Muhammadunize

The following appears on Staalplaat's Muslimgauze Bandcamp page. (referring to May 26, 2020 digital release)

It is a good dense collage atmosphere. From everywhere shoots drums, Palestinian word-scraps give the total radio play-character. One feels when hearing this release as if the Gaza-strip is mastered from an outsize echo-appliance

Muhammadunize, has what could be called a classic feel to it, with a very familiar blend of drones, string instruments, and synths, and varying percussion/break-beat patterns, in turn mixed with a number of hard-to-catch vocal samples. It's a formula used many times in the past by Jones, yet somehow he still manages to keep things just fresh enough, investing songs like the first and second "Khalifate" and especially both slamming versions of "Imad Akel" with enough unexpected touches. He incorporates the basic power of his work in the tracks as well, with both beauty and a nervy, hard-to-define tension as the songs progress.

Muhammadunize on Bandcamp

The following appeared on Boomkat.

Deepest Muslimgauze cuts from 1996's 'Fatah Guerilla' 3CD take a life of their own on this augmented reissue. Trust it's some of the best in his unfathomable canon.

Including all seven bits off the first CD of 'Fatah Guerilla', repackaged with a choice morsel off 'Iran' (1988), this is Bryn Jones at his very best, particularly if you're into the more atmospheric nooks of his catalogue. Typically recorded and mixed, hands-on-desk, at Abraham Mosque in Manchester's moodiest northern ends, we hear all the classic traits of latter days Muslimgauze in effect, but distinguished by a nervy pace and lurking spirit that's dead hard to shake.

Caught in a state between opiated and alert, or totally red-eyed but stepping, the most ardent fiends will no doubt be drawn to the exclusive zinger, a 17 minute remix of 'Khalifate', which, in typical style, only bears scant resemblance to the other cut also named 'Khalifate'. Where the original is starkly slow and slithering, the remix is enlivened with birdsong that eases a crackling threat of his overheard voices and dusky pads, while urgent percussion low in-the-mix ramps the furtive feel.

Elsewhere we're snagged by the two parts of 'Devoir' with their reverse looped tablas and depth charge steppers pulse cloaked by some of his shiftiest atmospheres, and there's some killer mid '90s hip hop breaks diced into 'Imad Akel' for the darkest illbient you've never heard, and 'Fatah Guerilla' works up a play of dubwize djinn with scattered flute and cone-knuckling noise that's got us drawing blood from a bitten lip.

Boomkat

The following appeared on Bleep.

Amsterdam record shop Staalplaat's experimental imprint is back with yet another vinyl reissue from the notoriously prolific Muslimgauze. The Muhammadunize LP is collected from sessions recorded in 1996 at a mosque in the UK and is a prime example of Muslimgauze's ambient techno phase. Tracks like the two-part 'Devour' use space and sparse percussion to build atmosphere not entirely unlike the chill-out room records being released contemporaneously. Best of all is the closing 'Fatah Guerilla' which pairs that fluid sensibility with eastern instrumentation for a particularly narcotized effect.

Bleep

The following appears on Staalplaat's Muslimgauze Bandcamp page. (referring to July 28, 2022 release)

Listeners who know much of anything about Bryn Jones' work as Muslimgauze know that he was prolific in both his work and Muhammadunize, has what could be called a classic feel to it, with a very familiar blend of drones, string instruments, and synths, and varying percussion/break-beat patterns, in turn mixed with a number of hard-to-catch vocal samples. It's a formula used many times in the past by Jones, yet somehow he still manages to keep things just fresh enough, investing songs like the first and second "Khalifate" and especially both slamming versions of "Imad Akel" with enough unexpected touches. He incorporates the basic power of his work in the tracks as well, with both beauty and a nervy, hard-to-define tension as the songs progress.

The sound palette of Muhammadunize is very similar to his ambient-techno albums such as Mullah Said and Gun Aramaic, down to the rhythms and the trademark tanpura drones and keys in C minor. The difference is that it's a bit more aggressive and faster-paced than the aforementioned albums, thus utilising a similar dark atmosphere to a more immediate and in-your-face effect, especially as noted by the drum-kit urban-sounding pulse of Imad Akel, one of the high points on this album. However, my favorite track here is the closer... more

Muhammadunize on Bandcamp

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Muhammadunize (digital issue) Muhammadunize (CD re-issue) Muhammadunize (digital re-issue) Muhammadunize (corrected digital re-issue) Muhammadunize (silver vinyl re-issue) Muhammadunize (black vinyl re-issue)

September 9, 2022