Muslimgauze vs Species Of Fishes & Re-mixs Vol. 3

The following appeared in Ambience.

Two very different albums of remixes.

Species of Fishes produce glitchy clicking music similar to the likes of Oval and Panasonic. In an unlikely pairing Muslimgauze remixed 7 tracks from 2 of their albums in the middle of 1998, and demonstrates the broader musical vision the Bryn Jones had: he was not limited by his own Middle eastern focus. A variety of forthcoming musical combinations will be further evidence of that.

Here we can hear very little of the 'traditional' Muslimgauze. The main influences appear to be the addition of Arab voices on many of the tracks, some dubby echoing production and a few instruments: some flute here and string sample there. The main flavours of the disk is the clicking, bloops and electronic loops. I am not sure if the loops are Muslimgauze or Fishes, having not heard the originals.

To me the project works. The fish aspect (the looping electronica) is understated in that it is never unnecessarily harsh or aggressive, the minimal units repeated and processed in interesting ways, and the Muslimgauze voices add a human touch. This music is notoriously hard to describe: 'sh-sh-sh', the fourth track, features clickclick, tshtshtsh and twittertwitter electroloops (!) with voices, and a slurring of the loops as some speed up and slow down. There are also jumps and gaps, referencing the damaged CDs which are the basis for much of this style. The previous track 'sh-sh' (these to also have a Cyrillic component to their names) includes a sample of Muslimgauze strings and a voice speaking deep within: dub echoing production and more track deconstruction occur here. The three 'init's (pt1, 2 and 3) spread across the disk and from one Fish release are all scratchy minimal works - part 1 includes a sample of flute and more variation in the electronica loops, while 2 is heavy with electro bleeps and clicks and some strong chanting: the volume increases at the end and the echoing, braking remix technique is used. Part 3 is a long slow finale to the album.

A difficult album, particularly if trends in electronica don't interest you, it does provide a pleasant entree to the field. The loops mirror the hypnotic rhythm patterns seen in Muslimgauze's own releases, and his subtle presence adds a further dimension, but don't look for Arabic instrumentation and percussion.

A much more typical, and more broadly appealing, side is seen in 'Re-mixs Vol.3'. The album comes from the same recording session as 'Hussein Jeep Tehar Gass', which can be heard in some of the instruments and samples, and the cover: the photograph appeared inside the insert. But the electronic surface of that album has been removed, focusing on the musical heart.

The opening track (none of the nine are named) is an instant winner. A long meandering piece where a drum picks out a slow rhythm over a field recording of crickets and muezzin, while a flute languidly dances in and out. Minimal and beautiful, it winds its way around you. Following is another gentle piece, with a rubbery-bass forming a base for a singer, simple percussion, guitar, and a chorus of voices, with an extended drama played out in the second half. Here the crackles of 'Hussein...' overlie. The third track is a little faster, the drum and bass propelling things over the flute: a reggae-ish feel emphasised by an echoing organ which enters near the middle and more dubby production towards the end. More pace follows with a much faster, more intricate percussion, the lovely bass line and a humming singer.

These first four tracks have taken up over 40 minutes, two thirds of the disk. The next track is one of three short excursions - this is a loopy didgeridoo sound with crackles, singers and echoing voices, 7 is a minute of organ echo and 9 a couple of minutes of harsh electronica.

6 is a more 'Hussein..' piece - all crackles, loopy synths (possibly Theremin), great bass and flute. As is 8 which encompasses elements from the previous tracks: the bass which has been so prominent here, a sampled female singer, some crackles, dubby organ and complex rhythm bed.

More than a simple remix album, this is a beautiful and haunting addition to the catalogue. Instantly appealing to those seeking a mellower sound, there is enough complexity and edge to keep everyone happy.

review by Jeremy Keens
This text originally appeared in Ambience magazine.
Reproduced by permission.

see also Re-mixs Vol. 3, Hussein Mahmood Jeeb Tehar & Re-mixs Vol. 3. & Azure Deux, Hussein Mahmood Jeeb Tehar, Remixs Vol. 2, Re-mixs Vol 3. & Return To The City Of Djinn

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Muslimgauze vs Species Of Fishes  Re-mixs Vol. 3
January 10, 2017