Muslimgauze / Hussein Mahmood Jeeb Tehar Gass / 1999

Hussein Mahmood Jeeb Tehar Gass is the 1999 album by Muslimgauze; a music project by the British experimental-electronic artist, Bryn Jones. A musician who has released dozens of albums and EPs that focus on the artists’ interest in the Middle East and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in particular. Jones first began releasing music in 1982 but did not begin using the Muslimgauze moniker until the late 80sThe name meant to bring the issue of Western Imperialism to the forefront of thepublic’s attention and create a greater understanding of the Wests’ complicity in the use of terror and mass incarceration against the Palestinian people. 

One of the many unique characteristics of the Muslimgauze catolog has always been the fundamental resistance to any affiliation with the larger music industry. Even when his records began selling in larger amounts, Jones stayed clear of the majors labels and their money. Preferring to work with smaller, independent labels that gave him the flexibility he desired for his music. That small-label affiliation even had Jones releasing material on (nearly) every independent label that approached him. A business decision that cause a great deal of frustration for Jones when some labels took advantage and issued unauthorized tracks. Or producer’s editing and/or remixing his music without permission and, very often, the label never paying royalties for the music they use. Let’s just say that, Jones had very strong beliefs. And he was willing to stand by those beliefs even when his music and livelihood were put at risk .

Byrn Jones stated early in his career that he had little or no time to think about or listen to other people’s music and often refused to mention any outside musical influences. Nevertheless, we can clearly hear the sounds and influences wrapped into the unique Muslimgauze sound. In a 1992 interview with Impulse Magazine, Jones’ finally revealed some of the music he found most inspiring; traditional Middle Eastern music, as well as bands Faust, Can, Wire and Throbbing Gristle. That’s a damn fine list of music/bands that gives us some insight into the textures and colors Jones’ wanted to incorporated into his music. Still the Muslimgauze catolog is difficult to define; nearly every record blends together the obvious influence of early techno & ambient with the wholly unique experiments of Jones. Weaving together a tapestry of analog live music with the digital sounds of a modern bedroom studio. Jones creates sharply textured but old-school music that really has little in common with the sounds of the club or dance floor. Muslimgauze is a experimental, hypnotic and earthy electronica that samples and layers muted beats and found sounds into an intentionally obscure mix. There’s almost nothing else like it. As if Jones was insisting that his listeners pay close attention to the detail as the music flows through your head. The real impact of the music only emerging when time and consideration are invested

Jones first became politically aware after learning about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The injustice of the conflict triggered Jones to learn more about the deeper origins of the conflict. Eventually leading him to the conclusion that the Palestinian struggle should be the focal-point of his music/work. Jones further concluding that it is actually the presence of U.S. and British imperialism that is at the center of the conflicts throughout the region. In a 1994 interview Jones stated; “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”.

In 1999, Byrn Jones died in Manchester, England of a rare fungal infection in his bloodstream. However, the legacy and importance of his unique vision and music has continued to grow through an vast underground of musicians and listeners that understood the rare gifts Jones presented to the world.

They call it, “Glitch” / Jan Jelinek / Loop-finding-jazz-records / 2001

They call it, “Glitch”.

Luna Records was the record store straight out of my vinyl dreams(cape); the shop seemed to be born out of an espisode of Sprockets. Undeniably hip, aesthetically German and, well, pretensious as fuck. What can I say, I loved it.The bins filled with the most esoteric selection of avant-garde music in the Detroit area. An open minded music lover could spend endless hours investigating the inventory (And I did). Better still was the amazing music the shop owner would strategicly play over the in-store sound system. Standing always with dark sunglasses on, the well-dressed man at the counter rarely spoke and never said more then a word or two about the music playing. When asked directly about the amazing crackling noises coming from the speakers, he simple said, “They call it, Glitch“. Glitch?

There had never been a sound like it. Seemingly random samples of textured noise that still manage to sound organized and composed. At the time, I wasn’t sure if this “Glitch” was actual music. But it didn’t matter because I was hooked. For better or worse, Glitch was a sound that couldn’t be ignored and required a deeper study. Reluctantly, the shop owner pointed me toward a few key albums that proved extremely helpful; Oval’s Systemisch, Autechre’s Tri Pepetae and Jan Jetinek’s Loop-finding-jazz-records. I was grateful. And the shop owner was unimpressed. Perfect.

A word (or two) about that interesting album title. Firstly, loop-finding-jazz-records has absolutely nothing to do with the sound of 50’s Jazz Music or any kind of jazz. Not a single (blue)note of Bop to be found.Although it’s worth mentioning that each compositions was built on the sound of deconstructed samples of jazz records from Jelinek’s own collection. Secondly, Loop does have everything to do with the philosophy of Jazz music. That is, a fundimental willingness to experiment with sound and structure. Building a foundation on the theory of improvisational jazz and free jazz, Jelinek uses those ideals to created a wall of sparkling, randomized sound. And the result is nothing short of an intellictualized beauty. Or a sound that is appealing to both the heart and the head. An odd statement for electronic music? Maybe. But the music found on loop is never cold or robotic. An important point to understand if we are to appreciate this unique approach to music. The opening track, Moire'(piano organ) immediately presents us with those ideals. Moire‘ creating an warm, organitic sound full of liquid color and texture that seems at times so near as to be touched. A remarkable accompaniment for music produced on a Ensoniq ASR-10 music sampler and nothing more.

Jelinek simply reject’s the idea that his music is from another world or another time. Or developed for a detached and dystopian soundtrack to a corportized future, a la Blade Runner. Refusing the popular stereotype that glitch is a novelity science fiction sound for Star Wars fans. The emotional impact of Loop is earthly and human. And it never falls into that trap of cool detachment. Jan Jelinek’s loop-finding-jazz-records is minimal and experiemntal muisc with an easily accessible sound palette. Rich with the details of human emotions and creative birth. It’s also a brillant introduction to the development of a unique sound and an important subgenre of electronic music.