Mullah Said

Latest instalment in the limited edition series. Trance Arab vibes of laid back dubby styled music.

To add to the relaxed feel of this CD it comes it comes in a raw board digipak with nice images from the Arab world - no harshness or aggressiveness this time around.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared in Ambience.

'Mullah Said' displays two aspects of the work of Muslimgauze. Firstly, musically, it is in the delightful drifting ambient vein. The percussion is mainly acoustic hand drums - providing a rhythm of aural features - the trademark shimmering string sound heard on a number of releases is much in evidence, rhythms are generally slower, there are lots of samples of people speaking in conversation, markets wherever. 'Mullah said' opens the disc with the lovely mix of these sounds. 'Every grain of Palestine sand' continues the mood, with a slightly faster tempo, and more emphasis on the beat. But it soon locks into a mesmeric lassitude as various effects echo or smear the sounds, drums come in for short moments, different string sounds enjoin the play. 'Muslims die India' follows the mood though the voices seem darker, sadder, and then comes 'Every grain of Palestinian sand' followed by 'Muslims die India'. Yes - not a typo, these tracks are repeated. This is the second Muslimgauze trend - to remix himself. On a number of releases there are tracks with the same title, sometimes called part 1 and 2, and usually they are about the same length and listening indicates they are versions of the same song. With the two here, the samples occur at about the same time, the instrumentation is similar, and what we get is subtle variations - different effects, placement of instruments in the mix etc. This leaves us with a 50 minute suite of prime Muslimgauze middle eastern ambience - if you like that side you will love this album. The final track is short and different, a crackling ground over which a singer chants a song interrupted by machine-gun percussive bursts - 'An end'. For those who have difficulty getting the limited editions, Staalplaat will be releasing 'Observe with Sadiq Bey' which is said to be in the same style.

review by Jeremy Keens
This text originally appeared in Ambience magazine March, 1999.
Reproduced by permission.

The following appeared on The Raging Consciousness Desk's Bakers Golden Dozen For 1998.

Music: 8 Sound: 10

Sadly, Bryn (Muslimgauze) Jones passed away in the first few weeks of 1999. However, in addition to at least 100 other titles, he left us this over-the-top production, a high-impact recording that while musical, has enough abstract excitement to put a smile on any adventurous listeners face. Those not familiar with Jones' style, will listen slack-jawed at the shear anticipatory nature of his sound collage. Mid-East tension is so accurately captured through the use of the regions instrumentation (especially percussion), sinister electronics, samples of men chanting, women crying, sounds culled from the horrors of war, and occasional angry distortion that the listener's listener will be transported to the belly of the beast. This is not the amusical, noisy side of 'Gauze, but a rare, beautiful recording that is at times quite sad. This is also one of the most brutally dynamic and open (read; no boundaries). If your system resolves this one, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Hand numbered edition of 1000 with a sleeve that made our toes curl.

review by Glenn Hammett & Steve Taylor
The Raging Consciousness
© 1999

The following appeared on Mark Weddle's CD & Live Show Review page.

Overall impression: excellent. 

Bryn Jones unfortunately passed away this past January but the music he is so well known for is thankfully still being released at the same feverish pace as prior to his death. "Mullah Said" is a Staalplaat subscription series limited edition release (1000), the idea being to get as much of Muslimgauze's extensive work out to those who desire it and insuring that nothing is missed. I've managed to collect a few dozen Muslimgauze albums/singles/EPs over the past several months and this one has become one of my favorites. The style of this disc is what I'd call mellow, beat driven ambient dub. The five lengthy tracks are based on hypnotic and somewhat menacing grooves: a repetitive dub bass beat, waves of Middle Eastern strings and voices, layers of building hand percussion, etc. Each track is respective but the washes of sound/percussion come and go often creating a sense of motion and change. All of the tracks are similar and even share elements. There are 2 versions of "Every Grain.." and "Muslims Die.." that are basically just remixed versions of the same track ... not drastically different from one another but enough to make them worthy of repeated listenings. The first "Every Grain.." is more beat driven and aggressive whereas the rest of the tracks have a slower and more ambient flowing feel ... plenty of beats/bass in each track though. "An End" has a smattering of percussion with a woman singing and an occasional male voice that slowly fades out bringing the journey to an end. I've been very pleased with almost all of the Muslimgauze I've managed to collect so far, but there's something special for me about the longer shifting tracks that appear here as well as on other releases such as "Hebron Massacre", "Gulf Between Us", "Sandtrafikar" and "Arab Quarter". As with the majority of Muslimgauze releases the artwork on the "Mullah Said" digipak is first class: another photographic glimpse into the lives and history of the peoples of the Middle East. Hopefully all 1000 haven't already been claimed ...

review by Mark Weddle
CD & Live Show Review page

The following appears in All Music Guide.

Much like earlier entrants in the subscription series Sandtrafikar, Mullah concentrates on the softer yet still ominous side of Muslimgauze, coming across as meditative, late-night music which still has an understated edge to it all. The title track sets its mood well, with a synth/string arrangement similar to the dominant one from Veiled Sisters, but darker and more subdued, set against a very low-key drum machine beat and gentle interjections of wind instruments and random vocal bits. The first "Every Grain of Palestinian Sand" ups the tempos slightly, adding more drones and percussion, including a great acoustic performance about halfway in, along with an attractive central string melody. From there the album continues in the same general vein, adding tweaks and changes as it goes. Both versions of "Muslims Die India" are a bit more active, while still maintaining the same generally dreamy and drifting feeling (the second concentrates a bit more on percussion interplay throughout its quarter-hour length); and the second "Every Grain" sneaks in more echo and samples of machines into its quiet though intense groove. "An End" concludes things on an unexpected note, with a female vocalist singing over a combination of bird sounds and percussion breaks an attractive way to end a fine record.

review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide

The following appeared on Discogs.

The sound on this album is intoxicating, mysterious and menacing. I prefer it when Bryn avoids using harshly distorted and loudly clipped samples of voices and drums, luckily there are long segments here without those. I particularly enjoy the 2nd and 4th tracks which move at a fairly speedy clip, I believe the primary buzzing sound is an electric sitar but I am not certain, regardless the combination of pounding drums, bells, sitar and what may be a zither is astounding. I've listened to only a few other Muslimgauze albums and haven't found many worth relistening other than this one and the one titled "A Gulf Between Us". I'd welcome others to recommend music similar to this album by other artists or Muslimgauze.

reviewed by satur9nine
Discogs (February 20, 2012)

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

Muslimgauze’s MULLAH SAID is sound come to life.  The music on these tracks, especially the sampled vocal snippets and singing, is palpable to the level that it lives and breathes.  “Mullah Said” and the two versions of “Every Grain of Palestinian Sand”, in particular, are so up-close, personal, and intimate that I swear I smell the speaking women’s perfumes and oils—and bodies.  All this fronting mostly spare but highly evocative Middle Eastern percussion and string elements.  If there is more “authentic” Middle Eastern music (not) made by a Middle Eastern musician, I wish to hear it.  Oh, and I’m considering meeting up with the caravan of people pictured on the back cover of the CD during my next vacation.

reviewed by Spinningdials
Rate Your Music (September 8, 2012)

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

Bryn Jones was a true innovator in the field of electronic music, particularly the genres pertaining to tribal/dark ambient, post-industrial, IDM and electronic dub. He was one of very few artists that created a distinctive sound entirely their own, specifically one that no one has been able to, or seemingly even attempted to replicate. His music became a genre in itself. That statement may sound dubious and generic, but it's incredibly important in describing the vision of Muslimgauze.

His chaotic, yet trancelike explorations into middle eastern conflict are fraught with creeping hostility, of violence and terror, of fanaticism, a threat waiting to erupt into total war; and most of all an ever increasing determination. Determination to get a minority of the audience to consider the events happening in these distant lands, the protracted suffering and impending result we now know too well making it all the more significant. The myriad of bizarre and evocative titles and artwork were the gateway to this end, and with the project at one point churning out one album every week it developed into a frantic endeavour that his labels could barely handle.

This of course is the stuff of legend to Muslimgauze enthusiasts, but it's fair to say this guy doesn't get nearly enough credit for what he created and influenced. It's generally considered a notable release here, and I agree that Mullah Said may just be the epitome of the catalogue, not only because it's an excellent overview of the project's sound, but it demonstrates Jones at his most evolved state of composition technique. As the call to prayer resonates from the minaret, we're transported deep into the psych of a sun-baked horror that seems to become increasingly fervourous as the album progresses.

Musically it's a collection of highly potent characteristics. Pulsing sub-bass drum machine loops, dub grooves and processed oud motifs form the repetitive foundation for decorative (and excellently mixed) hand percussion and extensive found-sound samples. With this he crafts a really interesting, cinematic atmosphere of a desert expanse full of instability and oppression. Visions of occupied settlements and militia checkpoints, angry looking men in fatigues toting weapons, alien creed and culture, unbearable arid heat. Am I exaggerating and scaring myself or what?

I absolutely love the title track, it was the first Muslimgauze piece I heard and it has an immediately captivating charm with its exotic atmosphere and deployment of vocal and urban samples. It's probably the most laid-back piece, but there's still a sense of unease. Every Grain of Palestinian Sand, its heightened bass pulse and 4/4 kicks, that reappearing droning zithery sound, introduces a great sense of urgency, of a primal struggle sustained by iron will. Eventually as the percussion strikes louder and more insistently, hypnosis really begins to set in, the spell is cast and you're not the same till the end.

The animosity increases further, Muslims Die India giving way to Burzumic cycling of semi-tones and shimmering eastern trills over a nauseous beat, amongst other samples the unsettling voice of a woman grievously ranting and croaking. All of a sudden I'm struck by how personal and kind of lonely this music sounds, like a hazy dream of another's suffering that only you can comprehend. Of course that was the project's foundation, every piece was politically motivated, in his own words, to bring a particular area of the world to people, particularly the plight of Palestine. Despite the perceived darkness of the music at times, his ultimate vision was balance and peace. He never saw it, and probably neither will we. Like these conflicts, his music seemingly extends into eternity. What better way to honour his legacy than trawling through these eastern dirges. Fascinating.

reviewed by clearmoon
Rate Your Music (August 14, 2014)

The following appeared in Rate Your Music.

Whenever i listen to this album i feel like I'm walking through bazaar streets in Pakistan or something. The ambience is perfect and the production is stellar. The title track is so hypnotic and i love the sudden urgency of the drums but the whole album maintains this ominous atmosphere like some of the samples evoke a sense of uneasiness that i don't really get from a lot of music. The way Bryn was able to construct these beautiful intricate soundscapes through so many samples is so fascinating to me. If i could listen to one artist for the rest of my life it would undoubtedly be Muslimgauze.

reviewed by Gnomes 
Rate Your Music (December 25, 2016)

It is the perfect intoxication of urban middle eastern tribal trance mixed with powerful echoed and manipulated vocal samples. The drumming keeps building and building into an intense conflict of political oppression. This is Bryn Jones at his best and one of the best examples of who Muslimgauze really is. The digipak album is beautiful and well worth having the original release.

reviewed by jackthetab
Discogs (April 9, 2017)

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