Recently we were hit by a heavy tragedy and loss.
On January the 14th, 1999, the artist known as Muslimgauze died. His real name was Bryn Jones. Born and bred in Manchester. He was an artist of the highest order.
Bryn contracted a rare blood fungus which ravaged through his system...thus deflating his immune system ... which eventually led to pneumonia. He was being kept at Royal Northern Hospital in Manchester, where after being admitted was transferred from Hope hospital over to Intensive care. His condition was that he did not respond to the treatment... and the anti-fungal agent which would counter-act the fungi did not grow quick enough. The kidney machine which was stabilizing Bryn, had to be switched off, and from there he worsened.
Amongst the many achievements. Muslimgauze was by far the most known, and appreciated. Bryn created over 90 LPs in his 15 years as Muslimgauze and a considerable amount of 12"/7"/MiniDisc/CD/MCD/.... His music was percussion led and told a story dark / minimal / romantic / enlightening / twisted / harsh / brutal / soft / ethereal / ambient / lush / intense... Bryn inspired so many musicians and in turn was on the way to become more and more accepted. I could go on, but it would be better to visit the official web site that long time friend and admirer of Muslimgauze Terry Bennett keeps ... Terry has better info on Muslimgauze then any other site. But for you who don't know Muslimgauze please take a couple of minutes to look at the site and try to appreciate Muslimgauze. Every person I have ever played Muslimgauze to...have become really hooked ....
Muslimgauze were one of the least compromising projects the music industry ever had to deal with. Their music affects their listeners in the same way as their pro-Arabic statements that they've kept distributing for the last 17 years. Their music has been doing the splits between dubby ambientscapes and aggressive world music rhythms. But keep in mind: these are close to empty descriptions when you are faced with the actual sounds! Muslimgauze's inspiration was the Middle East with all its political, religious and cultural conflicts that are embedded in their sounds. Yes, we admit there are some formations and labels on this planet which intend to walk the same path Muslimgauze were wandering on. But they're hopeless and desperate. Muslimgauze are just too powerful. Staalplaat and Soleilmoon left them the freedom they needed to work in secrecy. That is why all standard business strategies were abandoned long time ago. Muslimgauze even seemed to be too powerful for capitalism. Maybe that's the reason why they were getting bigger and bigger.
"Muslimgauze was one of the most prolific artists at Staalplaat. His furious speed of working, and record companies willing to keep up with his speed, was often remarked and discussed. Unlike others, Muslimgauze, in his almost 20 years in the music scene, changed his style a lot. He went from laid back ambient into digital distorted rhythms and back. When he was asked to a do remix, he not made just 1 track, but often presented an hour long DAT, filled with finished tracks, sitting next to ideas and sketches. His constant presence with new releases, next to his controversial ideas about the middle east (or at least controversial to some), and his apparent shyness, made him in a mystical man, remote from the outside world. Even though we may not agree, his passion was ours: good music. The creator died, but his music (which undoubtedly holds more new releases in the future) will continue to live." (Frans de Waard/Staalplaat)
"Bryn/Muslimgauze was sick so I called the hospital and I found out that he had a strange infection and there was no effective treatment, each time when I called he was worse so I had to go over to Manchester to see him but he was heavily sedated and could not respond to anything. All we could do was sit with him and talk to him. I told him, that he had to fight this thing, that we needed him to continue his story in sound, and that this was not in the contract. The next day I heard that they decided to stop his treatment because he was not responding and deteriorating, that his lungs were not working and his kidney was not working and that had only a few hours left. We sat there and held his hand, my legs were shaking and I was crying and I kept saying things to him and looked how he died. I don't understand what happened, but that was Bryn, he kept things to himself and many things were a mystery to me, but that was ok, for his music was the important thing to him and to us. I liked to be with him even if I did not understand all of it. I remember talking with others and they mentioned that the amazing production he had (I got one master a week and he was sending to Soleilmoon too) was because he knew that his live was short. This is possible but I will miss the excitement of getting this package in my mailbox and there was still so much to be done. I will miss him." (Geert-Jan Hobijn/Staalplaat)
"Before I first met Bryn Jones about two years ago, I had expected an aggressive pro-Arabian fighter in combat clothes, or something like this. Fortunately, this wasn't the case. I stood facing a shy and inconspicuous young man whose only interest and obsession seemed to be his musical vision. The very few times we met after that, we never spoke much. Slowly, after getting more and more familiar with his innumerable releases, I became aware of the incredible varieties of his music in style, mood and its sometimes strong and sometimes very tender emotional power that inevitably evolved while listening. And yet, every single second it was undeniably his sound. Slowly I understood that his music was his language in the most direct sense, his most genuine expression he had, that his music was him and he was his music. Having understood this, I can say, as long as I will listen to his sound, he'll be alive to me - and as long as I live I will always find some bits of his music that I haven't heard yet, that's for sure." (Annibale Picicci/Musique Korrekt)
The crew of Chain D.L.K. wishes to thank Muslimgauze for the emotions he brought us and for the stories he told us about. We will never forget him and dedicate him this issue of the 'zine. Finally, since his second name is not Cobain, we hope that all those who have master recordings of him will not use them as a profit-source to exploit. We'd like that all those who have such recordings will return them to his family and will not use his name the they he wouldn't have wanted. Our condolences go out to Bryn's family on this sad day.
article by Marc Urselli-Schaerer
This article originally appeared in Chain D.L.K. Issue #6