Al Aqsa Intifada

This item appeared on the Islamaphonia 2 mailing list.

Overall a strong work, 40 minutes long, featuring a clear crescendo from track 1 to track 6.

Plain artwork, mainly composed of pictures; the CD itself bears an English/Arabic text.

First track, original mix, is the least interesting of the lot being too un-Rootsman and un-Muslimgauze. It is anyhow a good platform for the following mixes, could have been cut shorter of a full minute. An Arab female voice in foreground is its main feature.

Second track, original dubwise, goes definitely dub. A shorter but much stronger version, here you can feel Rootsman and hint some Muslimgauze.

Third track, the Rootsman remix, is what you expect: a perfected version of the original mix. Definitely better, I wonder if the original mix was a compromise between the two artists, as all of their respective versions are way above it.

Fourth track, the Rootsman dub remix, starts slowly and creeps up. A classic dub in the beginning, similar to the dubwise mix, turns to Asian dub sounds halfway, then closes going back to where it started.

Fifth track, Muslimgauze remix, bends sharply: distorted loops, voice fractures and goes in background, some more loops are added. This is Muslimgauze, no doubt, an excellent Muslimgauze.

Sixth track, Muslimgauze version two, is much longer, more than 11 minutes. It's unsurprisingly the most complex track, adding several percussions loops and going up and down, back and forth over the previous mix. The mute button gets its fair share, Bryn couldn't resist pushing it! No doubt, this is my favourite track.

review by DJ Lando
Islamaphonia 2 Mailing List

The following appeared in The Wire.

In a more radical style, The Rootsman meets his late friend from over the Pennines, Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze, on a track jointly recorded way back when. The six tracks on this limited edition (500) CD single get more progressively brutal, right up to the final mix when Muslimgauze totally breaks it down with a version that will truly test the evil of compression wherever it may be found.

review by Steve Barker
This text originally appeared in The Wire magazine (issue # 223).

This item appeared on the Islamaphonia 2 mailing list.

Six tracks all of the same title, just different remixes. There are two Muslimgauze mixes at the end of the CD. This is some up beat drum and bass sounding Muslimgauze sampled material. It remains in the same Muslimgauze theme, but musically sequenced with added funky bass lines.

The second track again, similar to the first, resides in a drum and bass field. This has some interesting psychedelic sounding qualities. A good stereo system would do this track nicely. It is a little more dubby than the first, and with added echo effects.

Tracks three and four are the furthest away from the Muslimgauze sound. They all have elements of dub, but more in the techno domain. This is purely tribal techno. Each track becomes a little more experimental.

Track five and six are clearly Muslimgauze sounds. Still remaining upbeat and in series with the other remixes/mixes. The last two tracks present a nice contrast from Bryn Jones' ambient works and his drum and bass counterparts. Track six presents another dance oriented remix from Bryn Jones. The beat swirls from foreground to background.

The art work is very thought provoking. I am sure Bryn Jones would have liked it.

review by jackthetab
Islamaphonia 2 Mailing List

This item appeared in Dusted Magazine.

After nearly 100 albums over 20 years, the late Bryn Jones has to be one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century. Because no label or collaborator could keep up with Jones’ massive Muslimgauze production, and because of his untimely death in 1999, a vast, but slowly depleting catalogue of unheard material exists, one that grows smaller with each posthumous release.

Al Aqsa Intifada is the third Muslimgauze collaboration with reggae alchemist the Rootsman. Inspired by the Palestinian uprising against Israeli violence, the title speaks for itself. The album is broken down into thirds – the first segment consists of the original Muslimgauze/Rootsman collaboration, while the second and third are individual versions by each artist.

The original collaboration of “Al Aqsa Intifada” opens with oud strings cleaved by explosive distorted bass, like mortar shells of funk. The sensual voice of a Palestinian female exhorts an uprising to the sweep of Middle Eastern strings. The tone, urgent and stirring, maintains anthemic ferocity throughout. The dub edit is largely the same, only steeped in reverb and delay, resulting in a hybrid mutant of dub and Middle Eastern music (not surprising given the personnel).

It is a treat to absorb each artists' slant to the edit via their remixes. The remix also helps distinguish what Muslimgauze and the Rootsman brought to the original material; beats supplied by the former, dub effects from the latter. While the Rootsman exercises restraint, Muslimgauze was a Tasmanian devil at the mixing board. The Rootsman edits have a smoother flow, but are rife with intensity, driven by more danceable rhythms and more bass. Tension and release take turns as a stream of beats interact with dub echoes. While impressive, the Rootsman’s mix is eclipsed by the more flamboyant and adventurous Muslimgauze versions, where out-and-out assault replace tension and release. For one thing, Jones has a habit of slamming the gain to preposterous levels so that the bass growls and beats lumber like a massive dinosaur, accentuated by his scatterbrained panning and sample use. These mixes hint at one Muslimgauze’s later fixations – dancehall reggae and hip hop. Somewhere between dub, industrial and the Middle East resides Muslimgauze, happy to dwell in the shadows of each of them.

review by Ibrahim Khider
Dusted Magazine (May 13, 2004)

This item appeared in The Quietus.

Emotional Rescue to reissue Muslimgauze's groundbreaking Suns of Arqa remixes on vinyl for the first time

Originally released on CD in 1996, Bryn Jones' Muslimgauze remixes of dance-dub outfit Suns of Arqa are to be reissued on vinyl by the superb Emotional Rescue label.

Despite his untimely death at the age of just 38, Bryn Jones was as prolific as he was illusive under the moniker of Muslimgauze. Shrouded in Jones' fascination with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his staunch support for the Palestinian cause, his Muslimgauze projects were often restricted to limited editions on small independent labels, creating a cult around his output that is yet to receive the retrospective it deserves.

Having sought to work with Michael Wadada of Sons of Arqa, Jones received the master tapes of the band's Arka Sound album and created a series of remixes that combined the ethno-dub of Wadada's band with Muslimgauze's industrial cut-up atmospherics and fascination for Eastern drone.

The result was years ahead of its time, often confrontational and bleak, creating a powerful vision of ancient mysticism fed through and distorted by the post-industrial landscape of modern conflict.

The LP Sons of Arqa – Muslimgauze Remixes will be released on screen-printed vinyl on 10th June by Emotional Rescue.

The Quietus (May 17, 2013)

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Al Aqsa Intifada Al Aqsa Intifada (digital re-issue)

January 9, 2017