Tribute to Muslimgauze (Bryn Jones)

Greetings from the Land of Phrygia…

Our first installment on this blog was blaringly obvious. We are going to introduce you to some of our core influences, along with some background and links to free music.

Phrygia is the brainchild of David M Boosamra, and thus subject to the mindset he imposes upon the “we” of Phrygia – basically a mild schizophrenic association to the third person. That being said, we will continue…

One of the most prolific and mind expanding influences we have ever encountered revolves around the works of the late Bryn Jones, better known as Muslimgauze. The first time we ever heard his music was on a tape that was stolen from a party. The music was circa early 80’s and featured on the “Elephant Table Album”. This compilation was top shelf difficult music, arranged by Dave Henderson, with artwork from Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound). The artists were of such caliber as Bourbonese Qualk, Coil, SPK, Lustmørd, Nocturnal Emissions, Legendary Pink Dots, Nurse With Wound and of course, Muslimgauze.

This music completely shattered our comprehension and position in music, which adhered strictly to hardcore punk and subversive underground at the time. Forced to reckon with a new reasoning and approach to music, these Industrial (sic) / Noise / Minimalist artists set our minds forth on a repositioning of political, philosophical and social understanding. It wasn’t only about despising the system and screaming about it – it also could be conveyed in thoughtful, abstract and completely absorbing avenues as well.

Muslimgauze’s track (Melena Jesenska) stood out from the rest – it contained a dark contemplative verve and of course the hypnotic, almost mathematically perfect beats of Middle Eastern influence, which Bryn performed by hand, then usually manipulated through tape loops, sampling, layers, found sound, etc. The music was so pure and wrenching we had to find more. This prompted an endeavor of searching and collecting music that to this day we still have not fully achieved, and hopefully never will.

Enough about our realization of beauty – see and listen for yourself to the unbelievably massive library of sound that Bryn Jones created here: arabbox.free.fr. One thing that shines about this particular website is they offer a rare and free download of a taped session Bryn created for Steven Wilson (Bass Communion) in the course of a single day in 1996. It’s quite hypnotic and articulates the direction Bryn was heading during that time, but certainly is not fully indicative of all his creations, as they vary from minimal sound pastiches to deafening electro.

This, coupled with the fact that Bryn was an Englishman from Manchester, but totally committed to portraying the atrocities being committed on a completely foreign people (Afghanistan, Palestine, Iran) through their eyes, no holds barred. A dedication such as “Total commitment to the Palestinian cause – all direct forms of action justified…” was not beyond his scope of reasoning. He was and is heralded as a champion of the oppressed and occupied; no other artist we know of dedicated his entire being to causes as he did.

Bryn Jones suffered from a tragic blood immunity failure that quickly ended his tenure on this mortal plane. We are forever indebted to him and his works, which opened unending canyons of thought and creativity. RIP.

article by David Boosamra
Integrated Arts Blog (August 6, 2009)

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