Ali Zarin

Release date: June 30, 2016

With the massive amount of material Bryn Jones had left in the vaults when he passed away in 1999, it’s hard to assess his progression, stylistic or otherwise, over the years. And his reasons for choosing to release one tape’s worth of material over another’s were sometimes as mysterious as anything else about his work as Muslimgauze. But upon stumbling onto the material found on the undated tape known as Ali Zarin, it’s hard not to wonder how it would have been received if it had been released years ago.

The three-part, 43-minute title track (the only part of the material to be given a proper title) makes for some of Jones’ most relentlessly driving work ever. As soundbites about occupation and Israel float in and out of the mix, a series of crashes and scrapes and a distorted beat contort themselves into shapes and patterns, wearing a cracked, scraping groove into the ground. For almost 22 minutes the first part of “Ali Zarin” finds frantic beauty in the dense repetition of these elements; when the sounds remain but shift place and emphasis in part 2, it’s almost shocking. Even more than most Muslimgauze releases, 'Ali Zarin' sounds like it could have come out 20 years ago and be equally contemporary.

Although 'Ali Zarin' could easily stand on its own, that doesn’t mean the rest of the contents of the tape aren’t worth sharing as well. These four untitled demos and a brief “Rest Track sketch” show more directions that Jones could have gone in (but didn’t, at least based on what we know so far), especially the prowling late night ambience and conventional drum kit loop of the first track and the densely looped bass pulses of the fourth track. It just serves to confirm the breadth of riches in Jones’ archive, and make the listener wonder what else we might unearth.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared on Boomkat.

The colossal Muslimgauze archive yields another previously unreleased stone cold beauty in 'Ali Zarin', revolving arounf the titular, 3-part, 43 minute noise-stepper and a brace of biting drum works that sound as though beaten right onto the tape itself.

As with each new archival discovery, 'Ali Zarin' is a revelation for Bryn Jones’s most ardent followers and new listeners alike, and insists that our knowledge of his music is never fully comprehendible thanks to the cognitive dissonance created by time, geography and culture.

At its core, 'Ali Zarin' features 43 minutes of scudding up-stepping rhythms, coming off like Jah Shaka with a faulty 1/4” jacked thru a dodgy sky box tuned to early Al Jazeera broadcasts. The 20 minute first part is brittle, spitting, but anchored in deeply hypnotic bassline which morphs in figure of eight across consecutive parts that emphasise jet engine sounds.

The further parts feature rock breaks - live drums, recorded loud and upfront, and accentuated with salty snare and bass drum distortion for venomous bite - plus his signature, swirling FX geometries and the underwater dub dimensions of "Rest Track".

No doubt this is a definitive addition to any Muslimgauze collection, growing or swelling, large or small.

Boomkat

The following appeared on Bleep.

Staalplaat delivers an absolutely flooring blow with Ali Zarin, a never before heard album from Muslimgauze that features the freestyling forty minute title track spread across both sides of a whole 12" and reveals a side to this most alluring of producers that lands in the space between Jamal Moss, Russell Haswell and the Night Slugs crew.

Having continuously worked hard to unearth and deliver in fully mastered commercial form the vast archive of out of print and previously unreleased work of Mancunian experimentalist Bryn Jones, they have unearthed an entire LP's worth of work that sheds light on Jones's singular spin on jungle, acid, noise, dub and techno, whilst also sounding incredibly contemporary and in many cases pre-dating by decades the work of many producers to which most people would draw parallels with. It is on records like Ali Zarin that we really start to get a glimpse into the truly out there material he was producing night after night in his North Manchester abode.

Based around the forty-three-minute title track, the vibe carved out is a caustic window viewpoint into the raw, edgy noise saturated techno (but we imagine he wouldn't have called it that), and according to those who knew him, he no real interest or influence from what other 4 x 4 bedroom producers were producing at the same time. Built up with a glacial bassline, in the right DJ's hands this will bury any contemporary post-club records in the dirt. It's one of the most arresting Muslimgauze tracks we have come across. Coming backed with four untitled demos that were also on the original cassette, the other recordings act as sketches of wildly different soundscapes that again, don't sound like much else we have heard from Jones before. These live sounding recordings fold in selections of halftime drum & bass and hip-hop tempo rhythms, but with bold studio techniques and tricks they toast an otherworldly feel, quickstepping any sampled cut and paste action with ease.

Ali Zarin is a fascinating document and a must check for anyone with even a passing interest in his music, as well as being one of the very best entries in the Muslimgauze discography. And honestly, we don't say that lightly.

Bleep

The following appeared on FACT.

More crucial Muslimgauze material is unearthed.

While Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze, died in 1999 of a rare blood disease, his cult compositions have found a new audience since his death. 'Ali Zarin' is another release from the seemingly never-ending vault, and according to the Staalplaat label was found on an “undated tape”.

It’s propulsive, distorted and rhythmic stuff, underpinned with deep synth bass and laced with the usual snippets of Middle Eastern music and dialogue concerning the occupation of Palestine. Lead track "Ali Zarin" is 43 minutes long, and the release has been fleshed out with a sequence of short, sharp demos.

by John Twells (July 12, 2016)
FACT

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January 9, 2017