Monday, 26 January, 2009

Muslimgauze - Silknoose (1995)

Muslimgauze was the stage name of Bryn Jones (June 17, 1961 - January 14, 1999), an extremely prolific British electronic music artist, strongly influenced by everything to do with the Middle East.

Bryn Jones was not a practicing Muslim and never went to the Middle East. His recordings as Muslimgauze, however, qualified him as one of the Western artists most explicitly slanted in his favor of the Palestinian liberation movement. Since the Manchester-native's works were instrumental, most of the political statement was inherent in the packaging: Witness titles such as Fatah Guerrilla, Return of Black September, Hebron Massacre, Vote Hezbollah, United States of Islam and The Rape of Palestine. Jones could have been a potentially controversial figure if his releases were available in anything except severely limited editions -- usually less than one thousand copies of each. Despite their lack of prominence, Jones' blend of found-sound Middle Eastern atmospheres with heavily phased drones and colliding rhythm programs were among the most startling and unique in the noise underground.

The name Muslimgauze was derived from the word "muslin," which is a type of gauze, and changed into an adjective describing the area in which he was interested. He was a staunch supporter of Hamas and the PLO, and he believed Palestine should be "freed from the Zionists." Born in Manchester, England, United Kingdom, he never visited the Middle East, explaining, "I don't think you can visit an occupied land. It's the principle. Not until it's free again."

He first began making music in 1982, under the alias of E.g Oblique Graph, to protest the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He released three cassettes and a 7" EP as E.g Oblique Graph: Extended Play (1982), Piano Room (1982), the 7" Triptych (1982), and Inhalt (1983). After he changed his name to Muslimgauze, he released a 7" EP (Hammer & Sickle), his first full-length LP (Kabul), and another cassette (Opaques) in 1983. In 1990, the Australian record label Extreme signed him, but he left in 1994 for Dutch label Staalplaat and its sister American label Soleilmoon because his albums were not being released as promptly as he had wanted, and he was also not receiving payment. Since he had put out seven releases since he signed, money was becoming a problem. His output was always very high. In 1995, he had six releases; in 1996, fifteen; in 1997, nine; in 1998, sixteen. After his death, the many record companies he had associated with released unreleased material and re-pressed older, out-of-print material. In 1999, the year of his death, twenty-two new (and old) albums and EPs on several media were released.

Strongly opposed to the use of computers and samplers in music, Jones always recorded his music with old analog equipment, which were never from the United States or Japan. He would record himself playing various Middle Eastern instruments and record voices of Middle Eastern people from old tapes. Jones's music was heavily percussive; a review of a rare live performance notes that Jones used a "backing DAT tape with pretty harsh, rhythmic textures, his sort of patented spiralling hypnotic beat, to which he played on two or three different drums with great skill." He never looped his music; it was all recorded live, and edited/mixed afterwards. The end result was often loud and staticky, with sudden changes in volume. Jones was never concerned with how many copies of his record were sold, or even how much listeners enjoyed his music, but rather how original his music was.

On Wednesday, December 30, 1998, Bryn was rushed to the hospital in Manchester with a rare fungal infection in his bloodstream, for which he had to be heavily sedated all the time. His body eventually shut down, and he died at 22:50 GMT on Thursday, January 14, 1999.

About Silknoose:
Ambient-industrial with Arabian tribal dance influences. According to some, one of Muslimgauze's most impressing works. Fifteen tracks of extraordinary dance floor propaganda. This is one of the albums where the variety is the main driving force: interspersed between the fast paced majority are some slower, lazy paced tracks. A very enjoyable album edging towards the harsher sounds of some later albums. Silknoose was released on cd by Daft Records (D1005 CD) in 1995. In a limited edition of 800 copies.

** thank you for the review, mr sangkoyo!

1 - Moslem Satellite Channel
2 - Gandhi Tentacle Song
3 - Your Arms, Our Opium
4 - Priyanka Tumdesh Chalao
5 - Memsahib Tea Emporium
6 - Qazi Hussain
7- Qazi Hussain (Re-Prize-Al)
8 - Myth And Tyrants
9 - Dish Poison
10 - Azure Taboosh
11 - Sheesh Mahal
12 - Amber Lake
13 - Moslem Satellite Channel
14 - Kalka Male
15- Memsahib Tea Emporium



Anonymous said...

Deepest regards and warmest thanks for this post.


Anonymous said...

One of his best records, me thinks. Merci, Madame

peskypesky said...

thank you for the Muslimgauze. too bad Bryn's not around to make some music about the current destruction of Gaza. or maybe it's good he's not around to witness it...

Anonymous said...

hey, sorry for the out-of-context comment, but i just would like to let you know about the music blog I started

Anonymous said...

A lot of the source material for my favorite Muslimgauze album (Remixs) comes from this one.

This late period stuff by Jones had a big influence on the music I was doing in the late 90's. Click on my name if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

It's a very good record better than all Muslimgauze recorsds I know before. Thank u.

marramua said...

Thank You!

Anonymous said...

You carefully omit the fact that Mr Jones was a member of the British National Party an extremist Neo-Nazi organisation - known for their confusing mix of right and left wing politics.

bravo juju said...

Dear All: Glad you enjoyed the post. Juju's communication department has been a bit slow lately, but your comments are always appreciated.

Dear Ron: You fail to understand that Jones' bio sketch was a simple copy/paste from the internet. We did not 'carefully omit' anything. Assuming that your info is correct, I hope you don't expect us to remove the link because of that, or that bloggers 'carefully' investigate each and every artist's background to see if it is politically acceptable to share his/her music. Hope you enjoyed the record.

Cheers to all

frhs said...

Thanks a lot for this Muslimgauze masterpiece!
Enjoy these other albums
983 - Hammer & Sickle/Kabul

1984 - Buddhist On Fire

1985 - Blinded Horses

1986 - Flajelata

1986 - Hajj

1988 - The Rape of Palestine

1990 - Intifaxa

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