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Gun Aramaic

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Album Review

"Saladin Mercy" begins Gun Aramaic on a familiar touch, perhaps almost too familiar; while a certain consistency to Muslimgauze's work is no surprise, Bryn Jones generally varies things from album to album just enough to create distinct, different listening experiences for each release. Still, "Saladin Mercy" feels like something which easily could have been on his previous Soleilmoon/Staalplaat release Maroon, with its blend of the drones from earlier pieces and the more recent tweaking and heavy variety in the rhythms throughout the song. The following track, the first "8 am, Tel Aviv, Islamic Jihad," sets things more to rights, with a combination of sharp pulses, echoing roars, and what sounds like a domestic squabble between a couple caught on tape — a characteristically strange combination which again works out quite nicely in the end. A little more than most Muslimgauze releases, Gun Aramaic is very environmental in terms of its composition; the reliance on conversational snippets throughout almost turns the album into a soundtrack for a non-existent film. As is often the case for Muslimgauze, the most fascinating elements of Gun Aramaic often are the simplest, such as the persistent, slow-rising beat in the first "Opiate and Mullah," or the shift from near silence to an elegant, slightly creepy keyboard arrangement about thirteen minutes into "Oil Prophets (pt. 1, 2, 3)." Gun wraps things up on a very moody note with the dark rumblings concluding "Oil Prophets (pt. 4, 5)" and the quite brief but deep, moody drones of the second "Opiate and Mullah," making for a slightly unexpected end to a fair album.


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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Gun Aramaic, Muslimgauze
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