From The Edge (Muslimgauze Remixs 1)

Muslimgauze,aka: Bryn Jones produced a prolific amount of material that spanned over 120 releases and included more than 90 albums before his untimely death on January 14th, 1999. With previous releases predominantly coming from more avant garde labels such as: Soleilmoon and Staalplaat, the aim now has been to bring his genius to the attention of a wider audience. John Goff, head collaborator of the record label Chlorophyll Recordings has achieved this by taking a lost unreleased Muslimgauze track and organizing remixes by some of the most innovative artists in the electronic underground to date. The outcome stays true to the beauty of Muslimgauze, while simultaneously projecting a separate vision; the unique touch where every artist puts in their own spirit to give birth to something new. This release reflects that diverse alchemy.

The artists:

Chris and Cosey
1) After their departure in 1981 from the ground-breaking industrial group Throbbing Gristle, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti continued working together as Chris and Cosey and CTI (Creative Technology Institute). As a duo they expanded the extreme, rhythmic concepts of their former band to a more synthesized accessible structure. In 1981 they released their first album, Heartbreak on Rough Trade, and in the following year, released Trance. After several disputes with Rough Trade, they shifted to other various labels until finding a home with the industrial Wax Trax! label in the 1990's. Chris and Cosey undeniably add their own dark atmospheric presence to the Muslimgauze composition that, like their reputation, is quite spellbinding.

Higher Intelligence Agency
2) Before the term IDM was coined, Bobby Bird, the mastermind of Higher Intelligence Agency, was innovating his own sound of breaks, harmonic waves, and technotic melodies. From his home in Birmingham, as early as 1992, Bobby and a group of art/musician affiliates in a live performance project called the Oscilliate Collective set out to create music somewhere in between the set camps of ambient and experimental techno. Having a focus on quality not quantity, the HIA releases have been few, but meticulously produced and crafted. Both Freefloater and Colourform are pieces of work that will be recognized as classics in the future of electronic music. HIA has also collaborated with Pete Namlook to produce work for the S.H.A.D.O series, and also worked with Geir Jenssen of Biosphere. The remix here reflects the electro-style rhythms and precision sound quality that has given HIA their reputation.

Spacetime Continuum
3) Jonah Sharp's music has been monumental in creating the sound of experimental techno. After starting out his musical career as a jazz drummer in London, Jonah moved to San Francisco to pursue a different direction entirely: electronic music. He quickly made waves in the ambient dance floor scene in 1993-95 with his classic "Emit Ecaps". Instead of getting settled into this solitary success, Jonah explored his possibilities for something truly unique by fusing his affinity for techno with his previous jazz background. This provided the concept for Spacetime Continuum, which became the first domestic act to be signed to Astralwerks. Jonah Sharp brings additional beats and a smooth "spacetime" groove to the Muslimgauze drum line and melody that makes an instant ambient club track.

The Silver Wizard
4) A lifelong passion for music and synthesizers crafted the mind and music of John Goff, aka; The Silver Wizard. Born in Encinitas, California, John was more interested in the music of Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, than enjoying the surf of So. Cal. Throughout his youth, he explored and studied a variety of musics , learning theory firsthand by playing bagpipes competitively for 14 years. In 1989 he joined the notorious Crash Worship, playing bagpipes and making mayhem until 1991. He went on to form Physics, an ambient-indie band that kept a national steady cult following until their demise in 2000. During this time, John's exposure
to electronic music broadened a great deal. And when Physics broke up, John was free to pursue his first love at full throttle. The Silver Wizard's sound is strong, melodic techno which has been compared to the likes of the Orb and Orbital, but is unclassifiably unique to itself. With memorable melody lines, intricate compositions and hard, driving beats, the Silver Wizard's music is essential to both easy listeners, as well as the full-on electronica snob. The Silver Wizard is releasing his debut full length LP this Summer 2003 on Chlorophyll Recordings.

Press release from Chlorophyll.

The following appeared in the &etc newsletter.

I saw this item listed on The Messenger discography and contacted John Goff who sent me a CDr of this release. It is the first in a series of three 12" 45s (limited to 500 copies) which collect remixes of a Muslimgauze track. Goff somehow got a previously unreleased piece and has asked a range of people to rework it ­ some of whom I am familiar with, others not (for what it's worth).

As a Muslimgauze fan my first listenings to this were focused on trying to triangulate (quadrangulate?) the original track from the re-workings, thinking that it would be possible to extract the common elements mentally and get a handle on the Muslimgauze. The first listening indicated that that would be hard, later ones demonstrated it was impossible. While there are hints of what it might have been, the artists have moved it on and left little concrete. I hope that the track may appear on the last disk (that would be my recommendation) but as it stands we have to hear this as something other than Muslimgauze.

Chris and Cosey kick of with shimmering light metal music that eventually attracts a beat, surrounded by a bass, ringing bells and an echoed bop that sound a little Middle Eastern. Then a big descending doah, some synth lines join, echoed and voicey and the track rumbles along, some deep tones and rapid dirrits falling in along the way, musical and entertaining.

Spacious bells and drum initiate Bobby (Higher Intelligence Agency) Bird's track. A deep tone and then Indian chanting and tabla that slides from channel to channel ­ this suggests a Muslimgauze origin, but could have been constructed to resemble it! It is rubbery and jangling, beats sliding in and the whole track cycles on very nicely.

Jonah (Spacetime Continuum) Sharp begins with shimmers echoed bells and a deep bass figure, rhythm with slaps push things into a groove, as descending swirls light the way for bells. Slow and sensuous, little blurts, squiggles and echoed burrings dance over the surface.

Finally John (Silver Wizard) Goff echoes thuds that shift around the sound space, light and spaced, a hollow hiss as rapid beats and plings slide through rubbery figures. An odd varying buzz plays along as the echoing gets a little dubby, building breaking and rebuilding.

So, four very different tracks with varying degrees of 'might be Muslimgauze' elements. I must admit to being in two minds about its Muslimgauze-ness and whether it sits comfortably in the discography: 'Occupied Territories' is there which is a precedent, but there were some Bryn Jones remixes on that and I assume he had some input. Putting that to one side, more interestingly these are four very enjoyable tracks, and I think that the set of three releases will (on the basis of this part) add up to a strong set ­ and it's always good to see vinyl releases.

reviewed by: Jeremy Keens
originally appeared in &etc 2003_f.
Reproduced by permission.

The following appeared in Freq E-zine.

Spanning three 12" only releases in which ten artists remake an unreleased Muslimgauze track, this latest project to tackle and develop on the already massive life work of Bryn Jones finds its first disc in suitably diverse style. Chris And Cosey settle on a doomy Techno Dub infusion, rippling on massed reverb effects and shimmering with a dark elation which is ultimately engrossing. The Higher Intelligence Agency apply their talents with dense percussive intricacy, a ghostly Islamic vocal sample chanting mournfully into the echoing aether, the resulting beat-heavy drift leaving the source instantly recognizable even though smoothed over with a new Fourth World edge.

Further laid back electronic dubscape rhythms characterise Jonah Sharp AKA Spacetime Continuum's deeply chilled mix, a sleepy track which folds into itself for a trailing conclusion. Last up is series convener John Goff in Silver Wizard guise, whose slow-burning approach takes its time with the unraveling of a mix which combines phased tones with further Dubwise tricknology to build a gliding composition of pulsations and snaps which retains the essential Muslimgauze sense of menace.

review by Richard Fontenoy
Freq E-zine

see also From The Edge (CD) & From The Edge (Dbl-CD)

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January 10, 2017