Fatah Guerrilla

available now (November 18, 1996)

"Have they gone out of their minds?" No, not really... Fatah Guerrilla our next Muslimgauze CD is a triple CD, packed in a digipak which opens on various sides and with a transparent tray. This is a limited edition of 700 copies. The cover is bound to cause problems due to its aggressive nature and marks a return to the highly political cover of Hamas Arc or Betrayal. The digipak manufacturer is the first one to have problems with it, at first wanting not to print it.  

Musically Muslimgauze continues on the lines of Izlamaphobia and Deceiver, with strong rhythms which in some cases are more danceable then ever. When ever will he produce his first dance hit? Probably never...

This is the ninth release in the Muslimgauze limited subscription series.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared in The Wire.

The minimal and brooding desolation of Muslimgauze's last limited edition releases (Return Of Black September) is here spread over three discs in a run of 700 copies. Getting down to fundamentals in more ways than one, this severely ascetic sonic polemic renders the guttural, dubby soundstage of its predecessors even more unforgiving, with shifting hazes of ghostly percussion and bass-booms that sound like distant artillery. Good enough, but 173 minutes of non-stop anything can get to be a bit wearying. Who's in the edit suite?

review by Paul Stump
This text originally appeared in The Wire magazine (issue # 156).
Reproduced by permission.
The Wire on-line index.

The following appears in All Music Guide.

Muslimgauze expands into ever-more lengthy projects with this three-disc release, each disc being at least an hour long and separately titled. On Fatah, Bryn Jones manages a neat encapsulation of the various styles and phases of Muslimgauze, intentionally or not, over the course of the entire work. The first disc, Muhammadunize, has what could be called a classic feel to it, with a very familiar blend of drones, string instruments, and synths, and varying percussion/break-beat patterns, in turn mixed with a number of hard-to-catch vocal samples. It's a formula used many times in the past by Jones, yet somehow he still manages to keep things just fresh enough, investing songs like the first and second "Khalifate" and especially both slamming versions of "Imad Akel" with enough unexpected touches. He incorporates the basic power of his work in the tracks as well, with both beauty and a nervy, hard-to-define tension as the songs progress. Tajik and Persian Blind, the second disc, generally fits in the vein of Izlamaphobia or Deceiver - the title track from the latter briefly resurfaces as "Deceive for Yourself" - with the combination of massive beats (e.g., "Shisla Nain Royal Bidjar") and aggro-arty, Aphex Twin-styled production ("Dizurt"); the one-ringer "Negev Gulag," recorded three years previously, is thrown in as well. As might be guessed from its title, the final disc, Chechnya Over Dub, plays up the dub aesthetics which are always lurking at the heart of Muslimgauze's work - though generally in more abstract and indirect senses than might be expected - while also mixing and matching all of the previously mentioned strands, from the bass-heavy rumble of "Resume and Shaduf" to the utterly minimal ambience of "Sari of Acidic Colours." The whole release is a bit much to take all in a row, but the set is, nonetheless, another good effort from Jones.

review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide

The following appeared on Discover.

Muslimgauze is essentially the project of Bryn Jones from Manchester. His music is just as uncompromising as that with its corresponding political motivation. Inspired by the events in the Middle East Bryn Jones has continuously recorded for 15 years.

With "Fatah Guerrilla", Staalplaat, of Amsterdam, present us with a new release from the maniacs. "Fatah Guerrilla" is three parts, in each case a CD long, therefore more than 180 minutes music. And if one considers, that this represents the third publication, at least, this year, one wonders how Muslimgauze manage to hold or surpass such a high level of quality.

"Muhammadunize" is the first CD. It is a good dense collage atmosphere. From everywhere shoots drums, Palestinian word-scraps give the total radio play-character. One feels when hearing this CD as if the Gaza-strip is mastered from an outsize echo-appliance.

"Tajik and Persian Blind" offers vicious, reduced beats. The CD connects traditional Arabic strings and percussion with Western interferences and drum loops. Absolute minimalistic and radical, as Muslimgauze take and process the tracks consisting of sequences of real-time influence.

That could formally remind of Aphex Twin, only the music appears less programmed and more played live.

The third part "Chechnya Over Dub" is totally groovy, midtempo-beats connects with industrial noise and language-scraps to dance-pure sound-collages. "Camel Abuse Does Not Egzist In Mogadisu" sounds very strongly like house, it is however a 7/8 time.

"Fatah Guerrilla" is limited to 700 copies, whoever therefore likes the described sound and is not bothered by pro-Arab tendencies, should hasten. Whoever wants to secure future limited publications should get themselves a Muslimgauze subscription, no joke! More info is available from Staalplaat.

review by Ralf Haarmann
Translated from German with the assistance of Gist-In-Time

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

This one is truly a giant in Bryn Jones' proto-mortem part of his discography - a whopping 3-hour set of three discs, Fatah Guerrilla is rivalled only by the 4-disc monster Tandoori Dog (which I'm yet to hear). Don't be scared, though - this is not so much a triple album as a collection of three completely different albums which just happened to be released together, with their own completely different themes and sonic palettes. With this in mind, I'll review the three albums separately, as each one is clearly its own beast.

CD 1, Muhammadunize is quite out of place with the other two CDs - the sound palette here is very similar to his ambient-techno albums such as Mullah Said and Gun Aramaic, down to the rhythms and the trademark tanpura drones and keys in C minor. The difference is that it's a bit more aggressive and faster-paced than the aforementioned albums, thus utilising a similar dark atmosphere to a more immediate and in-your-face effect, especially as noted by the drum-kit urban-sounding pulse of Imad Akel, one of the high points on this album. However, my favorite track here is the closer Fatah Guerrilla (also title track of the whole triple album), featuring a rapid echoed rhythm along with a barrage of percussion popping up and echoing every so often, sounding like they're flying through the room at a quick pace; the piece also features a beautiful flute melody which combines with the busy rhythm section in an interesting way.

CD 2, Tajik and Persian Blind couldn't contrast more with CD1 - instead of contemplative percussive ambience led by massive tanpura drones, here we have one of the most experimental and weird albums in Muslimgauze's humongous catalog, combining the omnipresent Middle Eastern percussion and snippets with hip-hoppy and breakbeat electronic beats, a lot of distortion and a shit ton of electro sonic fuckery, and even some  beatless drone work which is very unusual for Muslimgauze. Starting with the classic distorted breakbeats, the disc quickly evolves into something much weirder - the middle of Khidmutghar features a very strange electronic drone with some ominous clicking sound which I can't quite describe, while Dizurt is a foray into murky, dubby rhythm accompanied by very weird glitchy modulated fuckery and of course the trademark abrupt interruptions and switches in sound. While Imam Shamil 1837 and Enjinn are more usual aggressive rhythms sprinkled with samples of Middle Eastern melodies and voice, Negev Gulag is a pure psychedelic drone, unadulterated with beats or glitches for its whole 7 minute duration. The version of Anti-Arab Media Censor here is very different from the one on Arab Quarter - the ominously pounding drums which are heavily emphasised in that version here, by contrast, are moved into the background while the track features much more electronic bleeps, glitches, and other digital sound transformations. Not digital in the literal sense though, as Bryn Jones was notoriously an analog purist.

Overall this CD left a good impression on me - it's a mixed bag of headbobby techno beats, found sounds, middle Eastern samples, and all kinds of electronic glitches and other experiments. It's not that repetitive either, as many of the rougher, beat-oriented Muslimgauze releases are.  

CD 3, Chechnya Over Dub is a more minimal and loop-based affair, and perhaps my least favorite of the three. Starting with a clusterfuck of sound that is Resume and Shaduf, the disc picks up right where CD2 left off, but quickly evolves into slower hip-hoppy rhythms. Pahlavi Engineer is in fact an alternate version of the track With Indian Rope from the same year's Uzbekistani Bizzare and Souk, although this one goes on for longer and features some strange synth that is not present on the former version. Most of the tracks here feature electronic drum loops balancing between hip-hop and techno, which are occasionally even somewhat danceable (Girl in a Red Turban) - however, my favorite moment from the album is tracks 5 to 6, which feature a softer sound with a quirky melody line and dubby rhythms. Another highlight is Peacock Headress, which involves an unidentified Middle Eastern instrument modulated in a strange way, and Sari of Acidic Colours which also manipulates a presumably Indian instrument to an extent that it sounds like a synth. Similarly to the way Uzbekistani Bizzare and Souk and Izlamaphobia end, the album ends with an untitled track consisting of slightly oscillating digital buzzing, sounding quite ominous.

Overall, CD1 and CD3 are pretty standard Muslimgauze affairs, but CD2 just takes the cake, and while the former two are fairly non-essential and are of interest mostly to completists like myself, Tajik and Persian Blind can be easily recommended even to a casual fan, as it's quite diverse by Muslimgauze standards and features some really cool sound experiments and beats.
The average rating here, as with many other Muslimgauze titles, is unjustifiably low in my opinion; you should keep in mind that only around 850 official physical copies of this were ever made - 700 of the original release and an even more modest reissue of 150, so it's obvious that this was meant to be a  treat for diehard fans and collectors, not casual listeners. Although as I've said, you can still try CD2 if you belong to the latter, as it's quite a good album on its own.

reviewed by muslimgauze_reviews
Rate Your Music
(May 26, 2018)

see also Gulf Between Us & Fatah Guerrilla & Fatah Guerrilla, Narcotic, Sandtrafikar, Vampire Of Tehran & Zuriff Moussa

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