Occupied Territories

available: July 23, 1996

Manchester based Muslimgauze is one of the most uncompromising artists music biz has ever seen. His music is as extreme as the political motivation that goes with it. For more then 15 years, Muslimgauze produces rhythmic oriented music that defies any description. Sometimes lush ambient dub textures, sometimes fierce ethno rhythms. Events in Middle East is his main inspiration. Organizations such as Hezbollah can find Muslimgauze among their supporters. Since 1993 Muslimgauze is under contract with Staalplaat (The Netherlands) and Soleilmoon (USA). Their warm support give Muslimgauze the chance to work free and without any compromise.

Many of today's musicians owe a great deal to the Muslimgauze sound. That's why Staalplaat invited a host of groups from today's techno, house and related scene to take the extreme work of Muslimgauze and give that work dance floor abilities. The reactions were overwhelming and the music we go goes into many directions. Therefore we are able to present (with pride!) double CD. Disc One ('Occupied Beats') takes you onto the dance floor with dubby oriented music of O Yuki Conjugate and their off shoots Sons Of Silence and Clicka, Drome, Extremadura, the fucked up jungle of Self- Transforming Elves or the straight forward housy remixes of Human Being Elke Day (who have a connection with Exquisite Corpse) or LOSD. The second disc ('Occupied Frequencies') goes straight into weirdness, emphasizing the moody and atmospheric side of Muslimgauze, in remixes by Nonplace Urban Field, :zoviet*France: and Quest. Or the extremeness of People Like us, Starfish Pool and the master himself ... Occupied Territories is a remix tribute to one of the strongest voices in music today: Muslimgauze!.

Press release from Staalplaat.

The following appeared in Vital Weekly.

Occupied Territories (Muslimgauze Remix Project)

The furor created by the book 'The Satanic Verses' resulted in me not only having to don a beard each time I nip out for a pack of fags or a violent Hong Kong viddie; it also meant that I had to apologize a lot to members of the fastest growing religious cult for making a load of dosh off what was perceived as an insult. I vowed then never to write about anything muzzelmen again, but when this double CD package arrived, quite mysteriously on my desk, I realised I would have to stick my neck out, as it were. A short while ago, well about a year, I guess, the main purveyors of Mr. Gauze's endless emissions commissioned a bunch of remixes from an interesting cross-section of musicians/composers, who actually got it together and returned some material on DAT. The best were carefully isolated and sequenced under two headings; Occupied Beats and Occupied Frequencies.

The first CD, not surprisingly, has drums and stuff on it, with some beautiful contributions from Sons Of Silence (are we happy?), Human Beings (open that filter,close that filter), O Yuki Conjugate (bit too long this one) and S.T.M.E. (ripping, angular drum and bass). LØSD end the first CD (after a rather flabby contribution by the Zion Trainers) with a slow languid valium trip-hopperty type of a thing. Nonplace Urban Field, Drome by another name, starts the second CD with a wonderful piece which I much prefer to his other track in this pack. :zoviet*France: plummet to the depths of bass with their contribution and a certain Bryn Jones (no relation to Tom) provided two versions of Abuse. The first, which clocks in at 1'40 is one of his better works, not because it is so short but because it's sounds so bloody good. People Like Us provide an uncharacteristic but reasonably effective Muzzel Of Deceit and Panasonic close the set, sounding quite unlike themselves ... I mean there are other noises besides a kick drum!

Brightly packaged, something for everyone, mostly good ... in fact one of the better thematic compilations I have heard this year.

review by Frans de Waard
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The following appears in the Fallout R3V13W 4R34.

"Occupied Territories" is a remix CD "a tribute, if you want" of Muslimgauze songs. The names of remixers are quite impressive :Zoviet*France, Self Transforming Machine Elves, Nonplace Urban Field, Drome, Panasonic and our own Belgian Starfish Pool. In fact we are dealing here with a double CD: the first disc is called "Occupied Beats", and -how did you guess- contains more danceable material.

The remix of "Maroon of Gaza" by Human Being is a real floor filler. Elke Dag is a side project of Exquisite Corpse, which in turn is a split-off of Psychic Warriors Of Gaia. Guaranteed dance floor stuff with no expiration date.

The second disc is called "Occupied Frequencies" and is more experimental. It opens with a remix of Khan Younis by Nonplace Urban Field, and personally I think its one of the best pieces of music on the CD: not only because Khan Younis is quite difficult to find (it was located on Shekel Of Israeli Occupation, but this CD was cancelled), but also because KY is one of Muslims most hypnotizing songs, and NUF did a great job by preserving these enchanting rhythms. "Muzzled" is a typical product of Zoviet*France (industrial ambient); Drome, Panasonic and Starfish Pool transform the Muslim sound in dark, humming amorphous structures of sound. Great!For once the sleeve design is really terrible, but dont let that keep you from grabbing this disc from your local CD store. A must buy..

review by Dark Companion
Fallout

The following appeared in Feedback Monitor.

Experimental music and extreme politics have been bedfellows for quite some time, from the often fascist imagery of early innovators Throbbing Gristle, to the ferociously leftist stance of Test Dept., to the "is he or isn't he?" Nazi flirtations of Boyd Rice. But perhaps the most controversial artist of this sort in recent memory has been Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze, a Manchester-based musician whose support of the extremist factions of the PLO, Hamas, and other Palestinian rights groups have led to his being branded a rabid anti-Semite (a term that is somewhat of a misnomer in this context since the Arabs that Jones supports are as Semitic as the Israelis he opposes).

At this point, I could start delving into questions such as whether or not Jones' pro-Palestine/anti-Israel stance indicates that he bears a hatred towards the entire Jewish people. But since this is a column about music, not politics, I'll skip the rhetoric and get right to the sounds, and believe me when I write that in the case of Muslimgauze, there are a lot of sounds to discuss! Jones is as prolific as he is controversial; although I can't claim to know for sure, I would guess that he averages at least one release a month, many of them insanely limited editions on a multitude of labels.

Of the recent batch, the one which caught my attention the most is also the most atypical of the lot: a double CD called Occupied Territories (Staalplaat/Soleilmoon) that features the Arabic-flavoured beats, loops and drones of Muslimgauze filtered through the production desks of a wide variety of UK and European electronic and experimental artists, including O Yuki Conjugate, Drome, Panasonic and People Like Us. As with most projects of this sort, some of the remixers have left portions of the source material in a fairly recognizable form, while others have deconstructed the track to the point that little of the original remains, but regardless of the approach taken, the end results are all impressive. It's also worth mentioning Deutsch Nepal, Fetisch Park and many others on the excellent & eclectic Sonderangebot compilation released by Staalplaat to commemorate a month long festival they held in Berlin this past August.

review by Greg Clow
This item originally appeared in a Feedback Monitor Column January, 1997.

The following appeared in Nouvelles Harmonies.

Another new Muslimgauze? How far will he go? Good thing I'm not a real fan, otherwise I'd be broke already. This release basically consists of remixes by different well-known artists including: :zoviet*France:, Panasonic, Drome, Starfish Pool, Zion Train, S.T.M.E., O Yuki Conjugate, Sons Of Silence and Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze himself). The whole thing stretches over two CDs, one rhythmic ("Occupied Beats"), the other more ambient ("Occupied Frequencies"). This compilation encompasses different styles, among them ambient dub, experimental techno, drum 'n' bass, and trip hop, all of it sprinkled with a certain ethnic quality. These pieces, which are more new creations than standard remixes, are very interesting and musically accomplished, but can't seem to get beyond using beats and rhythms that we've heard a hundred times before in the styles mentioned. This is especially true for the first CD, where O Yuki Conjugate and Sons Of Silence (strange coincidence!) are the only ones who give us anything really original. Zion Train's techno pop is instantly forgettable. Even the second CD, which is better overall, doesn't pull it off completely. It's missing something - a certain consistency which could have made this compilation something a real epic. But we can take some consolation in betting that by next month at the latest, five new Muslimgauze albums will see the light of day.

review by Jean-Marc Boucher
This review originally appeared in Nouvelles Harmonies (now Ellipse) NH 11.2 May, 1997

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The following appeared in City ReVolt.

While being far from jungle, Muslimgauze's "Occupied Territories" (Staalplaat) is also noteworthy. Yes, as odd as it may seem, even Bryn Jones solo Arabic percussion project is sucking-off the nourishing electronica tit. These remixes by Panasonic, Drome, Zion Train, Clika and :zoviet*France: - to name but a few - splinter Bryn's original works in every known direction of the electronic world. From stoner-approved dub and club-sanctioned trance, to somber blobs of reprocessed hand drumming and intangible soundtrack loops, no conceivable ground is left barren.

review by Aaron Johnston
City ReVolt Magazine (May, 1997)

The following appears in All Music Guide.

As both a remix project of and a tribute to Muslimgauze, Occupied Territories is an unexpected but sometimes captivating effort. Most of the names who contributed won't be known outside the extreme experimental/noise circles in which Bryn Jones found himself, if only mostly by association. Finnish minimalists Pan Sonic (appearing here as Panasonic, before the lawsuit kicked in), veteran English fringe artists People Like Us and zoviet*France, along with Jones remixing himself on two tracks, are the most notable contributors here. This said, even practically unknown figures like Extremadura and the Square Root of Sub do their best with the base material; nothing quite achieves the level of Muslimgauze's singular fusion of strains and styles  most contributors focus instead on bringing out one element and concentrating on that  but more than once, things really connect on a grand scale. The first disc, Occupied Beats, unsurprisingly serves up more dance/drum-oriented efforts over the course of ten tracks. Most of the tracks are fairly anonymous, but Clika's "See For Yourself" creates a fair hip-hop/Mid-East fusion, while O Yuki Conjugate's "Unlevel Line" captures both the dreaminess and the rhythm at the heart of Muslimgauze. The second disc, Occupied Frequencies, contains the lion's share of the winners here, with generally more experimental and freeform compositions and re-workings"Muzzled," the nicely mysterious :zoviet*france: entry, Starfish Pool's "Lion of Kandahar" trancey revamp, and Jones' own brief but evocative efforts are just some of the many standouts.

review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide

The following appears in Harmonie.

Again a new Muslimgauze? But how far will he go? It's a good thing one is not a fan in which case we would be ruined already. In fact, it is about remixes done by different artists. Among which are: zoviet*France:, Panasonic, Drome, Starfish Pool, Zion Train, S.T.M.E., O Yuki Conjugate, Sons Of Silence, Legendary Pink Dots and Bryn Jones (Mister Muslimgauze himself). The whole traverses two CDs, one rhythmic ("Occupied Beats"), the other more ambient ("Occupied Frequencies"). This compilation brews various styles: among which one finds ambient dub, experimental techno, drum 'n' bass, trip hop and of course sprinkled amongst the whole a certain dose of ethnic. These pieces, which are new creations more than basic remixes, are musically successful but unfortunately one does not escape the of rhythmic loops already heard a hundred times in the styles previously quoted. This relates especially to the first CD, where O Yuki Conjugate and Sons Of (strange coincidence!) are the only ones to propose a really original remix. The pop techno of Zion Train is to be forgotten as fast as possible. Even the second CD, though more successful, doesn't manage to captivate us completely, it misses something, a certain consistence that could have made this compilation a big collection of remixes. Take comfort us that a new quintuple album of Muslimgauze will probably see the light of day next month, at the latest..

review by BV
Harmonie (Spring,1997)
Translated from French with the assistance of Gist-In-Time and Globalink Power Translator Pro

see also Arab Quarter, Return Of Black September, Re-mixs, Gun Aramaic and Occupied Territories & Return Of Black September, Re-mixs, and Occupied Territories

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