While the human voice has often been an element in Bryn Jones’ work as Muslimgauze, rarely did he highlight it as much as he does in these two newest releases from the Muslimgauze Archive Series. While elements of 'Minaret Speaker' appeared on the 7” of the same name released by Staalplaat in 1996, much of the strongest material here is previously unheard. Jones’ normal practice was to send in tapes to the label with only a title for each tape as a whole, then provide individual track titles before each release. Sadly, with his passing in 1999 we are left with many projects where he provided album titles but, barring a séance, the tracks themselves will always remain untitled.
The material on 'Minaret Speaker' can be broken into two groups; the first, the ten tracks that make up the bulk of this release, make clear immediately why Jones picked that title for the album, with the ten-minute “Minaret Speaker Track 1” serving as a duo for his trademark digitally distorted percussion loops and what certainly sounds like a recording of a call to prayer, or adhan. The voices on the tracks here are ones that may well have come out of an actual minaret speaker at some point. One these tracks, as the musical backing gets harsher and more distorted, the voices reach towards deliverance; the results, even on wordless interludes like the string-based “Bamboo Bound” is something that can seem more approachable than some of Jones’ work as Muslimgauze.
The four Rest tracks that make up the end of this release form a brief bonus EP of even lower-fidelity-than-normal works in progress from Jones, with “Rest Track 1” immediately sounding like Jones putting his own work through some new contortions. At times this material gets and fuzzed- and dubbed-out as anything in the Muslimgauze discography, a perfect accompaniment to the mix of soaring and pulverizing music found on the rest of the album.
Press release from Staalplaat.
The following appeared on Boomkat.
'Minaret Speaker' is one of the harsher, de-glazed Muslimgauze releases, featuring two tracks from the original 7” amidst a further 8 unreleased cuts + 4 Rest Tracks.
The pealing pipes and skeletal percussion of Bamboo Bound are a dash of meditative respite amidst attack of cranky, noisy drum workouts chock with reverse edits, overdriven distortion and call-to-prayer samples sounding something like lunchtime at Yadgar’s when they haven’t tuned the radio properly to Asian Sound Radio.
A can of mango rubicon will sweeten it up if the flavour’s too strong.
January 10, 2017