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Arabbox

Muslimgauze

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Album Review

Originally recorded live at the Manchester Turkish baths in July of 1993, only a few years before Bryn Jones' untimely death at the age of 38, he and his bandmates, Muslimgauze, recorded Arabbox: an unusual project even by Jones' standards. It was reissued in 2003 in a limited edition of 500, each copy packaged in a metal box handmade in India. A subsequent unlimited edition was released in conventional jewel-case packaging illustrated with photographs of urban Indian scenes, an unusual theme for Jones, whose primary musical and political inspiration have always been found in the Middle East. The music on this album will take no longstanding fan by surprise, though. Drones, beats, buzzes, chattering and singing, warbles and ululations, all string themselves out for extended periods without much variation or elaboration. This is not music for the impatient. It is for those who want to immerse themselves in a particular sort of mystical, faintly menacing, mood, and stay there for awhile. "Kurdish Red," with its cheesy synthetic drum-machine beats and soothing keyboard washes, sounds a bit like Bill Nelson's more ambient excursions; "Ganges Swimmer" offers almost twelve minutes of trance-inducing water sounds and buzzing drones; the unusually funky "Zenanna" is an artful combination of electronic percussion and ominous minor-chord keyboard sounds. This album probably won't convert any infidels, but fans of Jones' particular brand of aggro ambient electronica will enjoy it very much.

Biography

Born: 17 June 1961 in Manchester, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Bryn Jones was not a practicing Muslim and never went to the Middle East. His recordings as Muslimgauze, however, qualified him as one of the Western artists most explicitly slanted in his favor of the Palestinian liberation movement. Since the Manchester-native's works were instrumental, most of the political statement was inherent in the packaging: Witness titles such as Fatah Guerrilla, Return of Black September, Hebron Massacre, Vote Hezbollah, United States of Islam and The Rape of Palestine....
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Arabbox, Muslimgauze
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