Special for El Universal

Caracas. - The taciturn nature of Bryn Jones always contrasted with the frantic musical activity that under the mantel of Muslimgauze he had developed during more than 15 years, anchored in Manchester, England, almost anonymous. The past January 15 pneumonia deprived us forever of one of the most fruitful and creative artists of the century.

After experiencing the solitude of several years with synthesizers, tapes and several percussion instruments, the definitive decision of making music was inspired by a particular event in the recent history of the Middle East: the invasion of Lebanon by Israel in 1982. From then on they have published more than 90 different works by Muslimgauze, each one of them inspired by a fact peculiar to the Middle East, accompanied by provocative designs and aesthetic packages.

The intention of Bryn Jones was always one of establishing its own sense of the injustice and the suffering, in this case, of the Palestinian. In spite of their sympathy for the Muslim faith, Jones was never a practitioner or activist, and his support was only of conscience, working as its only and consequent muse. His attitude of staying in a continuous darkness was as fatalistic as its belief in that the Palestinian conflict will never be resolved: ' my music is not political, although the process to conceive it and to make it are; it is influenced politically, but it is not a sermon, for that reason it doesn't have words, Bryn Jones admitted in 1995.

Paradoxical and surprisingly, most of the sales of Muslimgauze come from United States, a country whose government, a secret from no one, have managed a kind of vendetta toward the Arab world. Published initially in an independent way, the music of Muslimgauze has received the support from three of the more interesting record labels of this decade: Staalplaat (Holland), Soleilmoon (USA) and Extreme (Australia), thanks to these some of their most attractive discs have been published: Intifaxa (1990) and Citadel (1994) by Extreme; Iran (1989), Betrayal (1993) and Mort Aux Vaches by Staalplaat; Abu Nest (1992), Hezbollah Vote (1993), Veiled Sisters (1993) and Lahore and Marseille (1998) by Soleilmoon.

From industrial ragas to ambient dub, the sounds ethno-percussion to that of techno, Muslimgauze always knew how to fuse the modern technology with the ancestral sounds based on the repetition, to create one of the most honest, enigmatic, ritualistic and particular chapters of the contemporary musical history.

article by Juan Carlos Crossbow
This text originally appears on El Universal (Thursday February 11, 1999)

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