Ingaza & Hafaz Al Assad
Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze, suffered from a malady called musical diarrhoea and the multitude of labels he was on often had to struggle with ways to address the deluge of DATs flowing their way. Staalplaat elected at one point to release Box of Silk and Dogs, a nine-disc box set from which Ingaza and Hafaz Al Assad (now repackaged in splendid black paper triangles) are extracted. However ill-advised it is to individually re-release previously boxed material, for Muslimgauze fans with a limited budget here is another chance to obtain the back catalog on an instalment plan. As previously mentioned, the box set was made to clear out a backlog and it shows, including spillover from earlier albums like Red Madrassa, Zuriff Moussa and Izlamaphobia. Versions that never made it to the full-length. Most Muslimgauze albums are musical variations on a theme, tracks that share stylistic commonalities, but many themes undulate on these two discs that in the end they feel juxtaposed, collage-like. Ingaza and HAA are thematically and stylistically all over the place, sporting atmospheric instrumental loops one moment and jarring, heavily barbed and distorted beats the next. Differences between tracks, not unlike changing channels on TV or switching between net browsers, predominate, imagery conjuring Middle Eastern travel and tourism on one screen plays against grisly proxy war footage on the next. The only threads linking these tracks were made during Jones' grittier production-cum-dub days during the last years of his life. These releases may not be for the new listener so much as for the seasoned vet enthralled with Muslimgauze production, one who passionately and obsessively seeks rare versions of everything ‘Gauze past.
review by Ibrahim Khider
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Hafaz Al Assad Ingaza
September 29, 2020