Hummus

release date: January, 2002

The first posthumous exploration of noise, beats and sound from this legend since "Sufiq" in 1999. Wonderful variety of what he did best. Fast and furious dancefloor tracks next to ebbing guitars next to noisy repetition and distortion. Spreads on thick.

Press release from Soleilmoon.

The following appeared on the Islamaphonia 2 mailing list.

Despite the fact that this list seems to have lost interest in new Muslimgauze stuff I thought I would report on the new Muslimgauze CD from Soleilmoon.

Bit of an odd one this one. It comes in a simple white digipak with yellow text - on the front cover is a part of a poem laid out in columns. The font is very Western - non of your usual Muslimgauze/Eastern stylings here. To be honest the overall effect is a little cheap. The cheap feel is continued when you realize that although the back lists 19 tracks these are some distributed across 5 CD tracks - including one track that bridges the end of CD track 1 and the start of CD track 2.

Fortunately the music more than makes up for the shoddy production. The music is a mix of the fucked up beat driven and fairly upbeat smooth (but still beat driven ambient). The sources are more Western but there are some Oriental feeling parts as well. At one point in one of the more distorted tracks I could swear there is a Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) guitar part being shredded.

This CD has a fresh feel to it - as though Bryn was stretching his wings and considering the horizon. His production skills are completely under control here and you feel he could go anywhere he likes - all of which make his untimely death even more tragic. I suspect that despite the torrent of work we didn't get to hear what Bryn was really capable of given many more years to grow and develop.

Only time will tell but I suspect that this will be a firm favourite amongst Muslimgauze releases for me.

review by Mark Williamson
Junklight

The following appeared on the incursion music review.

Two new releases from the near infinite arsenal that is the Muslimgauze archives, one from Soleilmoon and one from Staalplaat.

Hummus comes crashing out of the gate with the track "Zebb ul ala el din," a pummeling number that is relentless in its attack. As with a lot of the later Muslimgauze releases, it's all about the beats and the shock value, and this release is no exception. Very plain packaging contrasts with the jumbled distortion of many of the tracks here. Unfortunately, Hummus is a disappointment: it takes too many turns, and is unable to lay a solid foundation as an album proper. I can see this as a collection of experiments gone awry, as there is just no flow to the proceedings. Early in the disc, a 12-minute number steals the show: it's a fluid, languid piece called "Daughter of the king of china", and is quite unlike anything Muslimgauze has recorded before. The sound is distinctly Oriental, which he rarely concentrated on, and it's a welcome excursion here. What follows are many short pieces that are unable to further develop that same atmosphere that so dominated the early portion of the disc. We are left with an empty feeling upon its completion.

Contrast that with Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip, which is a superior disc by all counts. Not only is there a consistent flow to the tracks, the production itself seems to be of a higher quality. Here, Muslimgauze has produced a more "cinematic" version of his music. Long passages of filmic dialogue traverse over the sparse beats contained within, and the results are mesmerizing. This is perhaps the strongest disc since 1997's excellent Narcotic. Perhaps it has to do with the presence of John Delf, who engineers three of the tracks here. He had worked with Muslimgauze on a lot of his more acoustic recordings. The title track a mystical blend of reverberating strings and a steady break beat, with peacocks calling softly in the distance and live drumming played over top of it all. The results are irresistibly magical. Tracks that follow settle into the more ambient terrain that was explored on Gun Aramaic, but soon after comes a most energetic number called "Jerusalem Artichoke." Perhaps the only misstep on the disc is the track "Rent a Hookah," which has a more abrasive construction. The closing number, "Balti Utensil" is a staccato excursion that will prick up your ears before settling towards its dubbed-out final moments.

I know there are still more Muslimgauze discs slated for release this year, which is phenomenal since it has now been over three years since Bryn Jones passed away. With the situation as it currently is in the Middle East, it seems quite portentous that a flood of Muslimgauze music is set to hit us. If we can have more discs like Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip, the releases will be a fitting soundtrack to a situation Jones was so resolute in bringing his (and our) attention to.

review by Vils M Santo
incusrion.org (issue 051, April 2002)

The following appeared on the Islamaphonia 2 mailing list.

Another excellent Muslimgauze release that seamed to get overlooked and forgotten about due to the artwork.

To me.... it is honestly one of Muslimgauze's best works. Instead of having a constant 'theme' (musically) or 'vibe' continued throughout the whole disc (Betrayal, Maroon), Hummus is all over the place. Every new track completely disconnected from the last
track. very, very clean and professional production, doesn't have that bedroom studio feel to it at all. No idea when he recorded Hummus but it fits in pretty close with Zuriff Moussa, Jaal Ab Dullah (both 1997) and Sufiq as far as how he carries out the album, NOT that it sounds similar to them. Zuriff Moussa/Jaal Ab Dullah have a lot of hip hop influences in them, Hummus has more house/club/techno traits popping up throughout it.
As with Uzbekistani Bizzare and Souk, Hummus has a couple tracks that are so 'clean' that they could get played at a dance club and not raise any eyebrows, but it also has tracks that begin with small quiet ever repeating loops that swell into giant distorted monsters. Hummus explores many, many of Muslimgauze's diverse musical persona's. to me.....

Hummus is overall a very 'strong' Muslimgauze release and a definite 'keeper'.

review by Grady Brown
Islamaphonia 2 Mailing List

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January 10, 2017