Mullah Said


"Much like earlier entrants in the subscription series Sandtrafikar, Mullah concentrates on the softer yet still ominous side of Muslimgauze, coming across as meditative, late-night music which still has an understated edge to it all. The title track sets its mood well, with a synth/string arrangement similar to the dominant one from Veiled Sisters, but darker and more subdued, set against a very low-key drum machine beat and gentle interjections of wind instruments and random vocal bits. The first 'Every Grain of Palestinian Sand' ups the tempos slightly, adding more drones and percussion, including a great acoustic performance about halfway in, along with an attractive central string melody. From there the album continues in the same general vein, adding tweaks and changes as it goes. Both versions of 'Muslims Die India' are a bit more active, while still maintaining the same generally dreamy and drifting feeling (the second concentrates a bit more on percussion interplay throughout its quarter-hour length); and the second 'Every Grain' sneaks in more echo and samples of machines into its quiet though intense groove. 'An End' concludes things on an unexpected note, with a female vocalist singing over a combination of bird sounds and percussion breaks -- an attractive way to end a fine record. Mullah Said displays two aspects of the work of Muslimgauze. Firstly, musically, it is in the delightful drifting ambient vein. The percussion is mainly acoustic hand drums -- providing a rhythm of aural features -- the trademark shimmering string sound heard on a number of releases is much in evidence, rhythms are generally slower, there are lots of samples of people speaking in conversation, markets wherever. 'Mullah Said' opens the disc with the lovely mix of these sounds. 'Every Grain of Palestine Sand' continues the mood, with a slightly faster tempo, and more emphasis on the beat. But it soon locks into a mesmeric lassitude as various effects echo or smear the sounds, drums come in for short moments, different string sounds enjoin the play. 'Muslims Die India' follows the mood though the voices seem darker, sadder, and then comes 'Every Grain of Palestinian Sand' followed by 'Muslims Die India.' Yes, not a typo, these tracks are repeated. This is the second Muslimgauze trend -- to remix himself. On a number of releases there are tracks with the same title, sometimes called part 1 and 2, and usually they are about the same length and listening indicates they are versions of the same song. With the two here, the samples occur at about the same time, the instrumentation is similar, and what we get is subtle variations -- different effects, placement of instruments in the mix etc. This leaves us with a 50 minute suite of prime Muslimgauze middle eastern ambience -- if you like that side you will love this album. The final track is short and different, a crackling ground over which a singer chants a song interrupted by machine-gun percussive bursts -- 'An end.'"