Release date: July, 1999
Following hot on the heels of "Box Of Silk And Dogs", another new issue in the Muslimgauze limited series. One CD with a return to the more harsh, up tempo work dating back to "Izlamaphobia" and "Deceiver".
People have asked us whether this and other new work, were just out takes lying around. Everything Bryn Jones sent to his labels was ready for release in his opinion, otherwise he didn't send it.
Package wise "Azad" is something special again. Black jewel case with transparent lid and tray (it looks so simple, but is not an industry standard!) with all the information silk screened on it, like Muslimgauze's Remixs Vol. 3. The print work is unique with every CD and is recycled Arab newspapers with the name Muslimgauze in laser cut. Last but not least with every CD there is original, and real, paper money from Arab countries.
Press release from Staalplaat.
The following appeared on StarVox.
Yes. Two Muslimgauze reviews in one month. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze, or new to it, you will soon find that the body of work he left behind in his short life, was staggering. Had he lived past January of last year, I assure you I would not have just two Muslimgauze pieces to review, I would likely have about seven. A slight exaggeration, but not by much.
"Azad" begins softly, with brain-tickling beats, deep bass grooves, bird songs, and various electrical noisefunk variations- the culmination of which is the masterful blend of sights, smells, sounds, and emotions we've come to call Muslimgauze. This album is more playful and adventurous feeling than some of the others- the dervish is not whirling quite so desperately.
Where some Muslimgauze albums feel to me like being strapped to the back of a jet-propelled camel, racing through a sandstorm across a long lonely desert floor, "Azad," is more like being on the camel by choice, and just loping through the oasis. This one doesn't peel the skin of your face back. (Not that such an effect is ever a bad thing!)
If you've never heard Muslimgauze before, and these reviews have made you curious, this album wouldn't be a bad place to start. It's accessible to those not quite acclimated to more intense noise music, and it's complex enough to be interesting and invigorating even to the most jaded audio-psychonaut. If you do choose to purchase this piece, no, nothing is wrong with your stereo. It really does cut out and flutter like that. It really does make all those strange stops and starts amidst the funk and the clatter and the chatter and the joy.
Don't adjust your monitors, it's only the spirit of Muslimgauze, saying, "Wake up, wake up, wake up..." (And by the way. "Azad" means "free.")
review by Kirin
This review originally appeared on StarVox November, 1999.
The following appeared on On Record.
Through his whole musical career under the Muslimgauze moniker, British Bryn Jones displayed an almost fanatical fascination for the Arab world. He released a countless amount of albums, combining oriental rhythms and tunes with modern studio technology, before his tragic demise earlier this year. But despite the fast pace in which his albums were issued, there are still lots of completed material in the vaults waiting to be released.
One of these long since finished albums is "Azad", released in Staalplaat's Muslimlim series. "Azad" is mostly the ordinary array of pseudo-oriental music: intricate tablas rhythms and strange melodies stretched into repetitive soundscapes, echoing - at least in my ears - of both a mythological Far East and, somewhere in the distance, a damp Britain.
But the most fascinating moments appear when Jones creates some sort of sharp-edged drum'n'bass. Then there is often a raw tension between the clappering percussion and the minimalistic loops. "Camel Bag" is also an exhilarating piece, that buzzes with electricity in a way that many other songs could well do.
It may be that my ears are untrained, but Bryn Jones ideas don't always work all the way through. He often lets the songs go on for many more minutes than they should. Despite this he should have all credit for sticking to his visions with such persistence. I can't help but wonder, though: are there really people who listen to every Muslimgauze release?
review by Krisiffer Noheden
This review originally appeared on On Record November 9, 1999.
The following appears on Epinions.com.
Azad is another wonderful posthumous Muslimgauze release. The simple fact is, Bryn Jones, the singular force that was Muslimgauze, produced so much original music that he had more projects already completed, than could've been released in his lifetime.
This is another limited edition disk in a printing of 1000. Each disk is hand-numbered, and the CD insert is a piece of Arab newspaper, with the logo "M u s l i m g a u z e" laser-cut from the paper. The plastic case is embossed in a fancy font with the word "Azad" on the front, and the black plastic tray has the song titles embossed on it. The disk is silk screened in three colours. Several of the disks came with paper money from the Gulf slid underneath the tray liner, my copy came with cash [#340/1000 copies].
In contrast to the lavish detail of the packaging, we have stripped-down dubby Muslimgauze, for the most part. Heavy bass loops, Middle-Eastern percussion and woodwinds, occasional strings. Add the loopy nature sounds, birds [Turmeric Sahara Gaze] and you're back in the world that Bryn Jones created, and that is a truly smashing place to be, especially this time around. Another of the "new Muslimgauze classics?" Absolutely! Some say these disks that were released after Bryn's death are some of his greatest work of all. I would have to agree. For what it's worth, these posthumous releases [Azad, Sufiq, Your Mines in Kabul, Ayatollah Dollar, Baghdad, and several others] make me feel that Mr. Jones was arriving at a place where he was in ecstasy, creating his music. That comes through to me, your mileage may vary, but not if you listen loud, and often!
In order to comprehend Muslimgauze, you must own and listen to multiple releases. Many of his works are available, still ... there are re-release schedules for some of his work. I purchase most of the Muslimgauze from the WWW.
review by durto
Epinions.com (October 19, 2000)
The following appears on Amazon.com.
When I first heard Azad, it was like explosion to my senses. This German rapper originally Muslin offers the unique euphony, the state of art instrumentals combined with explosive rhymes. If you don't speak German, believe me you'll miss some great rhymes. Not even that, but he got some great video clips, which you can catch on VIVA music channel. If you respect hip-hop you must hear this CD, no matter you understand language or not, this is spectacular vibe.
A Music Fan (January 27, 2004)
see also Azad, Box Of Silk And Dogs, Fakir Sind & Hand Of Fatima & Azad & Fakir Sind
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Azad Azad (digital re-issue)
May 25, 2020