Gun Aramaic & Gun Aramaic Part 2

The following appeared in Taste Of Latex.

Muslimgauze: Gun Aramaic Vol. 1 & 2 (Soleilmoon)

Gun Aramaic Vol.1 & 2 demonstrates Muslimgauze's ability to work through an arrangement of signs/sounds, testing and proving their constructs, breaking expectation, providing us with a politically ambient flux. These tracks are tough, direct, uncompromising, not because of the anguished or anti-heroic narrative they offer, but because the texture of the rhythms themselves, and the complex fragmentation of syntax, are compelling and demanding. In every case the artist's attention has moved without lapsing from one beat to the next, placing each element according to its material characteristic:

Volume 1 is awash with waves and pulses, compressed dissonant flashes, fractured speech at once fiercely fore-grounded and barely audible. And yet there is always a rhythm, a Middle Eastern drone, a submerged bass line, or a variety of percussion, expressed or implied, marking a place, its passage through time, and its crude ramifications. Perhaps this is the sound one might hear in the markets of Damascus and Amman, or in the brutal terror of Lebanon and Gaza. Or is it both? Or neither. This is the key to the Muslimgauze project: producing art that defies a closed interpretation, placing the listener in the landscape's perpetual flux, and certainly not as passive observer. We are not presented with, we are in, at the point where infinite plains intersect. Tracks such as Saladin Mercy and Oil Prophets (parts 1,2,3) contain such a complex mesh of oscillating vibration as to become disorienting, knowing that any disorientation is also a reorientation, a constantly shifting perspective. By defying closure, Muslimgauze engages in a political act of composition, undermining the eviscerated, self-absorbed clichés of ambient music. It is the vigor of context, of overt Palestinian self-determination, that incites the listener to accept his or her role, often unconsciously, in linking a multitude of elements, in effect, co-producing a political experience.

Carrying much of the same resonance and immediacy as its predecessor, Volume 2 opens where automatic weapons, machine-induced reverberations, and scraps of narrative seamlessly dissolve and resurface, resulting in a highly charged, discordant structure. Throughout this disc there are moments when the effect is so great, it seems the listener is placed within the very center of a cyclical mass that is breaking down, building up, breaking down. As on Shia Psalm , where a trap-set kicks in, or with the sonic bursts of Sharia Limb , there is a definite urgency from its core, challenging western assumptions of the Islamic vortex. Though the syntax is Arabic, the listener does not need to know their hidden pathways, they work their effect through our linguistic subconscious, forcing us to acknowledge objects of everyday utterance severed at their cohesion point, rattling the cage of language. This is the truth of landscape (and the Muslimgauze experience): sheer vectors of energy provoking a parallel complexity in sound. Metabolism, not static object.

review by Tom Malone © 1996
Taste Of Latex

see also Gun Aramaic & Gun Aramaic, Gun Aramaic Part 2 & Azzazin

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January 10, 2017