Intifaxa

The following appeared in Option.

This is my first listen to a lull-length Muslimgauze album, and I find it as puzzling as it is mind-warping. Seven cuts (64 minutes, with two extra tracks on the 90-minute cassette release), not a voice anywhere, and the sounds are made almost entirely of grating, piercing, shrill percussion. But this is not industrial head-banging: it's a liquid kind of trance noise with the mix inside out. The percussion bullies you up front while every now and then a hint at music creeps up in the background, plays in the back of your consciousness, then vanishes. A few muted keyboards are the closest thing to tonal instruments used here, unless you count the tuning of the drums as tonality (I can't actually pin down a bass line, although the press info mentions it). The ringing, reverberating bells and cymbals may be enough to send the faint-hearted over the edge. These are extreme sounds that creep up your spine and infiltrate your nervous system, conjuring up visions of middle eastern deserts with brilliant percussion and an unsettling sonic mix.

review by Dan Maryon
This text originally appeared in Option magazine (issue # 36).
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The following appeared on Concept.

This album marks the debut of the group on the Australian Extreme label. Directly inspired by the Intifada, a favorite horse of battle for Muslimgauze, it is another classic album and without surprises, therefore successful.

review by Cyrille Sottile
translation by T @ The Edge with the use of Power Translator

The following appears in All Music Guide.

Muslimgauze is a British post-industrial collective with a serious political chip on its shoulder. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, and they do deserve kudos for bravery, since their stance (explicitly pro-P.L.O., implicitly anti-Israel) is sure to offend most of the Western world. But if Intifaxa is representative of their work, it's difficult to see what the group's expressed political agenda has to do with anything the album consists of seven very long, purely instrumental tracks, all of which could probably be argued to have some sort of Middle Eastern influence (mainly in the percussion sound) but none of which deals even obliquely with any sort of political message. That's not a bad thing, mind you. But without a message you're left with nothing but music to focus on, and there's just not much of that here. All of the tracks create dark, ominous moods of various kinds, but what are they meant to portend? "Fazisi" is particularly pointless, and although "Kirghiz" at least provides the first really propulsive beat of the album, it, too, sounds like a long introduction to a musical idea that never materializes. Ultimately, this album is pretty but aimless.

review by Rick Anderson
All Music Guide

The following appeared in K.O.R.T.E.X. Webzine.

Probably the album which best introduces the marvellous, very prolific and late Bryn Jones. Here, there is repetition as in many of the Muslimgauze productions but however, the state of mind, the atmosphere created throughout the album is so intense that it is impossible not to forget this nuisance. The man behind these sounds semi-Arabic, semi-electronic, semi-ambient and semi-industrial is capable of recreating perfectly an event, a situation of the Middle-East, without actual words but the music speaks for itself. The percussions which become more aggressive and unchained. The impression of a sandstorm, a genocide or simply of the size and the beauty of Palestine are reflected very well in Intifaxa. Rather calm and not too aggressive compared to some other albums but here, our friend with the pretty drums which make travel. Only in my room with Muslimgauze, I had the impression to of a court travels in the Middle East, in company of a narrator quiet and eloquent, who proved to me at which point the talent is possible even in the directions of the minimalists.

review by Stephan Gauthier
K.O.R.T.E.X. Webzine
Translated from French with the assistance of Gist-In-Time

The following appeared on Discover.

"Intifaxa" is the first Muslimgauze release on Extreme and the second Extreme publication at all - as it were a milestone, art-historically.

The only constant with Muslimgauze is Bryn Jones from Manchester. Inspired by incidents in the Middle East (Iran/India/Afghanistan/Libya and most of all Palestine) Jones has recorded under the name Muslimgauze since 1983. Its never undisputed - extremely pro-Arab attitude reflects itself particularly in the titles of its releases and in their accompanying song titles.

But we come to the music: With a running time of around 64 minutes seven tracks are on " Intifaxa". That makes an average of nine minutes per song. With Muslimgauze there is however no refrain. That is, the titles are relatively long-winded. The good about Muslimgauze is that it never becomes boring. And that they rarely use melodies in order to move the listener into the spell. It is like an atmospherically dense sound-carpet, that always varies in itself, without the altering the mood. To hear, it sounds as if the samples, percussion, synthesizers and tapes are mixed live. He understands the mixer is a musical instrument and thus enlivens additionally.

"Intifaxa" is energy-loaded, earthy and atmospheric. The individual tracks are exciting and cause many pictures in my head. But not only the head is asked here - with appropriate volume the bass drum solidly digs itself into the stomach-area and imposes the rhythm on the body.

review by Ralf Haarmann
Discover
Translated from German with the assistance of Gist-In-Time

The following appeared in the Cold Spring mail order shop.

The sounds of Arabia are captured in confident rhythms, pulsating bass drum and an enveloping ambience. The musical creativity have progressed over the past decade to become one of the most inspiring sounds of the 90s. The Arabian countries, which are a catalyst for this release, are captured in each song. Such a picture can only be painted by Muslimgauze. "Intifaxa" offers 64 minutes of all new music, seven songs which make a complete album. It is enough to let the music speak for itself. "Intifaxa" is a contemporary vision of world music. Western and Arabic rhythms create a chilling seductive state.

Cold Spring

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

There's an obvious big improvement in sound quality now that they're hooked up with the 'Extreme' label. (Now there's a misnomer if ever I heard one - even Merzbow released an album on this label and it sounds as soft as a freshly made doughnut compared with their other material).
Surprisingly, Muslimgauze were the biggest sellers on this Australian label. Most Muslimgauze sales were in America and Europe. Here in Britain they were sadly ignored.

This May 1991 release still has kickbacks from their earlier works where there is a straight '4 beat' interspersed with lots of Eastern percussion. It sounds nowhere near as aggressive as what would follow from '96 onwards

reviewed by Dobermensch
Rate Your Music (April 24, 2009)

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

I don't know why I enjoyed this much less than United States of Islam, as the albums are quite identical in their approach, but somehow that's the case.

Intifaxa, the first Muslimgauze album that came out on Extreme, is also pretty much entirely percussive like the aforementioned USoI, and it does show a tremendous improve in production quality compared to the previous albums (not like the production on Abu Nidal was bad, though), however, there's just not much going on.
And I really mean there's not much going on. Somehow it's even more minimalistic than United States of Islam - this time there are no vocal snippets, no melodic snippets, virtually no field recordings, it's just percussive patterns and reverberated amorphous noises in the background. And, of course, the trademark bell sound which can be heard on about every third Muslimgauze record. One element that stands out and which I haven't heard on any of his other releases is the phased cymbal, which is quite an interesting production touch. The track Ziggurat also features some interesting work with what sounds like a normal acoustic drum kit hi-hat and crash, not something which you'd often hear from Bryn Jones.

Overall, it's pretty much the ultimate "hypnotising drums" Bryn Jones record. Maybe some will love this stuff, but it's kinda too much for me.

reviewed by muslimgauze_reviews
Rate Your Music (Feb 14, 2018)

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November 4, 2020