ALBUM STAALPLAAT RELEASE: JULY, 1999 REVIEW: NOVEMBER 9, 1999
Through his whole musical carreer under the Muslimgauze moniker, British Bryn Jones displayed an almost fanatical fascination for the Arab world. He released a countless amount of albums, combining oriental rhythms and tunes with modern studio technology, before his tragic demise earlier this year. But despite the fast pace in which his albums were issued, there are still lots of completed material in the vaults waiting to be released.
One of these long since finished albums is "Azad", released in Staalplaat's Muslimlim series. "Azad" is mostly the ordinary array of pseudooriental music: intricate tablas rhythms and strange melodies stretched into repetitive soundscapes, echoing - at least in my ears - of both a mythological Far East and, somewhere in the distance, a damp Britain.
But the most fascinating moments appear when Jones creates some sort of sharp-edged drum'n'bass. Then there is often a raw tension between the clappering percussion and the minimalistic loops. "Camel Bag" is also an exhilarating piece, that buzzes with electricity in a way that many other songs could well do.
It may be that my ears are untrained, but Bryn Jones ideas don't always work all the way through. He often lets the songs go on for many more minutes than they should. Despite this he should have all credit for sticking to his visions with such persistance. I can't help but wonder, though: are there really people who listen to every Muslimgauze release?