Muslimgauze

Last updated

Muslimgauze
BrynJonesMuslimgauzePromoPhoto.jpg
Image taken by Martin Parker from D.O.R.
Background information
Birth nameBryn Jones
Also known asE.g Oblique Graph
Born(1961-06-17)17 June 1961
Died14 January 1999(1999-01-14) (aged 37)
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Instruments
  • percussion
  • synth
  • drum machine
  • tape
  • sample discs
Years active1982–1998
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.muslimgauze.org

Muslimgauze was the main musical project of Bryn Jones (17 June 1961 – 14 January 1999), a British ethnic electronica and experimental musician who was influenced by conflicts and history in the Muslim world, often with an emphasis on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. With dozens of albums released under the Muslimgauze name, Jones was prolific, but he never made mainstream success due to his work being issued mostly in limited editions on small record labels and being deeply experimental in style. His music has been described by one critic as "among the most startling and unique in the noise underground." [1]

Contents

The name Muslimgauze is a play on the word muslin (a type of gauze) [2] [3] combined with Muslim, referring to Bryn Jones' preoccupation with conflicts throughout the Muslim world.

Biography

Early musical career

Jones first released music in 1982 as E.g Oblique Graph on Kinematograph, his own imprint, and the independent co-op label Recloose, run by Simon Crab. E.g Oblique Graph came from the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos of the time and was musically composed of electronic/experimental drone with occasional synth-melodic hooks and use of radio broadcast samples.

Releases at the time were occasionally on cassette, more often vinyl EPs and LPs; the longest running of Jones' label monikers, Limited Editions, started with Hunting Out with an Aerial Eye (1984) followed by Buddhist on Fire, put out by Recloose the same year. Since then, Jones roughly released an album a year, given scarce financial resources until 1988, when he began making inroads with then-emerging labels Staalplaat, Soleilmoon, and Extreme Records.

By the late 1980s, Jones ran out of funding to self-release, and other labels that did put out Muslimgauze releases such as Recloose and Permis De Construire (which put out Coup d'Etat ) did not pay promised royalties. Recloose head Simon Crab cited lack of sales and damaged records from fire bombing as his reason.

The neighbouring Thomas a Becket pub run by East End gangsters—common-or-garden low-level vicious thugs (years before the species was romanticized by Lock Stock and Mona Lisa)—unable to control our unlicensed trade in alcohol and other illicits, firebombed the building one night and attacked the crew on a regular basis (Many of the new pressings of Muslimgauze's Buddhist on Fire stored in the Recloose offices were destroyed during this attack).

Stalker blog post [4]

The deal with Recloose was that we paid 50 percent of the profits to the artist and 50 percent went to the label, which was a pretty good deal, especially since we didn't sell that much. We put a lot of energy into marketing, and most of the artists signed to the label sold off the back of Bourbonese Qualk anyway. He assumed we sold loads of albums but we didn't even cover the costs.

Simon Crab [5]

At this time, distributors Soleilmoon, Staalplaat, and Extreme Records transitioned to becoming labels with the advent of the compact disc format, [6] which became less expensive to produce and ship than vinyl over time and gradually became a physical staple of the Muslimgauze catalogue.

Later musical career

It was with the release of United States of Islam (1991) a formalised agreement was reached with Extreme Records, which helped fund professional studio recordings, designed attractive packaging, and used a more extensive distribution network. Though pleased at first, Jones was frustrated with Extreme's one-release-a-year policy and in 1993 signed with then-sibling labels Soleilmoon and Staalplaat, which offered a more frequent release schedule. 1993 saw the release of Vote Hezbollah, Veiled Sisters and a re-release of Iran on Soleilmoon and Hamas Arc , Satyajit Eye and Betrayal on Staalplaat. [5] His 1998 record Mullah Said on the label has been critically acclaimed.

Jones additionally released material on nearly any small label that approached him. A drawback with releasing on so many labels was gratuitous editing by producers and, through design or circumstance, no royalties. Extreme cited betrayal by distribution networks that were unscrupulous or filed for bankruptcy and could not pay—though they also claimed to have eventually remunerated Jones. Lack of due royalties was a source of ongoing stress throughout Jones's career.

Jones once stated that he never had time to listen to other people's music, although in a 1992 interview with Impulse Magazine, he mentioned that he enjoyed traditional music of Japan, the Middle East, and India, as well as the works of artists such as Can, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, and Faust. [7]

Death

On 30 December 1998, Jones was rushed to A&E in Manchester with a rare fungal infection in his bloodstream, for which he had to be heavily sedated. His body eventually shut down, and he died on 14 January 1999. [8]

Legacy

Since Bryn Jones's death in 1999 at the age of 37, his music under Muslimgauze has continued to be released. He often inundated labels and collaborators with music, and consequently the latter had to be selective of what was eventually put out. Labels, including Soleilmoon and Staalplaat, continue to publish unreleased albums, as well as releases of demos, his own reworked tracks, and abandoned full-length tapes. Jones' posthumous discography is known for including many studio variations of nearly all his music. [9] [10] [11]

In April 2014, Vinyl On Demand released Chasing the Shadow of Bryn Jones 1983–1988, a 10 LP box set reissuing early albums originally released by Product Kinematopgraph, Recloose Organisation, and Jones' own Limited Editions. Each LP includes bonus tracks taken from period compilation albums. The release was also accompanied by biography written by Ibrahim Khider titled Muslimgauze: Chasing the Shadow of Bryn Jones. [12]

Musical styles

Muslimgauze's music is often difficult to describe due to sheer volume, content diversity and often singular stylings; Jones never produced any hit albums or songs. However, it's possible to describe common features of his music as he tended to use many of the same strategies, modified from album to album to give each release a distinct feel or concept. [13] The music often is heavily electronic and strongly rhythmic (sometimes including live studio percussion), though tempos can vary from very fast to slowly driving and almost ambient, making frequent use of gradually-changing structures or melodic motifs. Critic Ned Raggett reviewed a number of Muslimgauze albums for Allmusic.com, noting the diverse styles of Jones's recordings: United States of Islam (1991) featured layered percussion and "a muted techno pulse", [14] Hamas Arc (1993) touched on a menacing "ambience that is not so far removed from the likes of [industrial metal acts] Godflesh or Scorn", [15] and Gun Aramaic (1996) blended atmospheric sounds and vocal samples that "almost turns the album into a soundtrack for a non-existent film." [13]

Political beliefs

I would never go to an occupied land, others shouldn't. Zionists living off Arab land and water is not a tourist attraction. To have been in a place is not important. So you can't be against apartheid unless you have been in South Africa? You cannot be against the Serbs killing Muslims in Bosnia unless you have been there? I think not.

Bryn Jones Chain D.L.K. interview [16]

Jones originally claimed Muslimgauze was formed in response to Operation Peace of the Galilee, Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon [17] [7] to stem attacks from Palestinian Liberation Organization guerrillas stationed in South Lebanon. This event inspired Jones to research the conflict's origins, which grew into a lifelong artistic focal point, and he became a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, [18] and often dedicated recordings to the Palestinian Liberation Organization or a free Palestine. [19] Jones's research further grew to encompass other conflict-ridden, predominantly Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Iran, and Iraq. He concluded that Western interests for natural resources and strategic-political gain were root causes for many of these conflicts and should Western meddling halt, said regions would stabilise. [17]

Jones frequently netted criticism for never having visited the Middle East. He said in a 1994 interview, "I don't think you can visit an occupied land. It's the principle. Not until it's free again." [20]

Dedicated to the unknown Palestinians buried in mass graves in Al-Riqqa cemetery, Kuwait city.

Zul'm (1992) [21]

References in dedications, album, and track titles suggest Jones had researched the conflict regions in the Middle East, as well as Chechnya, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia, among others. [22] Musical references also extended to other creeds and ethnicities including Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, and Sri-Lankans. [9]

When asked what he would do if conflicts in the Muslim world were peaceably resolved, Jones replied his music would champion other conflict regions such as China's occupation of Tibet.

Interviewer: Do you believe it is absolutely necessary, to take these political aspects into account? Or can one also uncouple the politics and music from each other?
Jones: Yes, one can do that. It is music. Music with serious political facts behind it. There are no lyrics, because that would be preaching. It is music. It is up to you, to find out more. If you don't want that, it is up to you. You can listen to only the music or you can preoccupy yourself more with it.

Artefakt interview [23]

Discography

Jones released over 90 original albums on 32 different record labels, creating nearly 2,000 original compositions. Many of his pieces were inspired by political facts or events. Many of his releases have been re-pressed as, after 1994, most of his albums were released in limited editions of 200–1,000.

Live performances

During the early phase of his career, Jones was known to have performed only one live show in 1986 at the V2 in s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. At the behest of Bourbonese Qualk, of the Recloose label, Jones performed a half-hour set. The show consisted of Jones singing to a backing track while Simon Crab then members of Bourbonese Qualk added instrumental accompaniment. By all accounts the show went reasonably, but Jones was traumatised by the experience enough to swear off live performance until the 1990s. [5]

Jones resumed live performance in 1995 at the behest of record store owner and DJ Simon Scott. Part of Jones's apprehension with live performance was in trying to figure out how to present the music. He concluded the best way was refrain from vocals with lyrics and instead play live percussion atop a backing track. He also did DJ sets that consisted of exclusively his own material. Contrary to his 1986 experience, Jones did enjoy doing live shows and frequently did them in his last years in diverse places such as the UK, throughout mainland Europe, and even Japan. [24] [25]

DateCityVenueEvent
26 April 1986 [26] 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands V2 Artitexture
3 September 1995Edinburgh, UK Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of ArtColor Climax organised by Blue Room (Edinburgh) & Sonora (Glasgow)
8 October 1995Leeds, UKCafe MexSunday Service
18 February 1996Leeds, UKThe DuchessSunday Service
26 May 1996Leeds, UKThe DuchessSunday Service
24 October 1996Berlin, GermanyStaalplaat Sonderangebot Festival
17 October 1996Leeds, UKLe PhonoBrainticket
22 June 1997 Rostock, GermanyMS Stubnitz/Rostock Harbor
July 1997Spain Proyecto Almadraba.Plaza de Toros de Algeciras
1 November 1997Leeds, UKThe DuchessTandoori Space
27 January 1998Shibuya, JapanClub Shibuya on Air West
13 June 1998 Stockholm, SwedenMS StubnitzNursery Injection Festival
?? September 1998Normandy, FranceThe Monastery of Sound
28 October 1998Leeds, UKThe CockpitTandoori Space
2? November 1998Berlin, GermanyVolksbühneBallroom International

Related Research Articles

Throbbing Gristle English band

Throbbing Gristle were an English music and visual arts group formed in 1975 in Kingston upon Hull by Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter Christopherson, and Chris Carter. They are widely regarded as pioneers of industrial music. Evolving from the experimental performance art group COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle made their public debut in October 1976 on COUM exhibition Prostitution, and released their debut single "United/Zyklon B Zombie" and debut album The Second Annual Report the following year. Lyrical themes mainly revolved around mysticism, extremist political ideologies, sexuality, dark or underground aspects of society, and idiosyncratic manipulation of language.

Strapping Young Lad Canadian metal band

Strapping Young Lad was a Canadian extreme metal band formed by Devin Townsend in Vancouver in 1994. The band started as a one-man studio project; Townsend played most of the instruments on the 1995 debut album, Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing. By 1997, he had recruited permanent members; this line-up, which consisted of Townsend on vocals and guitar, Jed Simon on guitar, Byron Stroud on bass, and Gene Hoglan on drums, lasted until the band's dissolution.

Bass Communion British band

Bass Communion is a solo project of English musician Steven Wilson, best known for his lead role in the rock band Porcupine Tree. Records released under the name "Bass Communion" are in an ambient or electronic vein - lengthy drone-heavy compositions. They come about as experiments in texture made from processing the sound of real instruments and field recordings.

Barry Lamb is an English experimental musician.

People Like Us (musician) Musical artist

People Like Us is the stage name of London DJ multimedia artist Vicki Bennett. She has released a number of albums featuring collages of music and sound since 1992. In recent years, she has performed at a number of modern art galleries, festivals and universities.

Chris & Cosey

Chris & Cosey, sometimes known as Carter Tutti, are a musical duo formed in 1981, consisting of couple Chris Carter (electronics) and Cosey Fanni Tutti, both previously members of industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle. Since the release of their 1981 debut album Heartbeat, the group have expanded on the rhythmic ideas of Throbbing Gristle while adding synthesized pop elements to their sound.

Maeror Tri

Maeror Tri was an ambient, noise and drone music band from Germany founded in the 1980s which consisted of Stefan "Baraka H" Knappe, Martin "GLIT[s]CH" Gitschel and Helge S. Hammerbrook.

Nocturnal Emissions is a sound art project that has released numerous records and CDs in music styles ranging from electro-acoustic, musique concrète, hybridised beats, sound collage, post-industrial music, ambient and noise music. The sound art has been part of an ongoing multimedia campaign of guerrilla sign ontology utilising video art, film, hypertext and other documents.

Controlled Bleeding

Controlled Bleeding was an experimental music group based in Massapequa, New York, United States. The group was founded by Paul Lemos, the group's only consistent member. Most of Controlled Bleeding's released recordings feature two main collaborators, Chris Moriarty and vocalist Joe Papa, who both died in the late 2000s. In February 2020 Lemos announced that the band had dissolved.

Mort aux Vaches is the name of a series of albums released by the Staalplaat record label in collaboration with the Dutch radio station, VPRO. The name translates literally from French as “Death to Cows,” with “cows” being French slang for cops - it is equivalent to “Death to Pigs” in English.

Masami Akita discography

This is a comprehensive discography of the Japanese noise musician Masami Akita, best known for his project Merzbow. Since 1980 he has released hundreds of recordings, collaborated with dozens of musicians, contributed over two hundred exclusive tracks to compilations, and made numerous guest appearances on recordings by other artists.

The Elephant Table Album: a compilation of difficult music was a 1983 compilation album, released on Xtract Records. The double album was compiled by music journalist Dave Henderson following a series of articles by him in Sounds, the British music paper. It was reissued on CD by the same label in 1989, but with the tracks sourced from the vinyl release rather than the master tape, and the number of tracks reduced from 21 to 17. The tracks consisted of a selection by lesser-known experimental, industrial and electronic artists of the period.

<i>United States of Islam</i> 1991 studio album by Muslimgauze

United States of Islam is a studio album by British electronic musician Muslimgauze, released by Extreme Records in June, 1991. The album is dedicated to "Palestinians killed by Israel on 'Allthnen As Aswad' at Temple Mount in occupied Jerusalem".

<i>Zulm</i> 1992 studio album by Muslimgauze

Zul'm is the fifteenth studio album by Muslimgauze. It was originally released in mid 1992 by the label Extreme.

<i>Mullah Said</i> 1998 studio album by Muslimgauze

Mullah Said is a studio album by British experimental musician Bryn Jones, best known under the name of his primary musical project Muslimgauze. It was released in July 1998.

Simon Fisher Turner is an English musician, songwriter, composer, producer and actor.

Tunisiano Musical artist

Bachir Baccour, better known by his stage name Tunisiano, is a Tunisian rapper living in France. Prior to pursuing a solo career, he was a member of M, Sniper and other rap groups.

Randy Greif is a noise music composer who often incorporates electronic music and musique concrete collage with spoken word and field recordings.

Martin Lee Stephenson is an experimental sound artist, musician, producer and songwriter from London, England. He is one half of the experimental act Spooncurve and the composer/producer for the occult/hermetic inspired dark ambient project Apollon (apollon93). He also records under the names of Doppler 20:20 and Vulse. At the end of 2012, he had released more than 150 recordings. The primary labels of these releases were recording companies Sony, BMG, EMI, AVEX and independent labels D.O.R., Copasetic, Better, Reel 2 Reel, Law and Auder, Sub and Bleep, Slammin', Quirky, 3MV, Pro One, Squat, Keda and Offspring Records.

Matthew "Recloose" Chicoine is an American electronic music producer, DJ and musician hailing from Detroit, Michigan, US. He is known for numerous releases on independent dance labels like Planet E, Rush Hour, Peacefrog, Studio !K7, Sonar Kollektiv and Delusions of Grandeur. Chicoine is also a touring DJ who has played in and around Europe, the UK, the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

References

  1. John Bush. "Muslimgauze - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  2. Sahlén, Mårten (21 February 1999). "Muslimgauze in Stockholm". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  3. Bryn Jones (February 2007). Bryn Jones Speaks (MP3) (audio). Extreme. Retrieved 7 January 2009. fee required
  4. Gehr, Richard (28 November 2008). ""Live Series 2" & the London Ambulance Station". Stalker. Simon Crab.
  5. 1 2 3 Khider, Ibrahim (Spring–Summer 2006). "Equations of Eternity". E/I (print): 54–60.
  6. Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music. Oxford University Press. p. 243. ISBN   9780199832583.
  7. 1 2 Crumby, Mark (January 2000). "Impulse Interview". Manchester. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008.
  8. Strauss, Neil (28 January 1999). "Bryan Jones, 38, Musician Known as Muslimgauze". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  9. 1 2 Khider, Ibrahim (March 2005). "Muslimgauze". Perfect Sound Forever.
  10. Kinney, Rick (2004). "Industrial Nation interview". Industrial Nation (print) (20). Archived from the original on 27 February 2009.
  11. Powne, Charles (1999). "Unreleased Muslimgauze Albums". Arabbox. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  12. "Muslimgauze 10-LP boxset on the way from Vinyl-On-Demand". FACT . 17 January 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  13. 1 2 Raggett, Ned. "Gun Aramaic review". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  14. "United States of Islam - Muslimgauze | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  15. "Hamas Arc - Muslimgauze | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  16. Urselli-Schaerer, Marc. "Chain D.L.K. Interview". Chain D.L.K. (5). Archived from the original on 10 February 2016.
  17. 1 2 Ayers, Nigel (September 1990). "Network News interview". Network News. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009.
  18. Rena (Summer 1994). "Industrial Nation interview". Industrial Nation (print) (9). Archived from the original on 15 February 2008.
  19. Richard Gehr Village Voice (28 October 1994)
  20. Gehr, Richard (28 October 1994). "Beyond the Veil". Village Voice (print). Archived from the original on 27 February 2009.
  21. Archived 6 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  22. Richard Gehr, Village Voice (28 October 1994)
  23. Erik, Bennedorf; Picicci, Annibale (February 1997). "Artefakt interview". Artefakt. Berlin, Germany (2). Archived from the original on 25 February 2009.
  24. O'Rama, Link (7 March 1998). "Muslimgauze: Bryn Jones Interview". AmbiEntrance (20). Archived from the original on 31 August 2009.
  25. "Muslimgauze live dates". Arabbox. Retrieved 15 October 2017.[ permanent dead link ]
  26. "Bourbonese Qualk and Muslim Gauze". V2_Lab for the Unstable Media. Retrieved 15 October 2017.