Mustt Mustt

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt


The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is today acknowledged as the great master of Qawwali who popularised this beautiful and inspirational music beyond Muslim peoples to a worldwide audience and into a whole new musical territory. Mustt Mustt shows Nusrat’s willingness to experiment with his music – to strive for new ideas and to listen to new styles – and to create more contemporary albums that could sit alongside the traditional collection.

“This was a seminal album for me and completely changed the face of British music forever … features one of the best remixes of all time from Massive Attack.”
Nitin Sawhney

Originally released in 1990, Mustt Mustt has become a classic.

Available on vinyl for the first time since its original release – 180g black vinyl, with digital download card.

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt


Side A

01 Mustt Mustt (Lost In His Work)
02 Nothing Without You (Tery Bina)
03 Tracery
04 The Game
05 Taa Dream

Side B

01 Sea Of Vapours
02 Fault Lines
03 Tana Dery Na
04 Shadow
05 Avenue
06 Mustt Mustt (Massive Attack Remix)


All songs by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (published by WOMAD Music Ltd) except A3, B2, B5 by Michael Brook (published by Opal Music); B3 by Michael Brook and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; A4 by Robert Ahwai, Michael Brook, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Darryl Johnson and James Pinker (published by Opal Music /WOMAD Music Ltd).

Recorded and mixed at Real World Studios.
Produced by Michael Brook, Engineered by David Bottrill, Assistant engineer Richard Blair, Mixed by Michael Brook & David Bottrill except B6 mixed by Massive Attack.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: vocals
Robert Ahwai: guitar A1, A2, A3, A4, B5
David Bottrill: djembe A1; synthesizer B1; surdu B3; digital edit on the Real World tablet B4
Michael Brook: guitar A1, A2, A3, B2, B3; bass A2; djembe A4; infinite guitar A4, A5, B1, B5; surdu A5; synthesizer B1, A3; percussion A3
Darryl Johnson: bass A1; synthesizer A2; moog bass pedals A4, A5, B2; piano A4; djembe A5; buzz bass B1; clay drums B5
Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan: harmonium, vocals
James Pinker: djembe A1; hairy drum A2; gong bass A3; bongos A4; djembe A5, B5; percussion B2
Dildar Hussein: tablas A2, A3, B2, B3, B5

With thanks to Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Rashid Ahmed-Din, Tabs, Mohammed Ayyub

A Real World Design

Front cover detail from ‘Chant’ by Russell Mills © 1990
Photography by David Buckland (front) & Dave Peabody (back)

Liner Notes

In their Qawwali performances, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party had begun to modify their style to suit the audience. Around the time this album was released the Asian younger generation didn’t bother with Qawwali – it bored them and was too slow. They wanted faster beats. “I made my own style.‘ said Nusrat, ‘We update Qawwali with the times.

Nusrat was happy to experiment on this album – he was always striving for new ideas, just as he was always listening to new styles of music. This, however, didn’t mean Nusrat would stick entirely to modern techniques – traditional albums like Shahen-Shah – also available in this series of vinyl re-issues – and those recorded in Pakistan would continue to be made.

The opening song, Mustt Mustt, draws upon various devotional lyrics about a particular Sufi saint, upon which Nusrat has then improvised. While Tery Bina is a romantic song, based upon the Qawwali style, in which a lover claims: “I cannot live peacefully without you for even a moment. I miss you terribly when you are away.”

These are the only two songs with actual lyrics; the rest are classical vocal exercises in which the words have no meaning but are used for the quality of their sound. These notations are selected to fit particular ragas. The generic term for them is tarana, of which there are many different kinds.

Music is an international language,” said Nusrat, pointing out that words are unnecessary to appreciate his music.

Producer Michael Brook emphasised that they had no real communication difficulties. “You have language problems, but in fact you need a very simple vocabulary to talk about music if you’re playing it.‘ He was surprised by ‘the mutual enthusiasm of Nusrat and all the musicians. Everyone was excited there really was a collaboration and that’s all we could have hoped for…

Instruments from different continents were used, like the big Brazilian drum – the surdu, and the Senegalese djembe, alongside Indian tabla and harmonium, plus bass, keyboards and Michael’s invention, the ‘infinite guitar’. The project also mixed musicians from different cultures. Michael from Canada, Nusrat, Farrukh and Dildar from Pakistan, Robert Ahwai culturally West Indian, Darryl Johnson from New Orleans, James Pinker from New Zealand. As Michael pointed out, “Although is wasn’t painless – it worked.

“I’d really hoped we could show a more delicate side of Nusrat’s singing. I love all the fireworks and the heavy metal solos that he does, but I thought it would be nice to bring out a slower, more introspective component”Michael Brook

Different tracks came about in different ways. Fault Lines was changed a lot after it was recorded, with the basic pattern becoming a small part of the track. Sea of Vapours, like other tracks, had the ‘infinite guitar’ added afterwards because of time constraints. By contrast Avenue has everyone playing live. The Game started from a drum pattern donated by Peter Gabriel. Tracery has nine beats in one cycle and eleven in another cycle. “Nusrat liked the challenge of that. He is an amazing musician. The whole chorus line fits perfectly and feels very natural. The palette he has to choose from is mind-bogglingly large,” Michael commented.

When the melodic phrase of a Qawwali, or devotional song, is repeated, it conveys the meaning of the accompanying lyrics even when the words are not sung. “A lot of the tracks were much longer so we shortened things, cut phrases out, moved the voice around, repeated sections and joined sections together.” This is where the only problem arose. “We made some edits that were not acceptable to Nusrat, because we’d cut a phrase in half – sometimes there were actually lyrics that we made nonsense of. Sometimes even though they were just singing Sa Re Ga we had interfered with the meaning of the phrase.” A compromise was achieved – important lyrical phrases were restored without losing the musical structure Michael had developed.

So a halfway point was reached between east and west in songwriting, in performance, and in attitude.

(Drawn from interviews by Helen M. Jerome)

“You don’t have to understand the foreign tongues to appreciate the ecstatic quality of Nusrat’s voice, as he chops up words and phrases in long, flowing linest. As a bonus, the reissue includes Massive Attack’s famous trip-hop remix of the title track, which became the first record sung in Urdu to make the British charts” Hi-Fi Choice – Real World Gold (UK)

“A beguiling mixture of electronics, harmoniums and tabla, Brazilian percussion, Guo Yue’s Chinese flute, guitar and the master’s soaring vocals.” John Clewley (UK)

“This was a seminal album for me and completely changed the face of British music forever … features one of the best remixes of all time from Massive Attack.”
Nitin Sawhney

About the Artist

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is one of the key artists on Real World Records and certainly one of the most influential. His voice is universally recognised as one of the great voices in musical history and he was key in bringing the Qawwali music tradition to the Western world.

Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in areas with a historically strong Muslim presence, such as southern Pakistan and parts of North India.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s legacy has enraptured millions across the globe with his magnificent and haunting voice. In his lifetime he collaborated with many Western musicians, including Peter Gabriel, Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook. His vocals appeared on soundtracks to films directed by Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Tim Robbins.

‘Seminal’ is a word which often gets overused when describing great works of art but it is directly applicable to two of the albums he recorded for Real World Records, both of which were collaborations with Michael Brook: 1990’s Mustt Mustt and 1996’s Night Song.

It was the late American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley who, in 1993, described Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as ‘my Elvis.’

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: 1948-1997

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