Red Madrassa

Red Madrassa is a trip that takes off where Mr Jones left us in swirlie soundstorms of the dark Arab nights with albums like Azad and Fakir Sind. Driving our tanks thru the desert towards Hamas Arc via some relaxed dubsmoking in the villages of Port Said.

This release is a limited edition of 500 copies.

Press release from Staalplaat

The following appeared in Chainlink D.L.K..

Muslimgauze, or more likely who for him, keeps releasing an impressive amount of records for somebody that isn't among us anymore.. He truly is one of the most prolific artists I have seen.. This one is his 156th release (according to his official site maintained by The Edge at pretentious.net) and contains five versions of "Rhodesia" and three versions of "Rya Ba Mutant". They are re-mixes dated 1993 and have a lot more electronic sounds in it than we are usually accustomed. Obviously the percussive element remains dominant, but lots of background noises, processing, synth sounds, atmospheres and intelligible vocals surface in these mixes.

review by Marc Urselli-Schaerer
Chainlink D.L.K. (November 27, 2003)

The following appeared in Touching Extremes.

Ah, Bryn Jones, too bad. The last part of his output tended towards electronic dub, powerful dynamic changes and distortion used as primary colour. All this while maintaining a "minimalist" sense of trance beat for which I've always considered Muslimgauze a modern representative of that genre. "Red Madrassa" is much more robust than the vast majority of similar productions, it's full of usual Jones ingredients and a lot of absolutely gorgeous grooves. As years go by, his search for perfection and highly political questioning still elude many people - they just don't get what a musician or an artist in general should mean when taking a stand, not moving an inch from his position, releasing intelligent and enjoyable small masterpieces like this very one. Sorry guys - you're missing a lot of good stuff

review by Massimo Ricci
Touching Extremes

The following appeared in Freq.

Red Madrassa is listed as being re-mixs (sic) dating from April 1998, and brings matters back firmly into the realms of distended volumes of sound and churning rhythms. The album opens with nearly twenty minutes of “Rhodesia”, which turns around some lengthy percussion loops, precariously wobbly bass and a repeated sample of a disinterested Westerner enunciating various permutations of “like children defecating in a shrine” as if on a dated language instruction tape, the whole sensously immersive piece wrapped in ghostly radio drones and calls and the never-ending mutter of the Middle Eastern airwaves. Perhaps due to and in spite of the duration of this track, a feeling of dense claustrophobia is soon engendered, with torn fragments of liquified tape noise ripping suble tears from the soundscape like peeling wallpaper, a process enhanced by the gradual disruption of the rhythmic structure by closely-packed delay effects.

The first “Rya Ba Mutant” skips in on a heavyweight rhythm, undercut into discordance by layered echoes, cutting jarringly into the second version of “Rhodesia”, distinguished only by its far shorter length of a shade over five minutes, which blasts the tempo up into overload, as grinding mechanical sounds, possibly sourced from railway sidings, scrape across the urgently bashed out beat. The relative shortness of these two tracks is to be appreciated, as much longer would provoke a skip forward in all but the hardest of Gabba freaks out there; even so, the thorough earbashing dealt out in a welter of yet more echo-smacked rhythms perks matters up no end. Two more variations on “Rya Ba Mutant” follow, sprinkled liberally with tweaked-over birdsong, dirtified Rai-Ragga confusion and querulous bass inquiries.

The last take on “Rhodesia” spans tracks 6 to 8 of Red Madrassa, and makes for half an hours worth of densely-scrambled electronic Dancehall spasming (Tk.6, 9:57), the morphing rhythms squeaking and blipping their jack-plug pulling glitches into stuttering dissolution for the metallic-tasting reprise of Tk7. Three minutes of almost funky electrified keyboard grooving and a hyper-Dub reprise in a garden of distorted avian delights heralds the outgoing marathon of 17 minutes spent in recapitulation of Track 1. Here the bassy low drum repeater strains hard at the speakers and the hiss levels drizzle into an all-enveloping miasma of heavily processed ripples and timestretching as the Filmi voices utter their clipped story fragments and emotional outbursts into the echoing tapeloop wind of spluttering delay glitches left to flow out at their own pace.

Overall, despite a generally unfinalized feel to the repeated structures and rewokings of basic themes at what might be regarded as undue length, Red Madrassa is a prime example of Bryn Jones’ terrier-like worrying away at a musical idea until it is shaken into submission – much like his overwhelmed listeners. Something of an endurance test, the results can be hugely satisfying in what can only be described as a somewhat Nietszchean way.

review by Richard Fontenoy
First appeared in Freq magazine (August 11, 2006).

The following appears on Staalplaat's Muslimgauze Bandcamp page.

Red Madrassa" is much more robust than the vast majority of similar productions, it's full of usual Jones ingredients and a lot of absolutely gorgeous grooves. As years go by, his search for perfection and highly political questioning still elude many people - they just don't get what a musician or an artist in general should mean when taking a stand, not moving an inch from his position, releasing intelligent and enjoyable small masterpieces like this very one.

A collection of Muslimgauze remixes of Rhodesia aka Rya/Ba Mutant. The track titles should be considered as mere indications of the original source for each remix.

Red Madrassa on Bandcamp

see also Arabbox, In Search Of Ahmad Shah Masood, Iran Air Inflight Magazine, Jebel Tariq & Red Madrassa

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Red Madrassa Red Madrassa (digital re-issue)

May 25, 2024