> MUSLIMGAUZE Interview by Guillaume Sorge (1998)

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Tomorrow’s show (30/4) for NTS will be a pre-record, which was recorded and delivered early last week. In the process Paul introduced me the music of Muslimgauze, an incredibly prolific and potentially controversial artist who’s captured the rawness and electronic brutality that we often look for in head-turning music (at least in the early examples he played me). At the time of his death (aged 37) in 1999, Muslimgauze aka Bryn Jones was credited with a 96 release deep catalogue, a number that’s more than doubled since with post-humous output. Take that, hologram Tupac.

It’s difficult to talk about an artist with such a massive output, especially having only spent a week or so checking them out. Even Paul who’s got more than a handful of releases admits he’s only scratching the surface. It gets even more complicated when dealing with a western artist (born and lived in Manchester) who’s formed his music as a reaction to world politics. Specifically “every piece of music Muslimgauze releases is motivated by a political fact, mostly Palestinian, also Iran and Afghanistan are of great interest” – otherwise known as an area we really don’t want to get in to. But the bottom line is that while anyone can record an album a week, it’s near impossible to record an album a week and keep the ideas inventive and interesting, which, from my short exposure to Muslimgauze, is something that Bryn was managing to do.The short interview below was done by Guillaume Sorge on behalf of Trax 40,000September 1998.

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Could you tell us about your first musical emotions?

The first music would have been English pop music, followed by German bands of the 70’s and traditional Indian music. My approach to music stems from Punk; the attitude, approach and a belief that “do what you feel”.

What was your first contact with Electronic music?

Electronic, it was German bands of the 70’s, searching and finding old vinyl LPs from this time, lots of bands, trying different things.

How did you get involved with this musical style?

I bought a synth, experimented with it, out of this I turned into a drummer!!

Could you describe us shortly your main influences?

Main influences are political. The human rights of Palestinians, an end to the vile regime of Israel. Anybody reading this who has any thoughts of support for Israel, should through embarrassment donate all their money to help Palestinians through aid. Muslimgauze music has a political fact at it’s heart. I have far too many ideas for my own good, but I believe in what I do. If you don’t like Muslimgauze, I don’t care.

Do you think that technology changed the way people are producing music now?

Technology seems to have brought together more crap with idealess people. The idea of sitting in front of a computer to inflict further crap music on poor record shops, it shouldn’t happen.

Do you use samplers? if yes, in which frame of mind?

No I do not, never touched a computer. I use old analogue equipment, which I abuse and force to do what I want. I hope Muslimgauze sound unique and the CDs are worthwhile.

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Do you think that technology can be a relevant medium for artistic expression?

The important thing is ideas, not technology. Which ever artistic expression is used, you need the original idea.

Could you tell us more about your production process?

I translate an idea from my mind, through my hands I create this idea using old analogue equipment and percussion from various countries. Over this I place things from cassettes, which could be voices/instruments. Some tracks are left unfinished, some un-mixed, some re-mixed. It depends on the track.

Do you think that Electronic music is creating new sound structures?

No, everything has been done before. Just try and put a different slant on things.

What makes a good record?

Something is different to everybody, a million people don’t buy Muslimgauze releases, a lot of people don’t like Muslimgauze, so what’s good?

What are for you the quality of a good DJ / producer?

To have an ear for sound, hands to shape this into a final thing.

Do you believe in a global Electronic culture?

Things seem to be global through the Internet. A different culture has affected me, so culture is global now and in the past through pictures and sound.

Do you believe in the social implication of the so-called techno culture?

I’m not too sure as to what techno culture is. The social implication of drugs is evidently around. If some drugs are legal, the case for an open house is strong.

How do you see your music in 10 years? Generally, how do you see the future of this music?

I cannot see that far ahead, but I hope that over that time Muslimgauze will have released good quality CDs/vinyl/whatever system comes up next.

Could you give us your 5 all time classic records?

No, I have no time to play other peoples music, I have no interest in other peoples output. My time is total Muslimgauze, new tracks, new CDs, old tracks, it’s endless.

After his unexpected passing in 1999 Bryn’s family, friends and former labels continue to release music they come across. Staalplaat label boss and friend of Bryn’s Gert-Jaan has been among those who’ve been through the vast unreleased catalogue he left behind. Evidently each release that came out pre-1999 (despite already coming so frequently) may have been filtered down from around 20 other possibilities, the man worked hard to get his music right before unleashing it. His mother and nephew are still releasing music as they come across fully formed pieces, some untitled and other with their intended politicised track titles. Most of these albums are being put out in limited runs, overseen by his nephew Gareth Jones, and are being done in unique and mostly beautiful packaging. Evidently there are plans to continue releasing the music until all Muslimgauze music is available to the public.

It’s about quality not quantity though, and Muslimgauze had both. Due to the volume of releases it’s hard to categorise and discuss one individual sound of the artist, only that his middle-eastern influences were always present. From crunchy raw drum ‘n’ bass created from hand drums to 50 second beatless arrangements he covered a lot of ground, and it’s worth checking out.

Strangely Bryn never had any desire to visit the Middle East, or even a deep understanding of the Islam, certainly never having converted to the religion. Despite the offer for fully paid trips, he expressed a desire to avoid visiting any occupied land.

He’s an interesting figure in music. for further reading there’s a host of interviews and articles collected over here: http://www.muslimgauze.org/articlesIndex.html

Source: http://www.awkwardmovements.com/2012/04/muslimgauze.html

MUSLIMGAUZE – State of Palestine

MUSLIMGAUZE – Sadhu

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