Sufiq

release date: January, 2000

Nine songs, 25 minutes and a few milestones:

It's our first CD of the millennium, the beginning of another hundred CDs bearing the catalog prefix "SOL", and it's our 50th printed catalog. But
it's also been a year since the death of Bryn Jones, AKA Muslimgauze.

"Sufiq" is our first Muslimgauze release to be scheduled after his passing.

Last year we issued four CDs, but all of them were planned in 1997, before he died. His recording output was unmatched by anyone else we know
and we're blessed with nearly 30 finished master recordings, all of which we plan to release in the coming years. "Sufiq" was recorded in November of
1997, just before the beginning of Bryn's last and most productive year.

At the request of his family his royalties are being donated to charity.

Press release from Soleilmoon.

The following appeared on the Islamaphonia mailing list.

As I have been typing this I've been listening to Sufiq and it just ended. This is waaay too short!!!! 25 minutes and 47 seconds of this is all we get? Okay, so this will also be fighting with the second half of Year Zero at my house for a week or so on my CD players. Sufiq is rich, fast-paced, very much reminiscent of the other great stuff he was doing in 1997 (which is when these tracks were recorded). 1996 also comes to mind when listening to this and after a few listens I'm sure you'll know what I mean, there are hints of Deceiver, Izlamaphobia, Jaal Ab Dullah and Tandoori Dog in there. It is one piece to the Muslimgauze jigsaw puzzle that I didn't even realise was missing, the sort of thing that links the noisy, fast upbeat stuff with the heavier and slower Bedouin dub/bass stuff which was also going on around in his music around then. This is a fabulous and very rock solid release with no weak spots in it for my taste. The cover art is a beautiful all white with black accents in Bryn's handwriting which looks very tasteful and again, is a nice touch like the Apollon/Muslimgauze release. It was reasonably priced at $7.99 at my local shop.

review by Ares Solis
Islamaphonia Mailing List

The following appeared on Grinding into Emptiness.

This CD is a milestone on many levels. It is the first released by Soleilmoon in the year 2000, and featured in Soleilmoon's 50th mail catalog. But most importantly it was released on the first anniversary of the death of Bryn Jones, the man behind Muslimgauze.

Recorded in 1997, Sufiq boasts a total of 9 songs that last for just over 25 minutes. "Turkish Sword Swallower" starts off the CD with a drum pattern of tablas that is slightly foreshadowing of Hand of Fatima. The electronic rat-a-tat-a-tat complements this drum pattern well as we hear a long, deep, oboe-like instrument. "How Rustem, the Thief, Moves Through Fire" is the longest track on this album at a little over 5 minutes. It is one of the noisiest dub tracks, with a hyper-speed, electronic tablas rhythm punctuated by short bursts of trumpets. "Jackal The Invizibl" is one of the standout tracks on the CD, with a more hip-hopish, subdued rhythm loop that has two simple but very effective woodwind instruments intoning its presence. That is until a crazy, distorted electronic loop burst it way in for the final 15 seconds or so. Last but not least, the disc closes with "Last Mosque of Herzegovina", with more woodwind instruments and the acoustic tablas drum pattern accompanied with stuttering dub bass. Indeed this is a great CD, perfect for those no-attention-span days as well as inflections of Middle East culture.

The other important aspect of Muslimgauze has always been the artwork. This release is noticeably devoid of any collages or Arabesque imagery. Instead it is merely a white sleeve insert, white CD, and an off-white background. As a result, Bryn's handwriting comes to the forefront in the track titles and the name of the CD. Quite different and special, as the white evokes the purity and sacredness of a man, his vision, and his music, which will not be forgotten..

reviewed by: Stephen Klusza
This review originally appeared on
G R I N D I N G i n t o E M P T I N E S S
(February 21, 2000)

The following appeared in the Freq E-zine.

Sufiq is an EP which really brings home the loss to music Bryn Jones' death was, showcasing nine tracks of his distinctively different take on Middle-Eastern sound sampling. Just check out the titles - "Turkish Sword Swallower", "The Girl Who Sleeps With Persian Tulips", and perhaps most evocatively, "The Last Mosque Of Herzegovina" - and place them in the context of rapid-fire loops of marvellous percussion, wind instruments from all over the Islamic world, strings, and bass. Plenty of bass.

This is one of the finest Muslimgauze EPs this reviewer has heard - and granted, there are a lot out there waiting to be discovered still - dynamic, even groovy sometimes, and a fearsome beast of rhythmic scatterings and drop-out blasts from the ancient horns, the oud, the ney; all slashing across the complex beats with reedy tones of dread and Dervish trance interruptions and electronic treatments. Add in some of Jones' more Reggae-derived dubs, and that bass-boom enthrallment, and Sufiq becomes a dizzying work, crystalline in its production but also quite capable of darkling enchantment as much as hookah glazing of the eyes.

What is particularly unnerving though is the tendency of tracks to stop dead for half-second pauses - a device which heightens the tension and lets the bass undertow pulse below the surface to good effect too. Volume trickery, surprise returns and monolithic low end capable of crumbling the walls of Jericho: there's even a Garagey loop of all things on "Jackal The Invizibl" and something bastardized from House emerging from the murk of "Saracenic Lacquer" (naturally disrupted into something quite subversive) - Sufiq packs voluminous discordancy among the trademark Muslimgauze repetitive beats in a way which transforms the format tangentially until it nearly collapses. Superbly.

review by Freq1C
Freq E-zine

The following appeared in the Totentanz Webzine.

Recorded in 1997, about a year before the passing of Bryn Jones, "Sufiq" is the first Muslimgauze CD to be scheduled for release after this death. It contains 9 short rhythmical pieces, all of them being, as always with Muslimgauze, very influenced by Arabic music.

Relying completely on beats and string melodies, the 26 minutes of "Sufiq" are a very good approach of this important project, and an adequate way to discover the band. These nine tracks, while staying in this very interesting and original atmosphere that Muslimgauze cherishes, are various enough to satisfy a wide range of tastes. While some tracks are almost traditional, other may sound more club oriented ("Jackal the invizibl", for example, reminds of the latest works by Mother Destruction), and some, like "Egyptian sand sifter", feature drumming performance that would impress any fan of drum'n'bass (in a more acoustic way).

This recording takes you swiftly to lands of sands and mosques, bringing you dreams of Arabic fairytales. Compulsory for anybody into the music of this culture, "Sufiq" is, in my opinion, a very pleasant CD that could easily convince you to check out the rest of Muslimgauze's production.

review by Nicolas Chevreux
Totentanz Webzine (September 13, 2000)

note: Totentanz is now Recycle Your Ears

The following comes from the Muze database.

Those keeping a running count will notice that 2000's Sufiq brings the Muslimgauze CD catalog into the triple digits. This mini album is especially significant, as it extends the extraordinary productivity of Muslimgauze auteur Bryn Jones beyond his untimely passing. New Muslimgauze titles have emerged since, but each was scheduled prior to Jones' death in January of 199. Active to the end, Jones left behind a store of finished masters. Sufiq sees the first release of material from this impressive stockpile by Soleilmoon, Jones' devoted Stateside label. Presented in stark, white packaging, with Jones' hand-scrawled track listing adding an especially poignant note, Sufiq is an astonishing Muslimgauze opus and an ideal introduction for the uninitiated. Serpentine sax and meshes of urgent electronic and hand-drum rhythms immediately usher the listener into Jones' singular, sumptuous Saracen sound-world. The powerful "How Rustem, the Thief, Moves Through Fire" casts its spell with jeering brass and prattling beats. "The Girl Who Sleeps with Persian Tulips" steals the breath with rattling breaks and sudden, mischievous stops and leaves a listener drunk on its opulent, Middle-Eastern melodies. Elsewhere, ancient instrumentation binds jarringly contemporary rhythms ("Jackal the Invizibl," "Last Mosque of Herzegovina") in an incantation of timeless enchantment.

Muze

The following appears on Re:mote Induction.

Sufiq is a 25 minute EP, featuring 9 tracks by Muslimgauze. Which starts off with Turkish Sword Swallower - steady rhythms mixing with a sultry smoky atmosphere. A hypnotic, desert dream. How Rustem, The Thief, Moves Through Fire picks the pace up - rapid beats slapped down. The beats mixing with the buzz of the bazaar - wind instruments delivered through cut-ups. At a more mid pace we have Morocco Leather Veil - beats playing with a backing of hard bass and a lightly blown flute. The pace is easy, though there are elements of cuts and manipulations to keep you on your toes. Back up once more, but in a playful way is The Girl Who Sleeps With Persian Tulips. This plays out, then stops and plays once more - string and wind mixed melodies. Egyptian Sand Siffter dives back into the territory of driven rhythms, joined by a more constant wind sound. The rhythms never berate in their striking strokes. With a cut and glitch Muslimgauze style comes Jackal The Invisible - static beats click out rhythms for a wandering bass melody. This creates a steady vibe, at the same time mellow as it is buzzing. Daughter Without Tongue comes with a spaced rhythm, an open sound, over lighter more focused equivalents. A short piece that maintains this level to fade. Leading to Saracenic Lacquer - metallic tapping echo over a lighter tapping rhythm, offering a more mellow suggestion. Another short and steady piece that leads to the conclusion of Last Mosque Of Herzegovina. Middle Eastern rhythms tap out, an off bass bluntly playing along. With that bells jangle and a sharp string strokes, from this a male voice can be heard in sighing deep tones.

review by PTR
Re:mote Induction (December, 2000)

The following appeared on Heimdallr.

Sufiq has been recorded in 1997 and represent the first release out of the works of Bryn Jones since his sad disappearance in January 1999. Although Soleilmoon released 4 CDs of Muslimgauze in 1999, these albums have been planned to be released before Bryn's death. Sufiq is therefore the first record to see the light of day officially since his death. And Soleilmoon announces to have more than 30 masters, which publication will be spread on several years. It is necessary to say that 1998 was the most productive year of Bryn during all his musical career.

One finds here all qualities so particular of Muslimgauze, from the out of breath percussion to the pleasant tambourines, filled with Arabian melodies, amplified by efficient electronic touches coming as much from the vast industrial inheritance as from the dub. A beautiful success within an admirable discography of integrity, as prolific as qualitative, and it is far from stopping..

review by Stéphane Fivaz
Heimdallr (July, 2000)

The following appeared on Electrorage.

With the death of the prolific musician Bryn Jones (AKA Muslimgauze) all the record companies that had, at once, carried anything by him are started to look in their old locker just find something unreleased or exclusive by the project. This has added tons of reissues, collections and retrospective by several labels to the already huge production of Muslimgauze. Soleilmoon didn't missed the boat and the release of the 25 minutes EP Sufiq is just one from a total of 30 upcoming "new" releases (!) for the project. For sure, hardcore fans will be more than pleased with those releases always searching for something new by the master of electro-ethnic music.

As for Sufiq, this is part of several masters which didn't gained the attention and were found in the studio of Jones after his death. This said, this EP was originally recorded in November 1997 which is, according to many fans, one of the most prolific years for the musician. Here, Muslimgauze is ingeniously playing with diverse elements from the musical roots of Palestine (a cause that he was heavily supporting) to create an amalgam of sounds assembled with each others and creating an whole song. As most of the material found on the EP sounds more like primary takes or an essay, Jackal The Invizibl is an exception and is delivering an original technoid piece moving with some subtle noise intrusions.

With this EP and all the 30 masters to be released in the coming years, fans of Muslimgauze are surely asking themselves if Bryn Jones can really rest in peace.

review by Final Man
Electrorage

see also Baghdad & Sufiq & Ayatollah Dollar, Baghdad, Jebel Tariq & Sufiq

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January 31, 2017