Naujawanan Baidar – Volume 1


Sit yourself under a crimson sun, close your eyes and get lost in your own head as you sway to the mesmerizing rhythms of Naujawanan Baidar. 

N.R. Safi (AKA Nic Rayne), the leader of The Myrrors (one of the top acid rock groups of today, in my opinion) conceived NB as a partial homage to the 1970s Afghan cassettes that he had inherited from his late grandfather (of whom this album is actually dedicated to). So the sound here is a gloriously heady mélange of entrancing middle-eastern folk and droning, lo-fi psychedelic rock.

NB’s Bandcamp page mentions how the album is like if a Krautrock-esque musical revolution were to have taken place in 1970s Kabul.

Kosmische Musik (aka Krautrock) was created by a generation of imaginative, frustrated youths that rejected the influence of Western styles of music as well as the insipid garbage that the German establishment approved of, in favor of a totally new, totally original form of expression. A form of art that they could claim as their own to help point their country into a better direction. Now, when you have this in mind and then consider the general unease and eventual outright ban of most music within Afghanistan during the last few decades, (plus the accompanying rise of secretive underground cassette culture), Naujawanan Baidar’s Volume 1 begins to sound more like a cathartic and celebratory cry of creative freedom. It’s almost as if Safi and his crew have channeled the stifled artistry of his heritage and fed it through a fuzz pedal.

There are several moments all across this album that are simply transcendent. “Asire-e Jangi,” for instance, is a head-spinning cosmic monsoon of smashing tambourines, distorted harmoniums and a whole cornucopia of amplified traditional Afghani/Pakistani instruments. This is a growling, mind-bending jam that’ll easily hypnotize and envelope you completely. 

Each track here has a very improvised yet tight feel to them, with each one seemingly picking up just when the band is right in the middle of a very solid groove. Similarly, every song on this tape could easily sprawl out for an extra 10-30 minutes without getting old. Just imagining this alone makes me hope like crazy that NB will form a touring line-up and play in the US in 2019. . .

Naujawanan Baidar’s psychotropic debut album is certainly one of the most stunning, profound and unique records to have dropped in 2018 (if not this entire decade).

While the cassette of this album may be out of stock at the time of writing, you can still purchase it digitally from Radio Khiyaban right now. If you love Volume 1 as much as I do, then you’d be happy to know that Volume 2 is supposed to appear in the very near future as well




Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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