Extreme Media Release (1994)
For more than a decade, Muslimgauze has been creating their own musical mix of Western and Eastern cultures. Influenced by the Middle East, where music, culture and politics are inseparable, their releases are interesting musically as well as though provoking politically.
This Manchester-based group started in the "post-industrial" eighties with the first project being E.g Oblique Graph, a cassette released in 1982. They evolved into Muslimgauze as a response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Before that time they were just interested in music but at that point they turned their attention to politics. This influence has remained a constant in their music.
With each release being influenced by the politics and figureheads of Iran/India/Afghanistan/Libya and, of primary concern, the Palestinians and the P.L.O., there has been and continues to be a constant source of inspiration for Muslimgauze. They listen to traditional Japanese, Middle Eastern and Indian music, and acknowledge the influence of such contemporary artists as Can, T.G., Wire, Faust, Neu and other German electronic music.
The members of the group have remained somewhat enigmatic to the public, but the driving force has always been Bryn Jones. Having previously been a graphic designer, he took up a career in music as a consequence of being part of the ground breaking evolution of punk and industrial music in the late 70's. Throughout the years, Jones, as the lead member of Muslimgauze, has produced unique and thought provoking releases, where influences transcend boundaries. Various musicians have been contributors on different releases but it has been the vision of Bryn Jones that has created the identity of Muslimgauze.
The first Muslimgauze release was an LP called "Kabul" in 1983, this being influenced by Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. This was soon followed by "Hunting Our With an Aerial Eye" in 1984, and numerous releases on LP followed, many issued by the group's own label, Limited. Muslimgauze signed to Extreme in 1990 and this saw the release of "Intifaxa", the first of many landmark releases on the label. Since then there have been three more Muslimgauze release on Extreme, "United States of Islam" in 1991, "Zul'm" in 1992 and "Citadel" in 1994. This has been augmented by the CD single "Bhutto" in 1992 and the EP "Infidel" in 1994. Each release on Extreme has shown a development and diversity to the music of Muslimgauze.
Bryn Jones has said, "The music can be listened to without an appreciation of its political origin, but I hope that after listening the person then asks why it's called what it is and from this finds out more about the subject. It's up to them. Go out and discover."
Man I have just recently turned on and tuned into the vibe created by Muslimgauze. I have to admit its completely enthralling. As tribal and dark as it can get, sweeping down to the depths of Turkish prisons or to ancient camps of Moorish soldiers preparing to do battle damn this is a groove. Light on synthetic sound heavy on traditional drumming (real or Memorex I don't know) this group captures its own niche in ethnic techno. Brooding ambient pieces with bits of the local farmers black-market lingo sampled for good measure help to break the intense mood created by the stripped out tribal beats. I don't know if they throw raves out in the Arabian Desert or not, but if they do I could only imagine...
Don't get turned off by the political titles or cover art, Khadafy, Khomeini abound. Just slip Vote Hezbollah or Coup de Tat/Abu Nidal in for your dose of IDM Ali Babba style.
As Europe recovers, little by little, its voice; by creations of multiple artistic groups anchored in the European mind, we can note also that the orient is not left out. This is thanks to the very interesting productions of Muslimgauze, a group born in Manchester. Their recordings are made available by, among others, labels like Extreme and Staalplaat.
Himself inspired by the political situation of the Muslim world, Muslimgauze evokes, by his spellbinding percussion, fights led by all these people that "will have need of a voice always."
Albums like "Iran", "Uzi", "The Rape Of Palestine", "Intifaxa", "United States Of Islam", "Bhutto", or "Zul'm" are unambiguous political declarations in honor of Palestinians, Iranians, Lebanese or Afghans; who endure western imperialism.
But Muslimgauze doesn't satisfy itself by evoking the struggle of the Arabian people and the Muslim conscience. Every piece recalls to us the Orient of Saladin, of the Great Father of the Martaque and his Hashascheem, Balbek and Babylon, Baghdad and Jerusalem, Darius and the Persia empire. Of the Orient that disappears under the American bombs and under western oil company derricks.
We heartily recommend the monitoring of the albums of Muslimgauze. As they advocate a worthy Orient and to trust this magic Orient that endures the West's puffed up destructive pride.
copyright: Concept - Cyrille Sottile
translation by T @ The Edge with the use of Power Translator
Bryn Jones is not a practicing Muslim and has never been to the Middle East. His recordings as Muslimgauze however, qualify him as one of the Western artists most explicitly slanted in his favor of the Palestinian liberation movement. Since the Manchester natives works are instrumental, most of the political statement is inherent in the packaging: witness titles such as Fatah Guerrilla, Return of Black September, Hebron Massacre, Vote Hezbollah, United States of Islam and The Rape of Palestine. Jones could be a potentially controversial figure if his releases were available in anything except severely limited editions -- usually less than one thousand copies of each. Despite their lack of prominence, Jones' blend of found-sound Middle Eastern atmospheres with heavily phased drones and colliding rhythm programs are among the most startling and unique in the noise underground.
Formed in 1982 to protest the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Muslimgauze's first release was the Hammer & Sickle EP, which appeared in 1983 as a response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. During the 1980s, Jones averaged almost two Muslimgauze albums per year, plus additional EPs and limited releases (of 500 copies each). With 1990's Intifaxa, he earned his first release on Extreme Records, an American (ed. Australian) label with releases by Robert Rich and Paul Schütze. Five albums followed for Extreme in the next four years, while a half-dozen were released on the Dutch Staalplaat, distributed in the States as well through Soleilmoon. As the decade progressed, Muslimgauze output became even more concentrated -- five albums in 1994, six a year later, and an unbelievable eight LPs in 1996. The experimental/noise underground gradually increased in visibility during the late '90s, with Muslimgauze production gradually encompassing heavier beats and a style close in execution to post-industrial beat-heads Techno Animal, Download and Scorn.
The Muslimgauze project ended tragically in 1999 when Jones died suddenly of a rare blood disease; a number of posthumous releases including Lo-Fi India Abuse and the nine-disc Box of Silk and Dogs soon followed.
written by John Bush for the All-Music Guide
For almost two decades, the late, confoundedly prolific Bryn Jones created music largely in a genre of his own making. The Muslimgauze project began as Jones' reaction to the Palestinian struggles, aided by a changing line-up of elusive others. Middle Eastern rhythms, vocalizations and instruments provide the source for complex, often aggressive, cutting-edge studio techniques that range from digital collage to fluid textural ambiance. At times his arrangements extend into heavy Dub dread, jagged dissonance and even skirt the periphery of western dance club beats. His bittersweet fusion of beautiful, soul-stirring music never steps far from its serious political intentions. Though the tracks are devoid of English, Muslimgauze cover art and titles state their position clearly to anyone familiar with Middle Eastern political conflicts. The music occupies the precarious position of existing in direct opposition to western imperialism while using western classical music as source material.
written by Marc Kate for listen.com
January 30, 2017