Abu-Dis

The following appeared in the &etc newsletter.

In the year or so before his death Bryn Jones was working on re-mixes of various artists (largely associated with Law and Auder records) for Martin Lee-Stephenson. These have been compiled onto this double disk, and provide us with another angle on Muslimgauze particularly his relationship to others music. Again, I haven't heard any of the originals, so can't relate how far they have moved from their source, but will relate them rather to the Muslimgauze sound(s).

A first impression, which lasts, is that there is a lot of Muslimgauze in here - the rhythms are created from loops whether of percussion or fragments, there are quite a few tracks which feature trademark stop/starts or dropouts, some dubby aspects (related in some cases to the originals I should guess) and an interest in how to end a track, with many crackling and fading out.

A Moondog track opens the album with a classic Muslimgauze sound - strong, harsh beats, rapid percussion, a vocal loop and a dubby organ, and some synth sounds erupting here and there. The title 'Loaded guns for Iraq' is, as with all of these, Muslimgauze's own and reflected in Moondog's second track (on Dis - there are two tracks from most artists) 'This gun is still bleeding loaded' which is like a slower, dirtier version of the first. 'Hard rest' and 'More hard rest' from Talvin Singh are respectively a long slow Indian/Middle Eastern (sitars, tabla, drones) extended gentle piece with some vocal loops and a slight edge, and short more minimalist piece. In the longer one Muslimgauze mess around nicely with the loops and parts.

While Singh shows Muslimgauze working in a recognisable way with some new sounds, Pearl's 'Open sesame' is a dark minimalist ambient piece, unlike much in the catalogue, except perhaps 'Azzazin' - a metallic droning tone, occasionally modulated runs through with strange eruptions. 'Tongue knife' is more recognizable, one of those pieces where there is a fast looping of drums and horn which is presented low in the mix, and at random moments either the volume switches suddenly to full or another distorted piece jumps on the top, almost as if there is a loose cable which lets the full sound through now and again, and the volume's set wrong. A couple of darker pieces.

Which are needed to balance the 'Infinite luke warm vibe II and III' - number II has a cracked record loop as a basis and a beat created from short looped samples, there's some distortion, a bit of vocal, and mainly an ambient techno feel, taken further by III with more clicking loops and a smooth organ creates almost melodies. Definitely smooth. Apollon have a single long track - 'We two are none/Tangier box' which return us to more familiar ground with some handy drumming and long tones, a few horns, but overall a fractured beat; some synth organ riffs enter midway, and overall the Middle Eastern feel is strong.

'Each tear (of Fatima)' and 'Tears for Allah' see a couple of strong tracks created from Spooncurve full of familiar drumming and sitar complemented by western vocal loops 'each tear' and 'drowning in my tears' respectively. Another excursion into a more industrial feel with Oyster's 'So so' with mechanical rhythms and a metallic pulse touched by a sliding string motif, all taken through some echo-dub tricks. And finally 'Abu' ends with 'The avantgardist' an extended and complex track from Doppler 20:20 shifting through a dense drumming with angelic vocals, dropping right down to a simple rhythm, a dubby bit, solo drums, before a long crackling end. Doppler 20:20 appear on 'Dis' with a mix of rapid Muslimgauze percussive elements and a surface bloopy melody which slowly increases pace as 'Small steps to Palestine' develops.

Three bands appear only on 'Dis' - V-Neck with a very dubby forcefully Muslimgauze 'Jam jarr', Force of Angels whose 'Dune' is a relaxed static piece with a vocal over some unusual loops of drums and white noise pulses. And finally a very gentle looping of sitar, thumb piano and drums in 'Devabansha' drawn from Makyo/Bill Laswell which has a larger cycling form built into it.

In many respects this album seems to be a mirror image of 'Occupied Territories', the Staalplaat album of Muslimgauze tracks remixed. Where that album is Muslimgauze distorted through the lens of the remixer and revealing some of both, here we see some of Muslimgauze being poured into these other moulds. It is like Muslimgauze caught out of the corner of your eye, seen in some unfamiliar places, but recognisable. It is interesting to hear the variation from quite strongly Muslimgauze to those where the musical components are quite different to what he would normally work with. This is not as weird an album as the Species of Fishes, nor a collaboration like those with Bass Communion or Rootsman, but nonetheless a very interesting collection of tracks offering some great listening. Included on the second disk are four Quick Time files (of the same piece for different platforms). A silent video shows Jones sitting in a group, a drum on his lap, playing with his hands and a thick stick. Placing the video in time is uncertain - suggestions have been as broad as late eighties to late nineties. Whenever, it is a slightly spooky feeling, and strange to see such footage of so private a person. A sensitive addition.

reviewed by: Jeremy Keens
originally appeared in &etc 3.9
Reproduced by permission.

The following appeared in The Wire.

Rumours persist that the late Bryn Jones aka Muslimgauze can't be dead but only sleeping. Well, death has done little to slow done the phenomenal release rate of unheard Muslimgauze material. This time round, his spirit is resurrected through a double set of Muslimgauze remixes by the likes of Talvin Singh, Pearl, Moondogg, Spooncurve and Makyo/Bill Laswell. For those have never fully got to grips with his vast back catalogue, this compilation of past collaborations could well be the 'access all areas' pass you've been waiting for. Here Moroccan street market samples jostle for space with Techno, big beats and densely packed electronic glitching to create an absorbing new digital Esperanto. The resulting aural hallucinations come across like a Jack Smith film for the ears.

review by Edwin Pouncey
This text originally appeared in The Wire magazine (issue # 209).
Reproduced by permission.
The Wire on-line index.

The following appeared on The Chickenfish Speaks.

I first came to appreciate the music of Muslimgauze while working at WYSO. His songs were very ambient percussive with Middle Eastern flavorings. They were brilliant. Sad to say that Muslimgauze passed away, however, he did leave us with the armload of re-mixes that make up this album that he was working on at the time. While the music on this release varies anywhere from a little to a lot of what I've heard in the past, it’s still a solid release. With 17 tunes spanning two CD’s, Muslimgauze manages to expand on his already awesome style. The ability to take the music further is one of the signs of a great artist.

review by Mite
This text originally appeared on The Chickenfish Speaks.

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Back Press Release/Reviews Index Release Information Muslimgauze
September 6, 2010