Dark Transmissions

Muslimgauze was the stage name of Bryn Jones (June 17, 1961 - January 14, 1999), a prolific British electronic music artist, strongly influenced by everything to do with the Middle East.

The name Muslimgauze was derived from the word "muslin", which is a type of gauze, and changed into an adjective describing the area in which he was interested. He was a staunch supporter of Hamas and the PLO, and he believed Palestine should be "freed from the Zionists." Born in Manchester, England, United Kingdom, he never visited the Middle East, explaining, "I don't think you can visit an occupied land. It's the principle. Not until it's free again."

He first began making music in 1982, under the alias of E.g Oblique Graph, to protest the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He released three cassettes and a 7" EP as E.g Oblique Graph: Extended Play (1982), Piano Room (1982), the 7" Triptych (1982), and Inhalt (1983). After he changed his name to Muslimgauze, he released a 7" EP (Hammer & Sickle), his first full-length LP (Kabul), and another cassette (Opaques) in 1983. In 1990, the Australian record label Extreme signed him, which he left in 1994 for Dutch label Staalplaat and its sister American label Soleilmoon because his releases were not being released as promptly as he had wanted and he was also not receiving payment, and since he had put forth seven releases since he signed, money was becoming a problem. His output was always very high. In 1995, he had six releases; in 1996, fifteen; in 1997, nine; in 1998, sixteen. After his death, the many record companies he had associated with released unreleased material and repressed older, out-of-print material. In 1999, the year of his death, twenty-two new (and old) albums and EPs on several media were released.

Strongly against the use of computers and samplers in music, Jones always recorded his music with old analog equipment, which were never from the United States or Japan. He would record himself playing various Middle Eastern instruments and record voices of Middle Eastern people from old tapes. Jones's music was heavily percussive; a review of a rare live performance notes that Jones used a "backing DAT tape with pretty harsh, rhythmic textures, his sort of patented spiralling hypnotic beat, to which he played on two or three different drums with great skill." He actually never looped his music; it was all recorded live, and edited/mixed afterwards. The end result was often loud and staticky, with sudden changes in volume. Jones was never concerned with how many copies of his record were sold, or even how much listeners enjoyed his music, but rather how original his music was.

The Muslimgauze discography is vast. He released over 90 original albums on 32 different record labels, creating nearly 2,000 original songs. Many of his pieces were inspired by political facts or events. Many of his releases have been repressed as, after 1994, most of his albums were released in limited editions of usually 200-1,000. Including re-pressings, he has 180 releases at the time of this writing, but the number is rapidly increasing.

Jones disliked live shows and was rarely asked to do them, which is why Muslimgauze performances were so rare. He has always stated that he never had time to listen to other people's music, although in a 1992 interview with Impulse Magazine, he mentioned that he enjoys traditional music of Japan, the Middle East, and India, as well as the works of artists such as Can, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, and Faust. However, despite a few collaborations, Jones didn't trust anyone when it came to remixing his music. Instead, he would usually take pieces of music that were sent to him and remix them to his own liking.

On Wednesday, December 30, 1998, Bryn was rushed to the hospital in Manchester with an unknown illness. He had a rare fungal infection in his bloodstream, and he had to be heavily sedated all the time. His body eventually shut down, and he died at 22:50 GMT on Thursday, January 14, 1999.

Muslimgauze piece on Dark Transmissions

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