Izlamaphobia

The following appeared in The Wire.

The pre-publicity claims Bryn Jones has in some way changed tack while staying true to the Palestinian cause which he has espoused over no end of Muslimgauze discs. Fundamentally, this double CD operation isn't so different. He works up a rhythmic intensity the equal of his best work, though the musical stuff he weaves it from is less overtly Oriental.

Just as the intensity rarely falters, so the problem stays the same: sustaining the non-believer's interest over the duration. The titles, incidentally, tackle common assumptions about Islamic culture.

review by Biba Kopf
This text originally appeared in The Wire magazine (issue # 145).
Reproduced by permission.
The Wire on-line index.

The following appeared in Option.

Percussive and mysterious, Muslimgauze's newest work explores a variant of the trance aesthetic that drives nearly all of his music. The droning tones and percussion patterns that underlie his past recordings are certainly in evidence, but on Izlamaphobia, Muslimgauze takes repetition to new extremes: at several points over the course of this two-CD set, I thought the disc was skipping in its player. The effect is disconcerting -even disorienting. There's a feeling of life out of balance, as if time has stopped and no distinction exists between up and down. Another thing about these tracks is that Muslimgauze has incorporated more forceful rhythm programs, giving the music an exaggerated industrial edge; he's also been exploring electronic textures well away from the presets, lending unique, Aphex Twin-like sounds to his sonic palette. These are helpful, positive touches - without sacrificing the organic warmth of his previous work, Muslimgauze is nurturing a cleaner, more futuristic and experimental sound.

review by Lisa Carr
This text originally appeared in Option magazine (issue # 67).
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The following appeared on Concept.

The nature of these 33 resonant experiences would not be difficult to communicate to those that have not heard them: it is about the apparition of reflection that presents themselves under the shape of an absolute, frozen and sharp engagement like a crystal. Absolutely detached from everything that is life. It is about determinations, not conditioned of a will, that only affirms itself to affirm itself. Separating all mental pictures, all incentive and all feeling. It is finally about an emotional state that appears from the state of rhythmic exaltation or exhaustion, without reason, that seize the soul. Reflecting itself on the spiritual content of infinite grandeur.

review by Cyrille Sottile
translation by T @ The Edge with the use of Power Translator

The following appears in All Music Guide.

First in what continues to be a series of limited-edition subscription-only releases from Staalplaat/Soleilmoon, Izlamaphobia starts with an aggressive blast, "Hudood Ordinance." With a rhythm track consisting of extremely tweaked and processed electronic beats and bleeps, with only the gentlest of Arabic string instruments deep in the mix to relate things to a more familiar Muslimgauze sound, the song sets the general mood for the rest of Izlamaphobia. This said, Bryn Jones' specific talent is such that even without that, this would still sound like him, his trademark care and obsessiveness in terms of percussion again evident. Two discs long and with a variety of romanticized (some might say stereotypical) song titles like "The Eternal Illusionist of Oid Bachdad" and "Lahore Morphine Market," Izlamaphobia has two chief artistic themes, if anything. On the one hand, Jones' incorporation of hip-hop and funk beats has never been stronger, providing songs like "Gilded Madrasa" and "The Public Flogger of Lahore" with a wickedly fierce kick and drive. On the other, the strained, alien treatments on many of the songs would be well at home on innumerable Warp Records releases of the '90s, with squelching rhythms, undanceable dance tracks and, quite unsurprisingly, a desire to avoid expected techno clichés. With these two strains combined on many songs by Jones, the results are wonderfully slamming, strange tracks such as "Khadija and Fereshta." Not everything is quite so dramatically different from past Muslimgauze releases, with the incorporation of multi-layered acoustic percussion cropping up more than once, such as on "Hijab Muzzle." Everything is just that little bit dirtier in sound, though, and all the more intriguing for it. Some tracks are mere snippets and others don't quite deliver on their promise, but all in all Izlamaphobia is yet another Muslimgauze success.

review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide

see also Izlamaphobia (vinyl) & Izlamaphobia & Deceiver

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Izlamaphobia  Izlamaphobia (vinyl re-issue)  Izlamaphobia (CD re-issue)

January 10, 2017