The veiled sisters can be found throughout this lavishly designed and packaged double CD: they're looking at you from the moment you pick it up, and they're inside when you open it. But much like Muslimgauze itself the real meaning of the 'veiled sisters' is hidden from view. For close to ten years Afghan rebels fought a guerrilla war against occupying forces from the Soviet Union. Their veiled sisters were guns: the Katyusha and the Kalashnikov, kept always at hand, but never seen. The 21 songs on this release are grouped into six suites, spread over two discs, and running well beyond two hours. The music on 'Veiled Sisters' is surprising, not for any hidden guns or implied violence but because it is perhaps Muslimgauze's most human. This album breaths and sighs with true humanity, so much so that it's not hard to imagine yourself in occupied Palestine, sitting at an outdoor market cafe, joining in conversations and sharing in other peoples lives.
Press release from Soleilmoon.
The following appeared on Concept.
From his prolific production, Bryn Jones offers us a CD duplicate of musical transcendence. As with "Betrayal" we float in an atmospheric realm where we mingle with the snarling dreams of a world fighting for its survival. Descent is impossible, the material world is no more. Alone exists its dreams, its nightmares, its fantasies. Let yourself be carried away by the cadences and drown your souls in bottomless wells, that are veiled sister eyes let lose, by the winds of the desert and the undulating heat of the camp fires. From the tent of the Bedouin to the emir's palace, while passing by the mullah's home, go from this world and dance your joy. To live a free man.
review by Cyrille Sottile
translation by T @ The Edge with the use of Power Translator
The following appears in All Music Guide.
Muslimgauze's first double-disc release of any kind, while demonstrating Jones' increasing ambition, has not held up well over time in the eyes of many fans, in comparison to other albums. The heart of the problem is that for an effort running over two hours, Veiled Sisters is extremely one-note; the basic sound and flow of the discs at the start don't change at all by their end. While Muslimgauze does work within a particular stylistic zone, to be sure, things here simply don't vary. The music consists of light electronic drum/cymbal sounds with an occasional drop-in of more "natural" percussion sounds, subliminal bass, and very gentle keyboard melodies and drones, all combined with a series of random conversational samples in Arabic. It is initially rather nice, but it can test an audience's patience as the discs continue. This said, while the variances in the pieces are astoundingly slight throughout, what changes do occur have a greater impact than expected as a result. Thus, the conclusion of the "Submit to Sharia/Qasidah Murmur/Lebanon" combination on the first disc, when the music temporarily drops out near the end over a floating bed of soft, shadowy keyboards before returning one last time, has a much more gripping feeling to it than might otherwise be predicted. Ultimately, the enjoyment of Veiled Sisters will depend on listeners' enthusiasm for Muslimgauze to begin with, and whether or not they simply let it go at its own pace; though not a peak in Bryn Jones' musical career, it still has a certain something to it nonetheless. [Side note: while the album is listed as having 21 songs, the CD mastering and editing of the songs in practical terms make it three separate tracks per disc.]
review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide
The following appears on AmbiEntrance.
One of the more-filmic/less-aggressive entries I've uncovered in the vast Muslimgauze library of ethno-drum excursions, this two-disc set (62:30 and 66:13 respectively) weaves loads of conversational Middle-Eastern fragments and locational sounds into dreamily drifting expanses marked by light beats and more-than-usual filtered-guitar strums. Multiple pieces are combined into three long tracks per disc; for instance, the first cinematically unfolding track (24:58) encompasses Shamal Aquabah, PLO Flag, Veiled Sisters and Dust in its hypnotically arid grooves, dusty drones and variously populated scenes. Softly thrumming ethnic strings and humming electronics are dappled with almost-delicate percussive elements in Oil Field/Mohajir (14:39), often whirling in a dreamlike slur.
Draped in shimmering curtains and decorative cymbal accents, the second disc (a.k.a. Sister two) performs similar transportive illusions, bringing three (or twelve) more exotic other-worlds into your ears. Behind the light drum sounds of the third track, containing Pasha, Farouche Charpoy, Halal, Sadu and Zupol, a looping gauze of airy guitar shimmers. Highly recommended for the extended atmospherics, if you're not offended by the politics of the "Dedicated to the PLO..." message.
review by Link O'Rama (a.k.a. David J. Opdyke)
This review originally appeared on AmbiEntrance March, 2001
The following appears on Amazon.com.
Great, ambient Muslimgauze.
Veiled Sisters showcases Muslimgauze's ambient (with beats) style. Subdued drums, dark atmospheres, and the usual samples. The songs are very long and segmented, but never boring. One part drifts seamlessly into the next. It sound stylistically similar to Maroon. Very highly recommended.
I have close to 50 Muslimgauze recordings and it's true that a lot of them sound very similar. However, having listened to a lot of ambient Muslimgauze, I feel this is one his strongest purely ambient releases. If you're really into his West Bank style with wild percussion, this might not be of interest. As far as ambient Muslimgauze goes, you can't go wrong with Veiled Sisters.
Steward Willons (July 6, 2006)
January 29, 2017