Jebel Tariq (re-issue)

release date: January, 2004

Jebel Tariq originally appeared in the middle of 2000, as Muslimlim 025 an MP3 only release distributed via Pretentious over the Internet.

It was an extremely well received release and has been much requested since. Here at last is the CD re-issue of this excellent album.

It has strong hand drum beats throughout but still maintains a very moody feel. It was undoubtedly these very elements that lead Jeremy Keens to state it was "balanced between the ambient and beat sides" of Bryn's work. It goes beyond just these elements though. There are whispered voices changing to strong ululations, frequent flute "samples" and then the bass. There are parts where the deep throb of the electric bass element gives a very dub feel and then there is the use of acoustic bass. The latter something very unusual for Bryn and it adds an almost jazz feel.

All of this put together make this another strong, almost unique release from the incomparable Muslimgauze.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared in Chainlink D.L.K..

It looks like somebody is gonna make sure that we don't miss a note of Muslimgauze's massively vast assortment of interesting recordings that never made it out during his lifetime. Originally distributed via the internet by Pretentious (in 2000), Muslimgauze's main outlet, Staalplaat, has released a 700-copies limited edition digipak of "Jebel Tariq", an eight track CD that really only has one kinky track on it, mainly percussive and mainly playing around the same theme for almost an hour. The rhythmical theme offers occasional voices and vaguely rai-ish instruments. If he was alive and this was an actual new album of his, I might say that the album lacks a little of inspiration and variety, but it's no place for me to say anything like that, since this is obviously not a refined and thought out release meant as a release, but rather just a collection of musical notes that probably would have been explored, worked and reworked into compositions, and obviously Staalplaat's/Pretentious' way to give the fans more of this amazing mind-challenging artist.

review by Marc Urselli-Schaerer
Chainlink D.L.K. (March 2, 2004)

The following appeared in The Wire.

The late Bryn Jones's Muslimgauze discography is a monumental tribute to the single minded pursuit of an artistic goal - he began his Muslimgauze career after Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. But it's very size must repel as much as intrigues. Where's the entry point? What determines a good Muslimgauze release from a bad one? What constitutes a typical Muslimgauze album? Does anyone own the whole set?

This is the latest posthumous Muslimgauze release on the Dutch Staalplaat label, in a limited edition of 700 (completists take note). These eight tracks are dominated by looped tribal percussion with some vague vocal samples and understated bass. They're sequenced as a single track on the CD, which is really how they should be heard to best experience their hypnotic monotony. As ethno-electronica, these Middle Eastern grooves sound pretty fine but as a tiny fraction of Muslimgauze's massive body of work this also feels somehow inadequate.

review by Tom Ridge
This text originally appeared in The Wire magazine (issue # 242).
Reproduced by permission.
The Wire on-line index

The following appeared in Industrial Nation.

Jebel Tariq is one of the latest Muslimgauze reissues to come our way posthumously (Bryn Jones died in 1999). Previously released through Pretentious as MP3 only, it now sees a proper CD format for the first time. Upon first play, the album will ring true to any fan familiar with the artist's Middle Eastern bent-cascades of tabla-laden percussion dancing with dub sensibility and indigenous sampling (exotic flutes, voices and musique concrete). What separates Jebel Tariq from past releases is the sharp, maximum threshold of the percussion, with hand drums spiking relentlessly high in the mix; the other elements serving as subtle garnish for a full-throttled, rhythmic onslaught. This direction is played fairly straight through out the album's continuous mix (none of the eight tracks are indexed), with neither the distorted, messy beats and break downs of a release like Zuriff Moussa, nor the harsh dynamics of Gun Aramaic, nor the quirky, genre-bridging of Fedayeen. Those used to more soundtrack-ish outings by Jones should still be pleased by the dense, trance-inducing cacophonies present here; a tension building exercise built on a minimal number of elements, but still packed with ear-tickling assault. As such, Jebel Tariq provides a consistent and enjoyable flow that - with its dark and moody undercurrents and Arabic imagery (check out the Palestinian freedom fighter album art, consistent with Jones' controversial politics) - proves a poignant, contemplative listen in these troubled times.

review by Walt
Industrial Nation (Issue #21)

see also Baghdad, Ayatollah Dollar, Jebel Tariq & Sufiq & Arabbox, In Search Of Ahmad Shah Masood, Iran Air Inflight Magazine, Jebel Tariq & Red Madrassa

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