Gulf Between Us & Fatah Guerrilla

The following appeared in The Rocket.

Muslimgauze are easily the most prolific electronics outfit on the contempo, experimental underground scene. Releasing CDs in limited edition bunches, Muslimgauze's output never sinks below absolutely brilliant. The basic formula is relatively simple: lift some Arabic street music, sample it, loop it, attach a small explosive, detonate. The result: an incredibly fucked-up pastiche of wind-blown, dubbed out trance music that is at once edgy but calm, aggressive but soothing. These two releases are an effective representation of the music. Gulf is a peaceful, laconic 20-minute meditation that simultaneously compresses and expands time. Fatah Guerrilla, a three-disc set, displays the edgier side of Muslimgauze, the soundtrack to a Palestinian uprising on a hot day. Watch your back.

review by: S. Duda
First appeared in The Rocket magazine. (July 9, 1997)
© 1997 BAM Media

The following is a review that appeared in Digi-Zine and Industrial Nation.

Bryn Jones has released well over twenty records of material celebrating, often in inflammatory ways, the musical heritage and culture of the Palestinian people. He has taken the rhythms and musical themes of their rich artistic traditions and presented them in altered fashions, distorted or augmented by electronic processing, resulting in material that, although always possessing the same ethnic roots, may range from industrial harshness to trancey smoothness.

Fatah Guerrilla, a limited release 3 CD set (only 700 have been pressed) probably best exemplifies the harsher approach of Jones' work. Each disc is individually titled, and each has its own distinct personality. Muhammadunize is closest to the traditional sound, filled with resonating metallic strings and synthetic tones that play on familiar Arabic melodic progressions, noisy loops, eruptive cascades of hand toms and, on some tracks, a steady beat. Tajik and Persian Blind more frequently holds to a steady central beat, although with greater harshness than the previous disc. Distortions abound, with electrical pulses and frequent fragmentation: the ethnic roots are present, but its processing is much harsher, as if the electronic manipulation has gone berserk, resulting in music that has been torn apart and reassembled in an approximation of its original state. Chechnya Over Dub, as intimated by its title, is a sparser, less distorted and frequently interconnected study of beats, augmented by electronic drones and minimal tempo alterations.

Gulf Between Us is a 23 minute, one track EP that shows the more sedate side of Muslimgauze's music, resulting in a soundscape rather than a song, allowing one to walk the streets of Palestine rather than to simply sit back and listen to the music. It is broken down into two distinct movements, the first one fuelled by a slow wooden beat with metallic and other light hand percussives and a pulsing electrobass beat, overlaid with distant voices. The second portion is more hypnotic, with light electronic percussion being processed along with distant hollow glass tones (sounding like the extended and altered sounds of a vibraphone), pink noise surges and occasional voices. This second CD is more likely to find fans among the trance and ambient crowd than the first set, but realistically cannot be called better - just different.

Both CDs show how a talented artist can create stunning diversity out of a single source. (Fatah Guerrilla- 4 cleavers; Gulf Between Us- 5 cleavers)

review by Michael C. Mahan
This text originally appeared in Digi-Zine (Volume 19) and Industrial Nation (number 15).

see also Gulf Between Us, Azzazin, Return Of Black September, Re-mixs, Arab Quarter & Gulf Between Us

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Fatah Guerrilla Fatah Guerrilla (digital re-issue) Gulf Between Us

January 10, 2017