Global Music Column – January

Farhot – Kabul Fire Volume 2

For producer Farhot, the cut-and-paste method of sampling in hip-hop serves as an apt symbol for the assembly of his immigrant identity – he sought asylum in Germany from his native Afghanistan in the 1980s and has not returned since. He first made his name with productions for the likes of Talib Kweli, Isaiah Rashad and Nneka that echoed the melodically driven US rap of the early 2000s and particularly the work of DJ Premier and Pete Rock. His first solo release, Kabul Fire Vol 1 (2013), was a scattershot mixtape homage to his childhood home, weaving in dub influences, rattling drum machine loops, Afghani folk samples and features from Kano, Ms Dynamite and Talbi Kweli.

This second volume is more self-assured. Farhot steps out from the shadow of his influences to further explore the nuances of his own heritage. The 13-track album most obviously showcases his Afghani roots on the strings-laden Yak Sher, where Farhot splices in audio from 1980s resistance fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, as well as on Sampling Watan, where he builds a gut-shaking beat around a shrill folk vocal sample, laying out his collaging thesis through the words of the artist Moshtari Hilal, who posits that sampling is a way of celebrating difference by bringing sonic elements of the diaspora together.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 08/01/21]