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CD Feature/ Suns of Arqa: "Remixes Muslimgauze"

img  Tobias
Let’s just for a second forget that Bryn Jones, the man behind Muslimgauze, died of a sudden and extremely rare fungus infection in early 1999. Judging, then, from the current output of releases credited or connected to him as well as from general media attention, would you ever consider it a possibility that he’s left this world forever?

Quite on the contrary, his music seems to have attained a higher degree of influence and overall presence than ever before, with archival material still surfacing regularly and remix projects being launched on a monthly basis. Following the “Bass Communion vs. Muslimgauze” project from a little while ago, this is already the second major contribution to this legacy and yet another sign of proof that Jones may still not have hit his peak yet.

The difference between the two, of course, lies in the fact that this musical meeting actually took place during his lifetime. Instigated by Satoshi Morita, owner of the Japanese Gift label, who virtually forced this collaboration upon Jones and Michael Wadada of Suns of Arqa, the album presents a brimful prism of 21 tracks, realised during a three-year long exchange of ideas by mail. Morita loved the individual oeuvres of his prodigees, but his vision was more than a mere crossover between the psychedelic world music sensibility of Wadada and Muslimgauze’s propulsive hybrid between Dub, experimental collage techniques and Oriental scales. Rather, he could hear a sound in his head that was both massive and floating, monolithic and free, minutely minimal and finely forged.

When Jones passed away, the results lingered in some basement for almost a decade, but their reemergence proves that Morita was completely right in his estimation of this encounter’s potential. Still today, these tracks come across as deliriously intense and mindbogglingly hypnotic, a sort of amphibic accumulation of sound, groove and texture.

As the title suggests, some of the tunes may actually be new versions of original Muslimgauze or Sun of Arqa material (which, in itself, was already mostly culled from ingeniously reworked samples) rather than full-fledged co-operations. If this be so, then Wadada’s and Jones’ technique simply consisted in destilling their friends’ strongest moments, polishing them with a bloody cloth and then repeating them with minor textural variations until they burnt new pathways into the listener’s cerebral mindscape. The stop- and go-motion of many of these works, as well as several obvious cuts and edits even sound as though singular loops had been pressed to Vinyl and then performed as instant DJ-compositions.

Seldomly has an album managed to capture the essence of its protagonists so vividly and undividedly as on this occasion. Both styles are fused into a both aggressive and relaxed hybrid, capable of charging from a hissing box of rattlesnakes to the carefree echoes of a Jamaican beach party. Admittedly, this is summer music, but rather the soundtrack to a picnic in the Sahara than to a BBQ in your backyard.

Of course, we all know that Bryn Jones died of a fungal infection early in 1999. But if you close your eyes, put on your headphones and enter the disc of this album into your CD player, listening and loosing yourself in the heat of “Muslimgauze Re-mixes Suns of Arqa”, you could easily imagine him alive and well, still working like a madman and churning out tracks in a trance in his Manchester appartment.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Authorised Muslimgauze Homepage
Homepage: Suns of Arqa
Homepage: Soleilmoon Records

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