Audio Observations: Caravan to Kafiristan

Caravan to Kafiristan – Cataloguing my latest trip to Afghanistan through overheard audio was more challenging this time around, namely because music, played, or listened to is banned under Taliban rule.

Interestingly enough they do allow their own religious music (called Tehranas) which push themes of holly war backed by beats influenced by dub, & modern trap music.

Rules regardless, driving 8, 12, even 14 hours overland into remote regions of Nuristan good road music is a necessity to keep spirits high & eyes sharp.

The Nuristan province was historically referred to as Kafiristan (Kafirs being “infidels”) up until the last of the locals where converted to Islam by force a century ago. As in the past Nuristan remains exceedingly remote, requiring many treacherous hours of off road driving, & steep gains in altitude to reach. Even then each district of the province is isolated from the next by impassible terrain.

Nuristan’s  isolation has kept it largely peaceful during the last 20 years of war, locals will tell you, again & again, they haven’t heard a gunshot in 20 years. The arduous journey was well worth it, yielding some of the most riveting landscapes I have ever seen, & allowing me to finish “Afghan Style”, my first photo book.

More on that later, for now enjoy some road music:

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Audio Observations: Kyiv Bathtub Club

Kyiv Bathtub Club the first in a series of playlists comprised of music collected across my travels. This playlist comes from the last few months spent in Ukraine, with music  stolen exclusively from my friends & teammates there.

  This is my semi-analogue, geographic approach to create audio experiences as documents: collecting music to gain insight, catalogue emotions, & organize memories.

Experience can often change the way I perceive & enjoy music.

Rap makes allot more sense after driving around with some heavily armed fighters in a new Mercedes, marred by bullet holes, while subsiding on gas station hotdogs. Nostalgia for late 90s / early 2000s rock of my childhood has a more natural place in a world gone so violently wrong. In contemporary music the Russian Invasion of Ukraine has been the first war where musical propaganda has been produced, distributed & listened to both ad-hoc & in real time. I wonder if you will get goosebumps from those tracks too?

Lastly, & again, this is a record of my friends & teammates, all veterans in their own way: some of different wars, some of constant war, some of the refugee experience. Music was a way to prepare, to accept the worst, & to forget afterword.

looking forward,


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