Madrass Sitar Burner
The following appeared on An Adventurer in Text.
Madrass Sitar Burner harbours Muslim-world East-Indian/Pakistani flavours as well as North African/Middle Eastern into what could be described as among the more 'jumping' Muslimgauze releases in the oeuvre. Curiously, sitars surface on only one track, perhaps reduced to ashes before further songs could be composed. Masters for Madrass... were submitted by Bryn Jones to Staalplaat in 1998, while Muslimgauze music was well into the dancehall-reggae-dub-cum-noisy-distortion phase. Those who wish to place the album in the overall context of the discography can do so among the 'ethno-electro' (where traditional music is walked through a hall-of-mirrors of effects, deft panning, then dubbed-out into staggered bits) alongside Silknoose, Uzbekistani Bizzare And Souk, Lo-Fi India Abuse, and Alms for Iraq. Madrass... opens with simmering tablas, the mridangam and santoor for several tracks before the listener is transported to remote dusty villages of North Africa to experience both spirited and serene reed flutes that negotiate through high-voltage electronic rhythms. It is the rhythms that are the most pronounced element of this release as molten, toxic waste bass lines and tectonic strength beats both seep and clamour either like a force of nature or post-apocalyptic fall-out. The non-Indo tracks are familiar as parts were previously released on Dar Es Salaam while one track is straight off the Nommos' Return 10". Jones was not always patient when certain tracks were not released soon enough to his liking and consequently were sent elsewhere without notice. The balance remains dangerously sharp unreleased gems ideal for the dance floor provided a sound system is robust enough to channel the sheer force of Muslimgauze. Despite the near-overwhelming rhythms and bass-ethnic elements along with voices from outskirts of Lahore and Bedouin caravan routes persist like determined insurgents against 'Western occupier' styles. To harness this raw power and beauty, Staalplaat recruited Germany's surpassing audio engineer, Rashad Becker who specially mastered and spanned these tracks over two pieces of virgin vinyl. Track listings on the inner circles are inscribed in Bryn Jones own handwriting no less. Madrass Sitar Burner is for Muslimgauze completists who want an artefact and new fans who want to hear an artisan put grime and dubstep proponents to shame.
review by Ibrahim Khider
An Adventurer in Text (July 12, 2009)
September 19, 2020