Alms For Iraq

release date: January 11, 2003

Bryn Jones, AKA Muslimgauze, recorded this album in December 1995, just three years before his early and unexpected death at the age of 38. The master tape he submitted ran over 77 minutes, which meant two minutes had to be edited out to make this 75 minute CD. Todd Chatalas at Northwestern Inc. did such a masterful editing job you can’t tell anything’s missing.

In the last years of his life Bryn acquired as much of the latest technology for his home studio as he could lay his hands on, and the advances and developments in his music reflected his growing proficiency with his new equipment. “ Alms for Iraq” therefore has many of the hallmark sounds of the late-era Muslimgauze recordings already released, with abrupt starts and stops, swooping transitions and layer upon layer of samples and rhythms. There are nevertheless still plenty of surprises. Ever the ground-breaker, Bryn never recorded the same album twice.

The packaging for this CD is a 6-panel 5.5-by-8 inch tall folder, with a cover photograph by Susilo Hadi, licensed from Getty Images for a cool $690.00. It shows a pair of feet poised above a pair of flip-flops bearing the words “ISRAEL” and “USA” printed on the soles. The inside panels include a number of pictures, some with strong or disturbing content, collected from various web sites dedicated to publicizing the conflicts in Iraq and Palestine.

Press release from Soleilmoon.

The following appeared in Chainlink D.L.K..

Composed in Manchester in December 1995, just three years before his unexpected death at the young age of 38, "Alms for Iraq" doesn't come out on Staalplaat (as frequent readers of Chain D.L.K. might expect), but for the American outlet Soleilmoon recordings (closely related to the Dutch label). Bryn Jones' 161st (!!!) album features 75 minutes and 26 tracks of mostly rhythmical-oriented material impregnated of electronics in the form of vibe, but also distortions, filter sweeps and choice of sounds for its repetitive patterns. The entire nature of this record is based around the stop'n'go of these repeating grooves and on the tricky misleading lo-if aberrations of dimming the volume of 20-30 dBs for brief periods of time to make it louder immediately after; from time to time "Alms for Iraq" sounds almost like a minimal glitch-electronics record, but chances are what is being conceived as such is nothing but what you are about to hear a lot louder a minute later (this might be a good time to warn listeners about the deceiving volume of the first 5-10 seconds of the record - don't be fooled or your ears might pay the price!). When the silence breaks the beats take over, sometimes even in the form of piercing noise loops. "Alms for Iraq" is not monotonous. Instead its dynamic properties shed light on what maybe is/was Muslimgauze's production's most challenging and ground-breaking side. Of course your (dare I say) "average" Middle-Eastern percussion still find a way to sneak into and among the tracks, but the electro-beat meets rhythm-noise meets middle-eastern grooves approach of this record is definitely among my favourite ones, not to mention the outstanding 6 panel A5-sized folding full colour digipak-style packaging with quotes, sleeve notes and beautiful pictures and art work. One of the best Muslimgauze records in a while, maybe.

review by Marc Urselli-Schaerer
Chainlink D.L.K. (June 18, 2004)

The following appeared in Industrial Nation.

If your main complaint with Muslimgauze is that there isn't a whole lot of variety from release to release, you probably won't be too pleased with this album. The thing is with Muslimgauze: the formula works. If you're not a fan of Muslimgauze yet and you're open-minded to the idea of becoming a Muslimgauze fan, this isn't a bad place to start. This CD was one of the last releases that Bryn Jones worked on before his untimely death in 1999. Alms for Iraq shows that Bryn's technique for creating albums with the Muslimgauze formula was very well refined by this time. On Alms, Bryn's middle-east-inspired loops are daring and rhythmic but not necessarily danceable! This CD openly flirts with the more noisy and experimental side of Muslimgauze. On "Bombay Wire Less," Bryn creates a bold rhythm only to destroy it with white noise and wild fluctuations in volume. On "Madhat Basha," Muslimgauze does a sort of pre-power-noise sound with tablas. Alms has 26 different tracks which means you should expect about 26 separate loops of various lengths. Traditional industrial dance DJs won't find much to work with here, but more experimental dance DJs and radio DJs will find this album a treasure trove of dark loops to toss into their mixes. The accompanying photographs and CD booklet to Alms are the most politically charged cover art to a Muslimgauze release since Bryn's death. If pro-Palestinian or pro-Arab points of view make you squeamish, don't buy this.

review by Rick Kinney
Industrial Nation (Issue #21)

The following appeared on Piccadilly Records.

Bryn Jones, AKA Muslimgauze, recorded this album in December 1995, just three years before his early and unexpected death at the age of 37. In the last years of his life Bryn acquired as much of the latest technology for his home studio as he could lay his hands on, and the advances and developments in his music reflected his growing proficiency with his new equipment. "Alms For Iraq" therefore has many of the hallmark sounds of the late-era Muslimgauze recordings already released, with abrupt starts and stops, swooping transitions and layer upon layer of samples and rhythms. There are nevertheless still plenty of surprises. Ever the groundbreaker, Bryn never recorded the same album twice. The packaging for this CD is a 6-panel 5.5-by-8 inch tall folder, with a cover photograph by Susilo Hadi, licensed from Getty Images for a cool $690.00. It shows a pair of feet poised above a pair of flip-flops bearing the words 'ISRAEL' and 'USA' printed on the soles. The inside panels include a number of pictures, some with strong or disturbing content, collected from various websites dedicated to publicizing the conflicts in Iraq and Palestine.

Piccadilly Records

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Press Release/Reviews Index Release Information Back Muslimgauze

February 1, 2017