Drugsherpa

The following appeared on Mark Weddle's CD & Live Show Reviews page.

Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze) not only wanted to release as much music as frequently as humanly possible, he also desired that it be released on every possible format. Staalplaat obliged with "Drugsherpa", their first ever 3" CD in 1995, which has just now been re-released. The oh so cute 3" disc comes in an equally cute gatefold pocket and contains a single 20:25 track of the ominous 'desert trance' variety, similar to many other Muslimgauze releases in 1994 and 1995. The music gently fades in as if we are joining an already in progress caravan journey. The rings of cymbals, gentle hand percussion playing, looped drones of stringed instruments, bits of distant street noise and an off and on, repetitive 'thump, thump, thump' bass beat drift in and out of the mix, all seemingly representative of the phases of the trek across the desert and through the city streets. The piece is moody but always relaxing as it gently shifts through roughly equal portions of ambience and beat driven sections ... perfect for putting on just as you go to bed. "Drugsherpa" is a small but certainly worthwhile piece of the massive visual and sonic art puzzle that is Muslimgauze. Look for an untitled CD via the Klanggalerie label by year's end then a slew of new and re-released CDs and vinyl in January from various other labels ...

review by Mark Weddle
CD & Live Show Reviews

The following appears in All Music Guide.

Released as a single track, 3" CD, Drugsherpa is one of the most perfectly realized Muslimgauze efforts. It's worth every second. Showcasing the roots of dub, dance, and drone that inform so much of his work, Bryn Jones here creates an intoxicating blend, with shuddering keyboards and strings echoing deep into the mix over a murmuring bass pulse and a rising and falling series of dance beats In perfect counterpoint to all of this is a ringing bell, which chimes out like a signal throughout the song. Sounding like an imaginary soundtrack for a futuristic Arabic city, Drugsherpa remains a singular standout in the near endless Muslimgauze catalog.

review by Ned Raggett
All Music Guide

The following appeared in Freq E-zine.

They use to call this "the torture of the incessant bell". A sonic deterrent to crime that itself was drummed into the heads of the people living around it. And this proposes an interesting wrinkle to Muslimgauze - the critique of legend. Releases sprout across the racks and yet how much will ever be known about the man, the methodology - the myth? Already growing and grown. One would think that our more progressive high-school-prom DJs would inculcate these recordings every June into the consciousness of those Bryn Jones wanted to reach: those unaware of the struggle for Palestine, and the greater Arab question at hand.

As for the music - it foxy roxx my world, and my afterlife.

review by David Cotner
Freq E-zine

The following appeared on the TTZL Muziekblog.

Bryn Jones (1961-1999) was an English musician who lived as a hermit and made experimental instrumental music under the name Muslimgauze that could be very diverse in nature, from ambient and techno to dub and noise (his also review #2 for a detailed description of the Muslimgauze phenomenon ).

1994 was a productive year for Muslimgauze. He released 3 CDs, 2 double CDs, a 7-inch and 2 mini-CDs. One of those mini-CDs was Drugsherpa, which is a real mini-CD not only in terms of length, but also in terms of size. It was the first release on the small 3-inch format for both Muslimgauze and record label Staalplaat.

The album consists of one track of twenty minutes which of course is also called Drugsherpa and het is a real Muslimgauze ambient track.

The track starts very quietly with a serene fundamental tone, light percussion and a prominent triangle (or bell). Slowly, multiple layers in the background come into the sound image and the volume also increases. After about two minutes, a dull pulse sets up as a rhythm and shortly afterwards there is a slight change in the sound image because some background layers abruptly disappear.

These subtle changes last until about halfway through when the track suddenly seems to fall completely silent. However, it is a return to the serene soundscape of the beginning and again a patient construction of a new soundscape starts. Elements from the first half are reused and new elements are added. Towards the end, the track also slowly slowly slowly slows down towards silence.

I think Drugsherpa is one of the highlights of Muslimgauze's (very large) oeuvre and can listen to the track repeatedly without getting bored.

The 3 inch CD is still available second-hand, but Staalplaat also released a CD in 2013 with, in addition to Drugsherpa, about 35 minutes of extra tracks that were on the same DAT tape as that track.

TTZL (November 30. 2014)
TTZL Muziekblog

The following appeared on Boomkat.

Reissue of a super sought-after near-mythical Muslimgauze album from 1994 including the 20 minute title track...

Oftentimes when a reissue has bonus tracks their provenance can be tangential or suspicious; in this case, they’re more like a homecoming. When Bryn Jones turned into the master for what would become 1994’s Drugsherpa mini CD to once and future label Staalplaat, the label selected the twenty-minute title track, truly one of Muslimgauze’s most distinct and awe-inspiring tracks, to fill the release.

The sinuous, doom-haunted “Drugsherpa” still sounds fresh today but in 1994 it was so far ahead of its time that the rest of us didn’t catch up until a decade or more later; only now does it really sound like it has contemporaries. It deserved its own space. But it wasn’t alone on that tape; and with the mini CD long since sold out, this reissue releases its siblings into the world for the first time. Unlike “Drugsherpa” itself, now restored to its original place as track three of the reissued Drugsherpa, the other six tracks on this now 56-minute album are all remixes of other Muslimgauze material. As usual for Jones those remixes take the songs in all sorts of directions, subtly or not; shorter, longer, backwards, dubbed out, less dubbed out, and so on. The result, as well as functioning as a kind of ad hoc compilation of material from several recent-at-the-time Muslimgauze releases (plus a remounting of “Gulfwar” from 1987’s Abu Nidal), shows anew the infinite variety, multiplicity, and complexity of Jones’ work. But the darkly brooding “Drugsherpa” itself remains, justly, the center of attention here.

Less directly political than much of Jones’ work, it builds up to an immense, slow groove until finally shaking itself to pieces in your ears by the end. Muslimgauze is always evocative, but with “Drugsherpa” Jones practically gives the listeners visions. He always intended these tracks to go together (as shown by the seamless segue into “Jerusalem Knife (Wail Mix)"), but in a way “Drugsherpa” is sui generis, even for Muslimgauze

Boomkat

see also Drugsherpa & Maroon

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Drugsherpa Drugsherpa (re-issue)

January 9, 2017