Sunday, April 17, 2011

Muslimgauze - Hamas Arc (Staalplaat, 1993)

A crisp zill announces the arrival of an electronic force to be reckoned with. Muslimgauze, aka Bryn Jones was as subversive politically as he was musically. Each track on Hamas Arc lies in wait like a snake in the grass; A snake with the patience of a sloth, the resolution of a sniper and the delicacy of an aesthete.

Jones homes in on our meditative sensibilities with the combination of Islamic salat (prayers) and dogmatic manipulation through heavily phased ambient drones that clash with subtle yet aggressive middle eastern percussion tracks. This is a thematically violent and confusing militant music teeming with the discomfiture of the Palestinian / Israeli relationship that seems eternally doomed, a relationship that Jones felt was far too important not to "speak" about. His point (that the Israeli occupation of Gaza should cease immediately) was clear and simple and he was passionate about implying this as the theme to all of his music.

Jones had many stages to his 20 albums in 12 years: minimal and ambient dub techno, dry and gated instrumental hip hop style beats, abrasive, noisy and inaccessible tomes and this; a convincing and intelligent trance-inducing whirling dervish dance that saturates the senses. This is a vehicle that soothes and delicately massages your mind until you let go of any hesitation. I heard Mulimgauze at an early age, had no resistance and quickly bought what he was selling.

Jones is one of my favorite electronic musicians, second only to Coil. His catalog is vast and unfortunately, his contribution to the history of modern music is far too underground.

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