Hummus

release date: January, 2002

The first posthumous exploration of noise, beats and sound from this legend since "Sufiq" in 1999. Wonderful variety of what he did best. Fast and furious dancefloor tracks next to ebbing guitars next to noisy repetition and distortion. Spreads on thick.

Press release from Soleilmoon.

The following appeared on the Islamaphonia 2 mailing list.

Despite the fact that this list seems to have lost interest in new Muslimgauze stuff I thought I would report on the new Muslimgauze CD from Soleilmoon.

Bit of an odd one this one. It comes in a simple white digipak with yellow text - on the front cover is a part of a poem laid out in columns. The font is very Western - non of your usual Muslimgauze/Eastern stylings here. To be honest the overall effect is a little cheap. The cheap feel is continued when you realize that although the back lists 19 tracks these are some distributed across 5 CD tracks - including one track that bridges the end of CD track 1 and the start of CD track 2.

Fortunately the music more than makes up for the shoddy production. The music is a mix of the fucked up beat driven and fairly upbeat smooth (but still beat driven ambient). The sources are more Western but there are some Oriental feeling parts as well. At one point in one of the more distorted tracks I could swear there is a Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) guitar part being shredded.

This CD has a fresh feel to it - as though Bryn was stretching his wings and considering the horizon. His production skills are completely under control here and you feel he could go anywhere he likes - all of which make his untimely death even more tragic. I suspect that despite the torrent of work we didn't get to hear what Bryn was really capable of given many more years to grow and develop.

Only time will tell but I suspect that this will be a firm favourite amongst Muslimgauze releases for me.

review by Mark Williamson
Junklight

The following appeared on the incursion music review.

Two new releases from the near infinite arsenal that is the Muslimgauze archives, one from Soleilmoon and one from Staalplaat.

Hummus comes crashing out of the gate with the track "Zebb ul ala el din," a pummeling number that is relentless in its attack. As with a lot of the later Muslimgauze releases, it's all about the beats and the shock value, and this release is no exception. Very plain packaging contrasts with the jumbled distortion of many of the tracks here. Unfortunately, Hummus is a disappointment: it takes too many turns, and is unable to lay a solid foundation as an album proper. I can see this as a collection of experiments gone awry, as there is just no flow to the proceedings. Early in the disc, a 12-minute number steals the show: it's a fluid, languid piece called "Daughter of the king of china", and is quite unlike anything Muslimgauze has recorded before. The sound is distinctly Oriental, which he rarely concentrated on, and it's a welcome excursion here. What follows are many short pieces that are unable to further develop that same atmosphere that so dominated the early portion of the disc. We are left with an empty feeling upon its completion.

Contrast that with Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip, which is a superior disc by all counts. Not only is there a consistent flow to the tracks, the production itself seems to be of a higher quality. Here, Muslimgauze has produced a more "cinematic" version of his music. Long passages of filmic dialogue traverse over the sparse beats contained within, and the results are mesmerizing. This is perhaps the strongest disc since 1997's excellent Narcotic. Perhaps it has to do with the presence of John Delf, who engineers three of the tracks here. He had worked with Muslimgauze on a lot of his more acoustic recordings. The title track a mystical blend of reverberating strings and a steady break beat, with peacocks calling softly in the distance and live drumming played over top of it all. The results are irresistibly magical. Tracks that follow settle into the more ambient terrain that was explored on Gun Aramaic, but soon after comes a most energetic number called "Jerusalem Artichoke." Perhaps the only misstep on the disc is the track "Rent a Hookah," which has a more abrasive construction. The closing number, "Balti Utensil" is a staccato excursion that will prick up your ears before settling towards its dubbed-out final moments.

I know there are still more Muslimgauze discs slated for release this year, which is phenomenal since it has now been over three years since Bryn Jones passed away. With the situation as it currently is in the Middle East, it seems quite portentous that a flood of Muslimgauze music is set to hit us. If we can have more discs like Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip, the releases will be a fitting soundtrack to a situation Jones was so resolute in bringing his (and our) attention to.

review by Vils M Santo
incusrion.org (issue 051, April 2002)

The following appeared on the Islamaphonia 2 mailing list.

Another excellent Muslimgauze release that seamed to get overlooked and forgotten about due to the artwork.

To me.... it is honestly one of Muslimgauze's best works. Instead of having a constant 'theme' (musically) or 'vibe' continued throughout the whole disc (Betrayal, Maroon), Hummus is all over the place. Every new track completely disconnected from the last
track. very, very clean and professional production, doesn't have that bedroom studio feel to it at all. No idea when he recorded Hummus but it fits in pretty close with Zuriff Moussa, Jaal Ab Dullah (both 1997) and Sufiq as far as how he carries out the album, NOT that it sounds similar to them. Zuriff Moussa/Jaal Ab Dullah have a lot of hip hop influences in them, Hummus has more house/club/techno traits popping up throughout it.
As with Uzbekistani Bizzare and Souk, Hummus has a couple tracks that are so 'clean' that they could get played at a dance club and not raise any eyebrows, but it also has tracks that begin with small quiet ever repeating loops that swell into giant distorted monsters. Hummus explores many, many of Muslimgauze's diverse musical persona's. to me.....

Hummus is overall a very 'strong' Muslimgauze release and a definite 'keeper'.

review by Grady Brown
Islamaphonia 2 Mailing List

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

This one's a real whacked out cacophony of beats, electronics, vocal samples and digital meltdown. For all the folk who think that Muslimgauze albums sound the same - try one from the eighties then stick this on. The difference is huge!

Every track appearing here bears no semblance to the last unlike most Muslimgauze, who usually stuck to one theme throughout any particular record. The whole album darts about all over the place, and track 3 - Margana Jar - is so annoying it's superb, with it's repetitive vocal sample chopped to bits between electronic bloops and bleeps. it nearly made me crash my car driving home from work on a country road!
Every album they released in the mid to late nineties got angrier, more furious and more distorted. Almost like he knew it was a battle against time before he died - hence the huge number of records released in his last couple of years. Definitely in my top 10 Muslimgauze. Great stuff. (Shame about the cover)

reviewed by Dobermensch 
Rate Your Music (April 23, 2009)

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

Don't judge an album... by its cover. At least not superficially.

Let me start this review with a bit of background on the sleeve text:

As waves upon my head the circling curl,
So in the sacred dance weave ye and whirl
Dance then, O heart, a whirling circle be.


This is in reference to the great Sufi mystic and poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi and his relation to the Mevlevi Order of the Whirling Dervishes, popular for the Islamic cultural practice of Sufi whirling associated with the Sama ceremony. An important part of what defines the meditative purpose of this form of worship is the significance of music and dance, characterized by repetitive circular movements that result in a trance-like state.

Seasoned Muslimgauze listeners are surely familiar of the words I emphasized here—they are appropriate descriptors for Bryn Jones' music, and this album simply utilizes these elements to their best. The presence of his repetitive yet meditative and enchanting trademark sound evidently permeates the record, in the same way these attributes manifest in Sufi whirling dances.

However, the similarities end there: Hummus has to be the most disorienting Muslimgauze release I've ever heard so far. It is very discordant, wacky, noisy (love the use of distortions here), and quite unpredictable—Marijana Jar, Shahrazad, Hari Hari, Jumeira Sandpaper, and Bethlehem is Free are my favorites—but it still manages to be mesmerizing, lush, gorgeous, and subtle in some ways, especially more evident in beautiful cuts such as the two "Daughter of the King of China" tracks and the more atmospheric ambient pieces like Al Kimia, Lapis Lazuli, Meze, and Serez and Zafroon. While a lot of Jones' albums are content with sitting back and being more immersively "monochrome" as the tracks blend with each other, Hummus comes at your face with its "chaos", and yet it still succeeds in maintaining some consistency. It has one of the best mixtures of vocal samples, glitchy, industrial electronics, and characteristic rhythmic percussions that you can find in the Muslimgauze canon, and it is also one of his most varied and most melodic outputs.

I now consider this to be an essential listen if you want to delve more into his discography, and definitely my #1 Muslimgauze release at this point. Unfortunately, while the context behind the Rumi quote is apt and representative of his work, the album cover's design leaves so much to be desired.

This is quite probably why it remains underappreciated and why people ignore this in favor of his other releases. Somewhat embarrassingly, I have to admit that this is what's keeping me from giving this 5 stars (no, not really). Don't sleep on this.

reviewed by murakamitype 
Rate Your Music (January 1, 2020)

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

Another favourite.

This one mainly consists of abrasive, noisy palettes created using the staple eastern drums. these tracks are really cool and definitely some of the best he's done in this style, and this already good album is lifted one step higher by the absolute best Muslimgauze track in my opinion, "Daughter of the King of China".

Seriously, I beg you to check this track out. It's a 12 minute ambient masterpiece, equipping an absolutely breathtaking beautiful melodic and percussive loop to create a truly unique ambient soundscape feeling like watching some kind of festive celebratory dance. Bryn seriously never made anything quite like this song, and it is absolutely his magnum opus in terms of single songs in my opinion. It's weird too, even though it feels so different to all the others on here, it just fits. Like it doesn't feel out of place whatsoever, and this makes it all the more admirable to me.

The other tracks are also great, stuff like Marijana Jar, Jumeira Sandpaper and Bethlehem is Free are excellent examples of Bryn's more abrasive and power noise-inspired output and also make this album absolutely worth a listen. Just an insanely consistent and great noisy record which happens to contain the best Muslimgauze track in the middle of it. Very strange yet still amazing.

Not the most accessible, but by all means worth checking out especially as an intro to the noisy side of Muslimgauze's work.

reviewed by StoneInFocus
Rate Your Music

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November 4, 2020