Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed

The following appeared in Noise From The Spleens Of Space.

Ah, witness the return of my favorite purveyors of 'ethno-ambio-organo-whatever' music... In my opinion, the music of Muslimgauze works best in the longer tracks and records; I groove better with the long, slow suites of 'Veiled Sisters' than the albums full of short, dissimilar tracks like 'Citadel' or 'Zul'm.' And thus I love this one - 70 minutes divided into 4 tracks of beautiful mellow eastern-style music. The tracks here tend to build as they progress, starting with a percussive base, then mixing in the samples and keyboards slowly, always emphasizing that beautiful hummmmm that makes it for me. This disc also tends to be less sample-heavy than the previous work, that is, you don't have sudden bursts of Arabic people screaming at you... which is good. Nothing ruins your enjoyment of a good drone more than someone yelling "jihad! jihad!" So, yes, this is excellent - limited edition of 1,000.

review by Grievous
Noise From The Spleens Of Space

The following appeared in NHZ.

Muslimgauze, reviving the enlightened strength of his past vision ("Zul'm". "United States of Islam"), reveal to us in whispered words the celestial beauties of gardens sprinkled with water streams. The lyrics, jumped at like puffs of spirits, take on the strengths of traditional instruments and ethereal atmospheres in order to describe the inexpressible. No crack in this oneiric transcendence. Only remains the sublime of the moment.

review by Nicolas Prevel
NHZ Magazine (April, 1995)

The following appeared on Concept.

Without doubt there are numerous of you that have broken contact with Muslimgauze since :"Vote Hezbollah". Did the ever-present electronics of "Veiled Sisters", "Infidel", "Blue Mosque" and did the buzzing of "Hebron Massacre" put you in mind of the bumblebee? Are you hungry for something more like "Zul'm"? "Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed" is for you... Resuming the percussive impetus of "United States Of Islam" or of "Satyajit Eye" and the unique structures of "Zul'm", "Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed" harkens back to this style of Muslimgauze!

All begins with the Sadhu, 22'33 of traditional rhythmic crescendo, fanatic voices and drum foundation. Die-hard, powerful. Following is Shaheed where he delivers to you more than 9'00 of near-oriental atmosphere, voices and echoes, rhythmic parcels and short rises of volume. Fantastic. Then comes a very Arabic piece (Mosaic Palestine) offering a rhythm of sitar and percussion, of almost constant dialogues and the last layer of percussion improvisations. To be listened to at full volume! To finish in beauty, Ayodhya Skin and Stone, a theme of 30'00, starts with 3'00 of electronic melody before sinking, for our greater pleasure, in an ode of 27'00 that intermixes the non-stop Zul'm-esque rhythmic impetus with short atmospheric beaches. The nail of the album.

Recorded in the Mosque of Abraham in Manchester, this album is an inescapable classic!

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

The following appears in All Music Guide.

Unexpectedly released by Muslimgauze on French label T4 after almost exclusively working with Soleilmoon and Staalplaat for some time, Shaheed is no idle one-off. It contains some impressive work even by the band's standards. Consisting of only four tracks, Shaheed showcases Bryn Jones' ability to create lengthy, detailed compositions. Continuing the tradition of impressive album openers, "Sadhu" is a 22-minute monster which takes the basics from many Muslimgauze songs, Arabic percussion, droning keyboards, and heavily echoed, dub-styled production, and stretches them even further. The obsessive focus on rhythm at the heart of Jones' work really comes out here, especially over a series of build-ups and sudden halts within the song as it progresses. "Shaheed" mixes hard-to-interpret vocal samples from what sound like a variety of Arabic speakers with a clipped, sharp rhythm push. "Mosaic Palestine" could well be what its title says it is, given all the various samples at play in it, though no exact source is noted for any of them; the core musical track is an attractive, minimal arrangement of stringed instruments and various beats and bells. "Ayodhya Skin and Stone" closes things with a near half-hour effort, often using the shimmering synth string/light percussion combination familiar from releases like Veiled Sisters. Here, however, the drumming is live rather than machine-generated, and its intensity changes, rises, and falls throughout the song. Adding more heavily echoed samples and removing or altering the organ tones from time to time results in an often disturbing, murky composition which, while still recognizably Muslimgauze, has its own unique appeal to it.

review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide

The following appears here!

Four tracks of extended Muslimgauze magic - from the middle-ish melodic period.

'Sadhu' opens with 22 minutes of echoed percussive rhythm: not really dubby, but very playfully deep. The main parts are drums, bells, voices and harmonium. These swirl and change to a climax, then it drops back to voice and a slow echoed harmonium which rebuilds, less manipulated before another drop back to metallic percussion and a voice. At the other end of the album 'Ayodhya skin and stone' is another extended spin off from Veiled Sisters - the opening is the string section processed to become a shimmering screen, with the strings forming out of it, to come and go throughout this 30 minute trip. Voices talk throughout, drumming rises and falls, harmonium recurs and echoes, entrancingly. Both these tracks have a 'live' feel to them as they shift and change pace and structure - rather than the minimal changes see on some later longer tracks, the variations here are extensive and beguiling.

Between these longer tracks two more focused pieces. 'Shaheed' continues with the echoing, perhaps taking it even further, with bangings and voices emerging and mixing. The pace is slower, backed by ringing tones, with some synth burbles which could be gated. The mesmerising minimalism emerges in 'Mosaic Palestine' which is based on a percussion and string loop with a solo drum playing over - less echo and more repetition here, and various samples fed through, including a familiar horn at the end.

A strong rhythmic and melodic album, the length of the tracks has allowed Muslimgauze to develop and vary the pieces. Different enough to make it worth picking up if you can find it.

review by Jeremy Keens

horizontal rule

Back Muslimgauze

Click back to go to Press Releases/Reviews Index or one of the links below for an individual release page.
Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed  Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed (re-issue)
February 1, 2017