Observe With Sadiq Bey

release date: now available (January 18, 1999)

Another year, another Muslimgauze. This release is not part of the limited edition series. This time an unlimited one. Music-wise more up tempo, distorted beat material, with dashes of trip hop like beats. Muslimgauze find their way round in current dance music trends, but he's not willing to settle down, give in or sell out. This is particularly strong material, this being the main reason for the unlimited edition.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared on the Islamaphonia mailing list.

Observe with Sadiq Bey is old school Muslimgauze. It opens up with the first three tracks predominantly authentic sounding with quite a bit of rich dialogue and very subtle effects accents. One of my favorites on this one is Bagel of Poison (track 5), very cool piece. This is a great pairing of the more percussive and naturalistic drum with a subtle dub bass line, not overdone and not overpowering the percussion. The whole CD is much more raw than I've heard in a long while. Less production trickery and obsession with heavy phat dub bass and more of an emphasis on just simple middle-eastern drumming. Very refreshing after a long courtship with some very different (but also highly enjoyable!) styles. Some parts of this sound more like Uzi and Unites States of Islam. The artwork on this really compliments it as well, a rich desert sandy colored cover with camel and Bedouin. The internal photographs are just as arid and gritty while remaining true to the feel of the music overall.

The tracks Daughter of the Crescent Moon and Muslim of America stand out as well, Daughter being much more head bobbing, and Muslim of America seeming almost playful and simplistic. From 1-10 I'm thinking a 7.5 sits well with me.

review by Ares Solis
Islamaphonia mailing list

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

Overall impression: very good. 

I don't think I'll ever get sick of new Muslimgauze ... it's an addiction now. "Observe With Sadiq Bey" is an unlimited release from Staalplaat, the 6th Muslimgauze release so far this year with many more to come. The material here is somewhat subdued, minimal and hypnotic (meaning repetitious in a good way). All of these tracks are mid-tempo beat driven pieces and most are little more than a percussion loop, a fat dub-y bass line, an ethnic string loop and a hodgepodge of quiet Middle Eastern dialogue samples. Other elements that pop up here and there include occasional swells of distortion, slightly overdriven bass, static and water. A few tracks that stand out from the rest: "Abou Hamza.." is a little more upbeat and lo-if than the rest, "Daughter.." slowly falls apart in the latter half of the track and "Muslim of America" is a funky old school rap beat-box track with a Muslimgauze twist. There are two versions of "Djerba", the latter having less dialogue and being more overdriven and mastered at a lower volume. "Observe.." is solid through the entire 72+ minutes, a good mix of short and long tracks none of which require skipping. Kudos to Staalplaat for filling the CD up and releasing it as an unlimited edition. As usual for Muslimgauze, the artwork is superb: the front and back covers, the insert and beneath the CD tray all contain intriguing color and b/w photos of past desert scenes, as well as a b/w picture of Sadiq Bey. Jones' message is loud and clear on this release, thanks to the 1998 quote from PLO leader Yasser Arafat inside: "The Israeli occupiers have made all the possible efforts that could be made by any colonialist to change the face of Palestine and to deny the existence of the Palestinians". You may not agree with Bryn Jones' politics, but you cannot deny the passion and focus of his cause and legacy ...

review by Mark Weddle
CD & Live Show Reviews

The following appeared on AmbiEntrance.

The politically pounding sounds of Muslimgauze live on. Yet another post-mortem release which reinforces Bryn Jones incredibly prolific output, Observe with Sadiq Bey covers familiar territories, but does so with the typically spirited panache which makes his (over 90!) recordings worthwhile every time.

Many assorted vocal snippets, from anguished exclamations to persuasive Middle Eastern politispeak, are expertly woven into the straightforwardly ethnic rhythms of State of Palestine. Darker, and infused with various whispers, In Turkish Quarters receives extra punch from a throbbing bass-line. More whispered words, sinuous strings (actually, the same guitar riff as heard in Thief of Sand from the Azure Deux collection) and multiple bass-lines are peppered with scattershot drumming and exotic cymbalism in Delicate Prey Desend.

Fluctuating volume and distortion levels affect Murmur you support the Arabs, a slow guitar tune backed by a steady drumming. Bagel of Poison is topped with a distortedly dubby bass and spirited metallic clanging, as well as cut-and-paste Arabic language bits. Featuring extremely muffled percussive effects and a distant shimmer, Bitter years is a very quiet three-minute piece, to be followed by..

50 Bitter years; a longer, louder version of the same in which everything is clearer, including meandering strings and more conversation (with a few English words even, concerning "freedom fighters"). Submerged beneath Abou Hamza on cassette tape's stop-and-go percussion barrage, another dub-flavored bass steadfastly churns. The sultry Middle Eastern-style drum-and-bass of Djerba (11:22) is injected with male and female ethnic speech patterns (and even some war cry whooping ala stereotypical American Indians) and less often, odd electronic waves.

The starker percussion of Daughter of the Crescent Moon is backed by a buzzing haze and dub rhythms, somewhat disintegrating toward its end, revealing a familiar string riff. Strutting briefly down the dancier side, the beats of Muslim of America (1:21) are funkier and the air is sliced by distortions. Softer and about three minutes shorter, Djerba reappears in an altered, buzzier form. Bass-lines thread between steadily pattering beats and electro-grunge. The music fades prematurely, leaving behind cryptic whispers.

Other than a slightly more-than-usual usage of spoken samples perhaps, I can't see that Observe with Sadiq Bey is so much different from many other Muslimgauze releases. But the determined sense of spirit (regardless of listeners' own political leanings) is so pronounced as to make each release a fresh entity unto itself, not to mention the transportive Middle Eastern styles and rhythms. This 8.6 observation is no exception to Jones' exceptional sound journeys.

review by David J. Opdyke
This review originally appeared on AmbiEntrance July 25, 1999

The following appears on Amazon.com.

Psychedelic Arabian styled hip-hop/d&b.

I have bought quite a few Muslimgauze releases and this is one of my favorite. The sound is truly exquisite Muslimgauze, the album flows like a warm desert wind with waves of Arabic influences. Here Muslimgauze stretches between ambient grooves, hip-hop attitude and drum & bass beats to bring together one of his most fluid albums to date,that is NOT a special limited release, so if you have been thinking about purchasing a album from Muslimgauze this would be the one I would recommend.

Benjamin Harris (Tacoma, WA, United States, September 25, 2000 )
Amazon.com

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