coup D'Etat / Abu Nidal CD isn't a complete reissue.  They edited those 12"s down in a smart way, trimming the fat and giving the CD a cohesive feel.

Along with the rest of our conversation about throwing ideas, edits, and demos at a wall, not paying much attention to what sticks and what does not, and putting them together as albums anyway, you get general favorites, like the original Drug Sherpa 3"CD, that skirt all this mess and necessary devotion.

*maybe Extreme gave him some direction, whereas others did not.  I mean beyond looking for a specific style.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 11:46:24 PM by Zeno Marx » Logged

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« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2020, 12:34:24 AM »

Zul'm is great, I think it has pieces that were seminal to his shift to the whole Drugsherpa, Gun Aramaic era that is.. MY FAVORITE...

For Zul'm the GOD tracks are:
Afghan Black (Sense of space, percussive elements that are clearly "human" played (vs robotic timing) mixed with the looping more strict percussion - and honestly unless he's doing one of those brilliant outlier tracks, I need him to be balancing the motorik regularity with human pacing, cus when he's fully robotic it's crap, but this track is immense... obviously a perfection of atmospheric momentum.)
Teheran Via Train (Perfect piece - he is frequently chasing this dragon, the amorphous tonal with the ritual rhythmic.)
Shiva Hooka (Obviously I don't KNOW, but I'd bet engaging in the thought of the successes of this piece led to the - essential perfection of the Hamas Arc style - like, that was an evocative space, I need to go there more.)

Also as an brief note, I love that you bring up Drugsherpa Zeno, it was maybe, like the 5th Muslimgauze I ever got, thank goodness... it's PERFECT, and gorgeous as an object, but it's funny, cus when Staalplaat released the full sessions disc... I don't know why they cut any of those when viewing the overall "curatorial" decisions these labels made.  The Drugsherpa / Hamas Arc / Satyajit Eye / Gun Aramaic [Which is all post Vote Hezbollah - which is the definitive post Extreme...] legion is basically my perfect zone.

For sure I think the way it worked:

At the start he did it all, he was audio and graphics AND cashflow (w that Red Rhino hookup), and thats why the early shit basically rules, a LOT more at stake, see all the VOD reissues listeners.

Then there are a few one offs maybe and then he lands with Extreme, and THAT guy is calling the shots, Bryn gives up graphics and some say and has killer distro, BUT someone is making those critical editorial calls, there's balance.

A few other labels reach out, the first few Soleilmoon and Staalplaat are all maintaining the standard, and Bryn is acclimated to NOT doing the art, and....  - I believe - there reached a label/cost/audience /90s bubble - point - a direct result of lowered production costs allowed for a lowering of standards for production and he reached a point where - once freed of the obsessive obligation of graphics and all other thoughts of costs - he surrendered himself to the sound ONLY, and once immersed in that mirrored vibration world, you get lost.  That's why I like his stuff, it's FULL reveal of the descent into sound - failures and victories. 

I think labels were greedy and it was a toxic relationship, but I like sifting.
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« Reply #70 on: July 02, 2020, 12:41:27 AM »

Also, as a note, even though a huge amount of his work is rhythmic and has beats and is percussion based, I view Muslimgauze as atmospheric political INDUSTRIAL music (see GRIM vs Vasilisk, the world of Martial music), NOT "ethnic" beat music or "world music", which is how I think it's heard and categorized.  This is reliant on what I percieve as his original intention - in creating atmosphere - attempting a shattered document political space approach vs making "dance tracks" - a fascinating window into a time and a level of availability of info on sections of the world.  Obviously there are still "beats" and you could dance, but you can like dance to Skinny Puppy etc, and it's not "dance" music as its primary intent.  Just a vague observation, mainly because as someone who listens to lots of dance music, the beats are not that great for dancing in Muslimgauze, you can tell if someone understands the flow of rhythms for body movement, lots of modern "dance" or rhythmic electronic music is clearly made by people who have drum machines (or really you all have those programs that even when they match up your beats you get it wrong) but don't understand dancing, and that disconnect is there.

Had to edit this cus it didn;t make much sense, and I'm not sure how clear the point is now, might edit later hah.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:29:34 PM by SILVUM » Logged
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« Reply #71 on: July 02, 2020, 08:15:14 PM »

Also, as a note, even though a huge amount of his work is rhythmic and has beats and is percussion based, I view Muslimgauze as atmospheric political INDUSTRIAL music (see GRIM vs Vasilisk, the world of Martial music), NOT "ethnic" beat music or "world music", which is how I think it's heard and categorized.  This is reliant on what I percieve as his original intention - in creating atmosphere - attempting a shattered document political space approach vs making "dance tracks" - a fascinating window into a time and a level of availability of info on sections of the world.  Obviously there are still "beats" and you could dance, but you can like dance to Skinny Puppy etc, and it's not "dance" music as its primary intent.  Just a vague observation, mainly because as someone who listens to lots of dance music, the beats are not that great for dancing in Muslimgauze, you can tell if someone understands the flow of rhythms for body movement, lots of modern "dance" or rhythmic electronic music is clearly made by people who have drum machines (or really you all have those programs that even when they match up your beats you get it wrong) but don't understand dancing, and that disconnect is there.

Had to edit this cus it didn;t make much sense, and I'm not sure how clear the point is now, might edit later hah.


Yes I totally agree, Muslimgauze had a lot of positive feedback in the "danceable music" closest to the industrial scene (like EBM for example) - maybe because of more "groovy" releases like Mullah Said - although I think (and it´s in my opinion pretty evident) he never had the intention to let people dance, rather to put some rhythmic elements in his music. And yes, it´s industrial music at his finest! I don´t own any Muslimgauze album so far but I´m planning to buy the first works, which I like a lot (especially "Buddhist on fire"), and "Mullah Said" if I find a copy for decent prices. I would be very curious to know how he worked on his samples during mixes and manipulation, love the weird "collage" way they sound.
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« Reply #72 on: July 03, 2020, 08:10:24 AM »

Had to edit this cus it didn;t make much sense, and I'm not sure how clear the point is now, might edit later hah.

Oh goddamnit, I liked the original a lot. Now I'm mad. Gotta remember to c-p the next S throwdown to that select file, heh.
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« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2020, 05:07:54 PM »

Not to swerve this great thread, but Silvum's post stuck.  Thinking about industrial vs world music or ethno-X and why Muslimgauze is such.  Wandered to the likes of potentially related with Jorge Reyes, Tuu, Esplendor Geometrico, and traditional Arabic and Indian music.  Not so much the latter, but how can you not a little?  Political or traditional sounds and instruments or electronics...  Muslimgauze should have his own section in stores and personal music collections.  Unto himself, but then I was thinking of albums like Sheikh Aljama.  I've never gotten obsessed with Esplendor Geometrico, but I've tried many times.  Sheikh Aljama is my favorite EG, but I don't think I've ever went from Muslimgauze to that album or vice versa.  Why?  Could we guess that EG was listening to Muslimgauze, but not that Bryn was listening to EG?  They had to be familiar with each other, but did one influence the other more?

from EG's bandcamp:

SHEIKH ALJAMA, originally published only in CD by Daft Records (Belgium 1991). Recorded between 1987 and 1989 and remastered in 2014 (this version) from the original reel to reel tapes. An especially interesting period where the unique and characteristic rhytmic-industrial E.G. style, developed along the eighties, turns more minimalistic, schematic, cold and rough, with sporadic influences of arabic musics and rhythms.

SHEIKH ALJAMA is a Esplendor Geométrico classic and one of the best albums of their whole career, including their hit Sinaya. Sheikh Aljama stands out for the incorporation of sonorities, voices and percusions of arabic influence, due in great measure to Gabriel Riaza, who a few years later would leave E.G. and convert to Islam.
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« Reply #74 on: July 04, 2020, 06:04:28 PM »

Uzi is pretty mediocre to my ears also, and agreed, the drum machine is what ruins it.  It has 4 decent tracks where the elements work for the goal of like, tension cinematics.  If it was just a 7" of these more atmospheric tracks it would be cool.

Shroud Of Khoumeni Pt. 1
For Abu Jihad Pt. 2
La Palestina Pt. 2
Obeid Pt. 1

U.S.O.I. does have basic 4/4, all the Extreme stuff feels like the dude was trying to get dancier stuff from Bryn.  I only like the Pt.1 and Pt. 2 of the title track, the rest I don't need.  Shoulda been a 12" of those tracks only.  Good sense of depth / element balance, if you're into Basic Channel or pulsing stuff like I am.

There are a few other sides of his work than are represented in those 3 albums, yes.  Roll the dice.

I think Sandtrafikar is great, see if you like that, if it doesn't click, I would stop wasting time.   It's beat focused on the title tracks, basically an extension stylistically of the two good tracks on USOI, so you prob wont like those.  Lots of human voice samples.  The Baku Oil Field tracks are a gritty version of Gun Aramaic style cinematic momentum collage atmosphere stuff, really love these, and one has fast pulsing beats.  And a few of the interlude tracks are great, just sample loops.

I couldnt get much from a single track on it. Long time since i played Kabul but i thought that was less bad. The drums was not as bad on it i seem to remember. I've concluded 80's Muslimgauze is not for me. As you said, Sandtrafikar will be the last chance. I listened to 30 secs of Sandtrafikar you youtube before i bought it. Just to avoid getting another weapon. And i liked what i heard.
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