Libya Tour Guide

Release date: December 7, 2015

Originally issued as the third LP in the limited edition box set 'Tandoori Dog', 'Libya Tour Guide' follows 'Jaagheed Zarb' and the title disc with a CD reissue, and again the increased space of its new medium has allowed unreleased material from the original tape to be included. Although a version of “Rebiana Sand Sea” originally surfaced on the 'Melt EP', “Tubruq Sand Bank” and the 12-minute “Aqua Tingktyur” are now restored to their proper places in
this sprawling, 22 track release.

As with many of Bryn Jones’s longer albums as Muslimgauze, 'Libya Tour Guide' ranges over different sounds and modes as it goes, from the almost collage of short pieces featured near the beginning to the subdued, sinister pulsing of “Great Satan Shadow” to the extended, sometimes digitally shredded journey of “Aqua Tingktyur”.

Even more than normal, here Jones’ tracks comment on each other, with the already hectic squiggles of “Benzedrine, Effendi” immediately answered with the fiercer distortions of the same sound on “No, Benzedrine, Effendi” and “East of Tarabulus” naturally takes the listener further than “Tarabulues” just did. The result, whether it’s the richly echoing hand percussion of “Kurnel” or the choking static of “Rebiana Sand Sea”, is as intoxicating as always.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared on Boomkat.

Holy sh*t! Staalplaat pull out another revelatory Muslimgauze album from the archives, originally issued as the 3rd LP from his 'Tandoori Dog' box set and now available with three previously unreleased bonus cuts as a standalone CD.

'Libya Tour Guide' is most notable for featuring some of the most prominent use of Roland 303 acid baselines in Muslimgauze’s peerless oeuvre, as much as its fractal diversity and atmospheric range explored over 22 tracks including 3 unreleased aces.

As with most of his other equipment, it’s almost a given that Bryn Jones would use the 303 uniquely, and we'd wager you've rarely, if ever, heard it wrenched quite like he does in the parched boggle of "Tubrug Sand Bank" or paired with acoustic strings in "Benzedrine Effendi" and rubbed all over saz and bouncing drums in the opener, "Lalique Gadaffi Jar".

If you've got anything approaching a taste for Muslimgauze gear, this one is a total no-brainer


The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

Libya Tour Guide is yet another fantastic edition in the massive Muslimgauze (aka Bryn Jones) oeuvre.  This recording is certainly the best posthumous Muslimgauze release I have heard to date and might even end up being his best-ever release.  It constantly amazes me how a guy who never stepped inside the Middle East could make music that so powerfully presents eastern sounds and evokes eastern vibes and imagery.  And he does it all while creating a brand of electronic music that as far as I can tell has no true antecedents or successors (yet).    

Immediately following the squawking, beckoning opener, "Lalique Gadaffi Jar", comes "Rebiana Sand Sea".  The latter number epitomizes the finest Muslimgauze cuts.  There may be no other slice of the 'gauze that more perfectly encapsulates the essence of Bryn Jones' monomaniacal vision of tribal electronic excess.  And it'll bust your sound system if you set the volume level high enough.  But, with Libya Tour Guide's 22 tracks and 72-plus minutes, there's so much more on offer here.  So let's continue our journey.

"Moving Further in Land" is a beast of an alternate reality dance club hit, so heavy are its beats.  If New Order or Depeche Mode had in their prime conceived of such a song, it would never have left the number one position on said alien world's popular music charts.  The side-by-side "Benzedrine, Effendi" and "No, Benzedrine, Effendi" are a one-two punch knockout.  Taking the two tracks together, Jones seems to be saying, "No, I really meant it the first time, and if you don't believe me, I'm going even more over the top the second time."  (Oh, you convinced me just fine the first go 'round, Mr. Jones, but thank you anyway for the even more scorching reiteration!)  "Tarabulus" could be a heretofore unknown nickname for the New Testament figure Lazarus, who must have sounded just like the vocalist on this track upon his rising from the dead adorn with mummy wrapping around his head and mouth.  Then there's "East of Tarabulus", an absolute earthquake of a recording whose tremors would break any nearby seismometer to bits, and collapse anything and everything else in its midst.  It is one of those rare and special music documents that everyone should hear at least once in their lifetimes.  "Great Satan Shadow" is a super sized, ceaselessly lashing whip for all those naughty ones who find themselves in hell.  Ouch for them.  Oh, and do you love the super-sonic element of feedback in your music?  Perhaps not nearly as much as you thought you did until you check out "Aqua Tingktyur", which highlights searing, fearsome feedback bombardments over a most delicate eastern melody.  The Jesus and Mary Chain?  Please.  Merzbow?  He ought to be blushing with envy.

The combined effect of the unremitting twist knobbery, er, knob twistery (or whatever you want to call it), tempo and volume changes, fade-ins and fade-outs, eastern string, drum, and horn accompaniments, and fascinating vocal samples on Libya Tour Guide is never short of staggering.  I don't know how or from where Muslimgauze conjures this incredible amalgam of sounds, nor do I care to find out.  Suffice it to say that this album is always uniquely effective and emotive.  I used to consider Libya as a place to avoid, but no longer.  Now that I have my own personal tour guide, I want to catch the very next plane.

reviewed by Spinningdials
Rate Your Music (January 2, 2017)

horizontal rule

Press Release/Reviews Index Release Information Back Muslimgauze

November 3, 2020